Best classical repertoire for busking?

September 23, 2016 at 01:49 PM · I know that busking is unreliable at best, and even less profitable for classical musicians, but I'm wondering: what have you found to be the best repertoire for classical busking? What do people seem to prefer? Pretty but simple pieces in major keys? Concerti? Bach? Flashy show pieces? What resonates best with the majority of people?

Replies (7)

September 23, 2016 at 02:15 PM · Something where hearing you for 30 seconds brightens their day enough for them to throw you some money.

The answer depends on where you're busking.

September 23, 2016 at 02:24 PM · Popular tunes they may have heard in movies, or flashy but short pieces seem to work well in a busking situation. Pick those pieces that an average person can identify or enjoy, say within five seconds from the moment they hear. Also you don't need go all classical. Enjoy!

September 23, 2016 at 03:31 PM · Check out this guy's website:

He busked in San Fransisco by himself and with a group, and talks about what was/wasn't successful. He mentions it in there but I think the Bach E major partita, at least the Preludio and the Gavotte, is a good classical piece that will still get people's attention.

By the way, can anyone here who busks a lot speak to how much rep you should have? Is cycling 30 minutes enough or should you have some more than that? And do you bring a stand and music or do you play by memory? I'd imagine memory would seem more casual/impressive to people walking by and that might be better, but it's also nice to not have to worry about remembering what happens next.

September 23, 2016 at 05:40 PM · I heard one busker say that 'Meditation from Thais' was a nice little earner. Remember, you may have heard it hundreds of times but many people out there have never heard it at all...ever !

Most violinists busking in my part of the world use a music stand even if they refer to it only now and again.

September 23, 2016 at 09:32 PM · Monti's Czardas.

You and I know that it's not actually very difficult. The audience do not. And it's easy to play with flair :D

September 23, 2016 at 11:49 PM · Romanian Dances, perhaps - I heard a busker doing the 1st.

With a backing tape, Satie Gymnopédie 1 has been satisfactorily busked on the recorder.

September 24, 2016 at 12:08 AM · I reckon a busking repertoire should have a variety of styles, throw in some of your celtic tunes and you should go down a treat......

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