Once Upon A December Piano Sheet Music

Welcome to the enchanting world of “Once Upon a December” piano sheet music! This beloved melody from the animated film “Anastasia” has captured the hearts of countless music enthusiasts with its haunting beauty and poignant lyrics. Whether you’re a seasoned pianist or a budding beginner, this comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know about this enchanting piece.

In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the sheet music, exploring its key signature, time signature, and technical aspects. We will analyze the left-hand and right-hand parts separately, examining the bass line, chord progressions, melody, and embellishments.

We will also discuss the rhythmic patterns, dynamic markings, and pedaling suggestions to help you bring this piece to life with authenticity and artistry.

Sheet Music Overview

The piano arrangement of “Once Upon a December” is a hauntingly beautiful piece that captures the magic and wonder of the original song from the animated film “Anastasia.”

The sheet music is written in the key of D minor, with a time signature of 3/4. The tempo is moderate, with a suggested speed of 60 beats per minute. The arrangement is relatively easy to play, making it accessible to pianists of all levels.

Technical Aspects

The sheet music features a number of technical aspects that add to its beauty and complexity.

  • Arpeggios: The arrangement makes extensive use of arpeggios, which are broken chords that are played one note at a time. These arpeggios create a shimmering, ethereal effect that is reminiscent of falling snow.
  • Trills: Trills are another common technique used in the arrangement. Trills are rapid alternations between two adjacent notes. They add a sense of movement and excitement to the music.
  • Pedaling: The use of the sustain pedal is essential to creating the lush, resonant sound of the arrangement. The pedal should be used sparingly, however, as too much pedaling can muddy the sound.

Difficulty Level Assessment

The Once Upon a December piano sheet music falls within an intermediate difficulty level. While it presents some technical challenges, it is generally accessible to players with a moderate level of skill and practice.

Factors contributing to its intermediate difficulty include:

Note Range

  • The piece spans a wide range of notes, from the low G below middle C to the high C two octaves above.
  • This range requires players to have good hand span and finger dexterity.

Rhythm Complexity

  • The piece features syncopated rhythms and shifting time signatures, which can be challenging to maintain accurately.
  • Players must pay close attention to the beat and subdivisions to avoid rhythmic inconsistencies.

Overall Technical Demands

  • The piece incorporates various technical elements, such as trills, arpeggios, and rapid finger passages.
  • These elements require precise finger coordination and control, making them suitable for players with some experience and technical proficiency.

Left-Hand Analysis

The left-hand part of “Once Upon a December” is essential in providing a solid harmonic foundation for the piece. Let’s delve into the intricacies of the bass line, chord progressions, and any unique techniques employed.

Bass Line

The bass line primarily Artikels the root notes of the chords used throughout the piece. It provides a steady and consistent foundation, establishing the harmonic framework. The bass notes often move in stepwise motion, creating a sense of melodic continuity.

Chord Progressions

The left-hand chords are primarily composed of triads, with occasional seventh chords adding harmonic depth. The chord progressions are relatively simple, but they effectively support the melody and create a sense of harmonic movement. The most common chord progressions include I-V-vi-IV and I-IV-V-I.

Unique Patterns and Techniques

One unique aspect of the left-hand part is the use of broken chords. Instead of playing the chords in their entirety, the left hand often plays the notes of the chords in an arpeggiated manner. This creates a more fluid and delicate sound, adding a touch of elegance to the piece.

Right-Hand Analysis

The right-hand part of “Once Upon a December” piano sheet music plays a crucial role in carrying the melody and adding embellishments to the piece. Let’s delve into the intricate details of the right-hand part.


The melody of “Once Upon a December” is primarily carried by the right hand. It unfolds gradually, starting with a gentle ascending motion in the first measure. The melody progresses through a series of stepwise movements, interspersed with occasional leaps, creating a sense of longing and introspection.


Arpeggios, or broken chords, are a prominent feature in the right-hand part of “Once Upon a December.” These arpeggios add a sense of movement and fluidity to the melody. They are often used to create a shimmering or cascading effect, enhancing the dreamy and ethereal atmosphere of the piece.


The right-hand part also incorporates various embellishments, such as trills, turns, and mordents. These embellishments add ornamentation and expressiveness to the melody. Trills, involving the rapid alternation of two adjacent notes, create a sense of excitement and energy. Turns, involving the quick execution of three notes, add a graceful and elegant touch to the melody.

Mordents, involving the rapid alternation of a main note with its lower or upper neighbor, provide a subtle yet effective embellishment.

Rhythmic Patterns

The rhythmic patterns in “Once Upon a December” are generally straightforward and consistent throughout the piece. The main melody is characterized by a steady, flowing rhythm with a combination of quarter notes and eighth notes.

There are a few notable rhythmic devices used in the sheet music:


Syncopations occur when the accent falls on an unexpected beat, creating a sense of rhythmic tension and release. In “Once Upon a December,” syncopations are primarily used in the accompaniment, particularly in the left-hand chords.

Dotted Rhythms

Dotted rhythms involve a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note. This pattern creates a subtle but noticeable rhythmic variation and adds a sense of elegance to the melody.

Dynamic Markings

The sheet music for “Once Upon a December” features various dynamic markings that provide instructions on the volume and intensity of the performance.

These markings significantly impact the overall mood and atmosphere of the piece, guiding the pianist to convey the emotional depth and nuances of the music.

Crescendo and Decrescendo

  • Crescendo (indicated by “cresc.”) instructs the pianist to gradually increase the volume, building tension and intensity.
  • Decrescendo (indicated by “decresc.”) instructs the pianist to gradually decrease the volume, creating a sense of release and relaxation.

Forte and Piano

  • Forte (indicated by “f”) indicates a loud and forceful dynamic, often used to emphasize important passages or convey a sense of urgency.
  • Piano (indicated by “p”) indicates a soft and gentle dynamic, often used to create a more intimate and reflective atmosphere.

Pedaling Suggestions

Pedaling can greatly enhance the sound and phrasing of “Once Upon a December.” By sustaining certain notes and creating a legato effect, pedaling can help to create a more flowing and expressive performance.

Here are a few suggestions for pedaling the sheet music:

Sustaining Bass Notes

Pedaling can be used to sustain the bass notes in the left hand, creating a fuller and more resonant sound. This can be particularly effective in the opening measures of the piece, where the bass notes provide the harmonic foundation.

Creating Legato Lines

Pedaling can also be used to create legato lines in the right hand. By holding down the pedal while playing successive notes, you can create a smooth and connected sound. This can be particularly effective in the melody line, where you want to avoid any breaks in the phrasing.

Adding Color and Texture

Pedaling can also be used to add color and texture to the piece. By using the pedal judiciously, you can create a variety of effects, such as shimmering arpeggios or ethereal washes of sound.

Performance Considerations

To effectively perform Once Upon a December, consider the following tips:

Pay attention to the phrasing and dynamics to capture the emotional depth of the piece.


  • Use comfortable fingerings that allow for smooth transitions and accurate execution.
  • Consider the hand position and finger placement to minimize tension and promote fluidity.


  • Understand the musical structure and divide the piece into logical phrases.
  • Shape each phrase with appropriate dynamics and articulation to convey the intended expression.

Overall Interpretation

  • Immerse yourself in the emotional context of the piece to find a personal interpretation.
  • Experiment with different tempos and dynamics to explore the expressive possibilities.
  • Pay attention to the subtle nuances and ornaments to add depth and character to your performance.

Comparative Analysis

The sheet music for “Once Upon a December” is available in various arrangements, each with its own unique interpretation. These arrangements vary in difficulty, style, and approach.One notable arrangement is the simplified version, designed for beginners or those with limited piano experience.

This arrangement typically features a slower tempo, simplified chord progressions, and a reduced number of notes in the melody. The goal of this arrangement is to make the song accessible to a wider audience, allowing even those with limited technical ability to enjoy playing it.In

contrast, advanced arrangements are designed for experienced pianists and showcase the song’s full potential. These arrangements often incorporate complex chord voicings, intricate embellishments, and a faster tempo. They require a high level of technical proficiency and a deep understanding of musical theory.

These arrangements are typically intended for performance or as a challenge for skilled pianists.Another variation is the jazz arrangement, which infuses the song with elements of jazz harmony and improvisation. This arrangement typically features syncopated rhythms, altered chords, and a more relaxed tempo.

Jazz arrangements allow pianists to explore their creativity and experiment with different interpretations of the melody.Ultimately, the choice of arrangement depends on the individual’s skill level, musical preferences, and intended use. Whether it’s a simplified version for beginners or an advanced arrangement for experienced pianists, each interpretation offers a unique way to experience the beauty and emotion of “Once Upon a December.”

Printable Version

A printable version of the sheet music for “Once Upon a December” is available for download. This version features clear notation and easy-to-read formatting, making it ideal for practicing and performing the piece.

To access the printable version, click on the “Download” button below. The sheet music will be downloaded as a PDF file, which can be opened in any PDF reader or printed on a standard printer.



As you embark on your musical journey with “Once Upon a December,” remember that practice and dedication are key to unlocking its full potential. With patience and perseverance, you will master this enchanting piece and share its timeless beauty with others.

Whether you’re performing it for a special occasion or simply enjoying it in the solitude of your own home, may this sheet music guide serve as your constant companion, helping you to create unforgettable musical moments.

Answers to Common Questions

Is the “Once Upon a December” piano sheet music difficult to learn?

The difficulty level of the sheet music varies depending on your skill level. For beginners, some sections may require practice and patience, but with dedication, it is certainly achievable.

What is the key signature of the “Once Upon a December” piano sheet music?

The sheet music is written in the key of D♭ major.

Can I find a printable version of the “Once Upon a December” piano sheet music?

Yes, you can find printable versions of the sheet music online or in music stores.

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