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9 More Cello Songs That Make You Sound Awesome

Cello practice is hard work. There’s great reward in mastering a new technique or putting in the sweat and tears to learn a complicated piece. At other times, what a performer really needs is the positive reinforcement of whipping out a crowd-pleaser at a moment’s notice. 

We’ve put together lists of popular cello songs before. Here's another list of classical and favorite tunes everyone loves, along with their sheet music, that will impress any audience. 

Great arrangements for beginner cellists 

Deep River is an American folk song by an unknown composer. The piece is a Spiritual, an American music genre from the African-American community, with its origins in slavery. Deep River and other songs based on it have been performed by commercial artists since the early 20th century. Actor and singer Paul Robeson recorded one of its most iconic renditions.

Listening to his deep baritone, you can hear why this song works so beautifully on the cello. This arrangement can be printed out for free. 

Fur Elise by Beethoven is one of the classical works that has crossed over into popular consciousness. Even if people can't name the work, they recognize it. Recognition always boosts crowd response. This is a simplified arrangement intended for beginners. Not absolute beginners, but those with some experience. This sheet music can be printed for free from 8notes.com. The website also has functionality that allows you to add a piano accompaniment as you play. You can control the piano tempo so you can keep up as you learn the piece. 

The 8notes website has an easy to navigate list of beginner cellist sheet music for some of the world’s most popular works. You can find everything from the Irish ballad Danny Boy to Schubert’s The Unfinished Symphony.  

Great arrangements for intermediate cellists 

Viva La Vida by Coldplay. This song is a pop-rock hybrid from a famous band, but the sheet music is actually a cello duet. You can pair-up with a friend to create a great performance, or you can focus on making something special about performing one part as a solo. The full price of the sheet music is $3.99, but the Virtual Sheet Music site offers steep discounts if you become a member. An annual membership to the site costs $37.75. In this case, a membership would reduce the price of this sheet music to $1.49. Depending on how much sheet music you want to buy, a membership may make sense for you.  

House of the Rising Sun is a folk ballad from a musical heritage that dates back to the 18th century England. The musical style continued to develop in the United States in the English and Scottish immigrant communities. That explains how this folk ballad tells a story taking place in New Orleans. The song achieved global popularity in the 1960s by English R&B band The Animals. 

This sheet music is free. You have to print each page separately, but it’s only three pages. 

Theme from Cello Concerto No. 1 by Haydn. This simplified arrangement for intermediate cellists is a smooth entry point to the popular works by the “Father of the Symphony” and String Quartet. This piece has a slower tempo, which can give you the confidence to perform a classical work in public and then move on to more complicated arrangements and faster tempos. This sheet music is free.   

Harry Potter is a short cello solo, under a minute and a half, from the world of Harry Potter music.  While short, it will surely please fellow Harry Potter fans. It has a mix of tempos, which can be a great exercise. You can download this sheet music for free. Musescore also has a recording you can play to hear how this arrangement should sound. If you're into technology, take the site up on its offer to beta-test their sheet music mobile app. 

The Last of the Mohicans Main Theme, by Trevor Jones won't win points for easy recognition. This intense, haunting, up-tempo arrangement by cellist Tina Guo will definitely impress. It has all the emotion, and pathos audiences expect from a movie theme. The sheet music for Guo's arrangement is $4.99. 

Claire de Lune by Debussy is a well-known work audience’s love to hear. Its andante tempo keeps things lively without demanding blood from your fingertips before you can play it in public (or at least at the family reunion).  This sheet music costs $5.25 and includes the cello solo and piano accompaniment. 

Believer by Imagine Dragons, has been used in more sports highlight videos than anyone can count. It’s lyrical yet forceful at the same time, letting you show off both bowing and slapping techniques. This arrangement for a solo cellist is by Stefano Cabrera, and the sheet music costs $4.99. Once you can rock this solo arrangement, you might want to bring in some of your string family friends to rock it out as a chamber ensemble (with maybe a percussionist or two).

Staying motivated and having fun

Don’t let the dog days of scales, practice, and theory classes get you down. Mix things up by learning some pieces that will help you grow while giving you some fast, positive reinforcement. Taking on these kinds of songs will remind you what you love about playing the cello.

Classroom resources for teachers