Melencholic pieces

March 25, 2013 at 01:20 PM · I was wondering if anyone knows pieces that are very melancholy... The piece is not sad, like the Ciaconne, but it gives a subtle feeling of depression or "down"ness. An excellent example for a melancholic piece would be the Graceful Ghost Rag by Bolcom. Thanks!

Replies (20)

March 26, 2013 at 02:16 AM · The best one I can think of is Glazunov Meditation

Sheet music at IMSLP:,_Op.32_(Glazunov,_Aleksandr)

Some other ideas might be Philip Glass Violin Concerto, No. 1, Second movement, and a transcription of Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor (, though those might be more sad than melancholy.

March 26, 2013 at 04:26 AM · Give the Lekeu violin sonata a shot

It doesn't help that the guy died at 24, the day after his birthday, after eating tainted sorbet.

The Prokofiev sonata in D too

I think a lot of Faure and Poulenc fits that description

March 26, 2013 at 01:45 PM · There are a few pieces I wrote this year that fit your description. They are short, relatively simple melanchonic violin pieces. Some are solo some are accompanied. The sheet music is free at

Click on "Sheet Music" and press the play button next to each piece. Click the title to download the free sheet music. The melanchonic pieces are Melodic Tide, Viorations 36V w/ Expanded Ending, Viorations 25V, Viorations 30V. Violady was written for viola but can be transcribed to violin by playing the intervals starting on G open string as the lowest note.

March 27, 2013 at 03:43 PM · Melancholy, or expressive with some sadness and reprieves :) Kol Nidre. Elgar Chansons. Vivaldi a minor 2nd movement.

March 28, 2013 at 08:27 PM · yes all these selections are so great! i particularly love the lekeu sonata, thanks much!

June 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM · Dowland's Melancholy Galliard. I arranged it for solo viola and the URL is in another discussion. It is easier as a duet involving at least one viola (or, perhaps, cello).

June 20, 2013 at 01:34 AM · Grieg's "Solveig's song" from "Peer Gynt"

Yes Fauré, eg "Après un rêve":

June 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM · I think this came up in the past - but a long time ago. So...

Just keeping to violin repertoire, off-hand, in no particular order:

1. Bach sonata #5 with keyboard in F minor - especially the 3rd mvt.

1a. I think the Bach Chaconne was mentioned. But from the same d minor partita, the Sarabande

2 Locatelli/Ysaye sonata also in f minor

3. Chausson "Poeme"

4. Franck Sonata - 3rd mvt.

5. Most of the Elgar concerto - the 1st 7-8 notes of the violin's opening statement pretty much encapsulate it all.

6. The Barber concerto - 1st and especially 2nd mvts.

Thanks for posing this and reminding me. Now if you'll all excuse me, with all that music ringing in my mind's ear, I think I'll go jump off a bridge!

June 20, 2013 at 01:20 PM · Joseph: Ravel wrote a piece called Kaddish (the Kaddish is the Jewish prayer for the dead). There is an arrangement of it for violin and piano (I believe that there is an old Francescatti performance of it). It is about as sad a piece that anyone has ever written; very moving.

And Raphael, be sure to take your meds.

Cheers (or rather, with profound melancholy),


PS. This reminds me of the old Henny Youngman joke. A guy is very depressed and goes to a psychiatrist.

Patient: "I'm really unhappy. Nobody pays any attention to me."

Psychiatrist: "Next."

June 20, 2013 at 02:07 PM · achron hebrew melody :)

June 20, 2013 at 02:41 PM · "La melancholie" Pastorale Op. 1 by Francoise Hubert Prume?

June 20, 2013 at 04:21 PM · Lotus Land by Cyril Scott - Kreisler transcribed it. I love it!

June 20, 2013 at 04:36 PM · Took some chocolate, and practiced some scales - seemed to do the trick. Thanks!

OK, seriously, sometimes it's a little hard to choose for a category like this. For example, I love the Lotus Land, too, especially as played by Kreisler, but I would consider that more evocative and exotic than melancholy. There are some pieces whose poignance could move me to tears and beyond, but again, I wouldn't consider them melancholy. For example, the end of Copland's "Appalachian Spring". But it's in the ear of the beholder.

June 20, 2013 at 05:53 PM · How about Sérénade mélancolique, Op.26 (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr),_Op.26_%28Tchaikovsky,_Pyotr%29

June 20, 2013 at 11:34 PM · Beethoven Op 12 No 2, slow movement (almost as good as Piano Sonata Op 10 No 3 slow movement)? You need to tear the heart out of your audience with that top C (Fast bow, etc.)!

Purcell G minor Sonata 3rd movement - The fast last movement is nowhere near cheerful enough to disperse the melancholy of the 3rd.

(Actually the champion is the slow movement of the Schumann piano quintet, but it's not a solo piece. Neither is the slow movement of Mozart's Symphonia Concertante for violin and viola)

June 21, 2013 at 02:08 AM · "How about Sérénade mélancolique, Op.26 (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr)....."

Yes. Did Tchaikovsky ever write a piece that didn't have some major melancholic parts ?

June 23, 2013 at 03:48 AM · How about the Grave from the Benda concerto.

July 2, 2013 at 11:34 PM · sorry ive been away for a while!

yes iv heard of kaddish and immediately fell in love..i love how ravel experimented with alot of different cultural influences in his writings..and i think chausson poeme is probably my most favorite piece of all; pure genius.

the hebrew melody was also a nice one not sure why, but the brahms concerto seemed to give me this melancholic mood, even the 3rd mvt.

thanks for all of your suggestions!

July 3, 2013 at 05:56 AM · My 11 year old daughter finds Schubert's "Ave Maria"

melancholic. I explained to her that it's devotional music. Jews aren't the only ones with melancholic devotional music.

July 3, 2013 at 12:09 PM · Who said otherwise? Look at most of the suggestions in almost all of the posts above.

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