Piano Music Database Methodology

This page gives a overview of our unique approach to tagging, leveling and organizing piano music.


Works in Piano Music Database (PMD) are assigned elements of varying difficulty levels. Elements are pedagogical concepts or technical, theoretical and musical challenges or themes in each piece of piano music. We think of them sort of like tags or taxonomies. They help us identify exactly what is present in a piece of music so that teachers and students who search using PMD can know if a piece is a good fit for their needs. A work may have a mix of many different elements. We try to limit tagging works with too many elements so that there is a clearer picture of exactly what we feel is the main focus for each work.


The difficulty level for all works in the database is determined by taking the average difficulty level of each element within the work. There are eight levels at PMD that span repertoire from the most basic beginner works to the most difficult and virtuosic ones. During the BETA, only levels 1 through 4 are included. Levels 5 through 8 are planning for future release.

PMD Levels

  • Primary (Level 1)
  • Early Elementary (Level 2)
  • Late Elementary (Level 3)
  • Early Intermediate (Level 4)
  • Late Intermediate (Level 5) – PLANNED
  • Early Advanced (Level 6) – PLANNED
  • Late Advanced (Level 7) – PLANNED
  • Master (Level 8) – PLANNED


All entries in PMD are organized into hierarchical collections. The most important and often searched for collections are works, sets and compilations, though we also have many other collections including: composers, series, authors, editors, publishers and methods (coming soon). Every entry in the database has basic cataloguing information as well as that entry’s relationships to other collections. For example: all works will have a composer listed, many will be part of sets, some will have publishers or be a part of compilations. Whenever an entry has a relationship to another collection type you can click a link to be taken directly to its related entry. For more information on our collections and how we organize our data on PMD, please visit this link.