This page gives some simple examples of piano textures to accompany violin, flute or oboe, mostly from the Classical and Romantic period. As with string quartets, simple often works best.
Example 1: from Mozart Violin Sonata, K 379, first movement
This extract simply has a bass note in left hand with an arpeggiating pattern in the right hand.
Example 2: from Mozart Violin Sonata, KV28, first movement
In this extract the bass note is repeated in quavers in the left hand, while the right hand plays in thirds with the violin melody.
Example 3: from Mozart Violin Sonata, K547, first movement
In this extract, there is an Alberti bass in left hand. As in Example 2, the right hand begins in thirds with the melody, but then develops some more independent countermelodies before returning to sixths with the melody at the end.
Example 4: from Schubert Sonatina in D for Violin and Piano
This extract has rocking quavers in the right hand, providing the harmonic support and then imitation between the violin and the piano left hand.
Example 5: from Schubert Sonatina in D for Violin and Piano
Just simple chords, but learn from the spacing and also the rhythmic character of the way they are set out.
Example 6: from Mozart Violin Sonata, KV304, first movement
In this extract the piano part is constructed by starting on two notes of the chord a third or a sixth apart and then moving by step in parallel to another two notes of the chord.
Example 7: from Dvorak Sonatina for violin and piano
Light, staccato quavers in the right hand provide harmonic and rhythmic continuity with a simple bass line (in this case mostly just the tonic note!) underneath.
Example 8: from Dvorak Sonatina for violin and piano
A mixture of chords and arpeggiations bring support and a bit of variety to this melody.
Example 9: from Harty, Chansonette from Three Miniatures for Oboe and Piano
This extract, as with all the remaining examples are all for oboe or flute and piano and are taken from more recent composers who have used mostly traditional tonal harmony. This type of simple one-chord-per-bar pattern is a bit more distinctive than a straight arpeggio. The oboe cuts easily through the piano so a bit of overlap between it and the piano is fine.
Example 10: from Faure Fantasie for Flute
This very light texture complements the piano flute melody very effectively.
Some good example of early(ish) twentieth century piano writing
- Debussy, Preludes: Book_1 (Lots of effective textures – this is where the Voiles example is taken from) [Youtube]
- Grieg, Lyric_Pieces Op. 12 (these are a bit earlier from the end of the C19 but some really characteristic and relatively straightforward textures) [Youtube]
- Bartok, Bagatelles Op 6 (relatively simple and spiky textures) [Youtube]
- Bartok, Op. 14_Suite (a bit more sophisticated) [Youtube]
- Ravel, Le tombeau de couperin (some really attractive and relatively simple textures) [Youtube]
- Ravel, Maurice-Gaspard_de_la_nuit (imaginative with some simpler and some very complex) [Youtube]
- Ravel, Miroirs (some much more complex and virtuosic examples of Ravel’s piano writing)[Youtube]