What classical music does Francesca play on piano in Bridgerton?

17 May 2024, 17:22

Francesca Bridgerton makes her debut in Season 3, as a piano-playing debutante.
Francesca Bridgerton makes her debut in Season 3, as a piano-playing debutante. Picture: Netflix

By Siena Linton

The first half of Bridgerton’s third season landed on Netflix overnight, containing a treasure trove of classical treats courtesy of Francesca and her piano.

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Bridgerton is back on our screens, at long last, with a generous new offering of string quartet pop covers, plenty of pulse-raising romances, and Kris Bowers’ beloved original score.

In addition to classical versions of music by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Pitbull and more, the show’s creators have also treated their classical music-loving viewers to a whole host of classical music favourites, from Beethoven to Mozart, Haydn and Scarlatti.

Much of the new season’s classical music comes courtesy of the third Bridgerton daughter, Francesca (played by Hannah Dodd), and her love of piano playing.

But what classical pieces do we hear, and is Hannah Dodd really playing the piano?

Beware: spoilers ahead!

Read more: All the classical covers in Netflix’s Bridgerton Season 3 revealed

Watch the Bridgerton Season 3 trailer

What classical music does Francesca play on the piano?

Classical music takes centre stage in Bridgerton Season 3, as Francesca pursues her passion for piano playing – much to her mother, Violet’s despair.

In the first episode, the Bridgerton family eagerly await Francesca’s appearance on the morning of her debut, eavesdropping at her door. However, the sixth Bridgerton sibling is already up and ready, preparing for the day at the keyboard with little regard for the importance of her debut: “It is just another day,” as she tells her family.

As they leave the room, her elder brother Benedict takes the Bridgerton matriarch’s arm, saying: “You do realise what tune she was playing just now, don’t you? Mozart’s ‘Funeral March’.”

“Oh, God,” comes Violet’s response.

Later in Episode 1, Francesca also plays Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonata in G major (L. 103) – a gift from her brother Colin, who had been travelling continental Europe throughout the summer.

Read more: How Kris Bowers created ‘the Bridgerton sound’ – from hip-hop beats to Ravel inspiration

Beautiful Rendition of Beethoven's Appassionata

In Episode 2, Violet introduces Francesca to Lord Petri at the first ball of the season, saying he is “quite the music devotee”. He asks Francesca about the music she enjoys, to which she answers: “Lately, I have been enjoying [Ferdinand] Ries. His Piano Trios are quite beautiful. And Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ – I could listen to it forever!”

It’s the ‘Appassionata’, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.23, that earns Francesca the attention of Queen Charlotte later that same episode. At Lady Danbury’s encouragement, Francesca takes respite from the ball in the back room, where there is a grand piano.

Ever the plotter and schemer, Lady Danbury then prompts the Queen to visit the room, under the guise of going to see a François Gérard painting.

Instead, Queen Charlotte happens upon Francesca playing her favourite Beethoven sonata. Impressed, the Queen applauds Francesca for her performance, delighted to finally find “someone who performs not for me, but for themselves”.

“Brava!” the Queen adds. “Sparkling, one might say.”

Later in the series, Francesca meets John Stirling, the 8th Earl of Kilmartin, whose grand romantic gesture is a little different to the Bridgerton love interests before him. Instead of great pronouncements of love or lavish proposals, John meets Francesca on her terms with a piece of music he’s arranged, just for her.

Read more: Definitively the 20 greatest Beethoven works of all time

Does Hannah Dodd really play the piano?

Hannah Dodd puts on a stunning performance as Francesca Bridgerton, having taken over the role in Season 3 from Ruby Stokes, who played the sixth Bridgerton sibling in the first two seasons.

She spends much of the first two episodes of Season 3 at the keyboard, indulging her passions at the piano – but is it really Hannah Dodd playing the music?

Dodd, who is a trained dancer, took piano lessons to help make her portrayal of Francesca as realistic as possible, but it isn’t her playing that we hear on the soundtrack. The actor told Glass: “I just learned, essentially, hand choreography.”

Asked by Vulture whether or not she had mastered the instrument, Dodd replied: “I want to say yes, but as soon as I learned a piece for a scene there was always another piece to learn right after.

“I really thought it was going to be my party trick and I’d always be able to whip out Mozart at a moment’s notice, but that never happened. I need to get some lessons and hopefully some stuff has stuck. It’s a beautiful and hard instrument.”