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Brahms: Intermezzo Op. 117 no. 1 - Easy Arrangement

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Johannes Brahms: Intermezzo in E-flat major, Op. 117 no. 1

PDF Sheet music, piano solo
Simple Solutions arrangement by Henrik Kilhamn

Approximate Grade: 5-
Scale 1 - 8: Beginner - Advanced

Key: Easy key D major + Original key E-flat major included

Brahms put two lines on the front page of this Intermezzo, which clearly inspired it:

“Balow, my babe, lie still and sleep!
It grieves me sore to see you weep”

The music feels a lot like a lullaby with a slow and steady melodic line. We leave a thicker chord texture in the original to be able to just play it straightforward here instead. The first and returning section would have worked in the original key of E flat major without problems, but the mysterious, darker middle section that flips to minor reads much more easily in D minor (one flat) instead of E flat minor (six flats!). Here the accompanying broken chords in LH are collapsed into very manageable units that still preserve the appropriate ambience.

This arrangement is included in Simple Solutions VOLUME 3 - Nights & Dreams (Intermediate ~ Grade 5)

Also, check out:
Simple Solutions VOLUME 1 (Elementary ~ Grade 3)
Simple Solutions VOLUME 2 (Intermediate ~ Grade 5)


This is for everyone who loves the great piano repertoire but haven’t (yet) developed the skill required to master it. After all, the big composers wrote music for professional musicians, and it takes many years of studies to achieve a level sufficient to play their pieces as written. However, the musical material can be separated into melody, harmony, rhythms, and textures, and in some cases simplified while preserving the core ideas. This is what I have done in these arrangements of some of the most beloved piano melodies by the great composers. In this easier setting, you will instead have enough time on your hands (literally!) to bring the music to life and care about those aspects that often otherwise come second: phrasing, articulation, dynamics, and balance. This will help you develop your over-all musicality, which will be of great value in all other pieces as well.

I believe you have the right to enjoy playing this great music with your own hands, even when the original writing is beyond your present level or would require too much time and effort. In the end, if you feel ready for a challenge and want to go forward with proper piano studies that requires years of practice—the originals are always there. In the meantime, these arrangements will bring you close to the same enjoyment, because all musical ideas are carefully conserved.

They are just a little bit easier.

The arrangement comes in two versions: both transposed to an easier key signature as well as kept in the original key.

The "Easy key" transposed version is recommended for the most comfortable Simple Solutions experience. It's much easier to read notes without many sharps or flats, which frees up a lot of attention for all other musical aspects solely at a cost if you have perfect pitch. The version in original key serves the purpose of constituting a proper stepping stone if you wish to continue with the full original later on, whithout having to unlearn all harmony because it was in the wrong key.

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3 pages
Easy + Original (2 versions)

Brahms: Intermezzo Op. 117 no. 1 - Easy Arrangement

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