The Things I Really... - Yiruma

"The Things I Really..." is an elegant and evocative solo piano piece composed by the South Korean pianist Yiruma. Renowned for his ability to blend classical and contemporary styles, Yiruma has captivated audiences worldwide with his emotive melodies. The piece showcases his talent for creating poignant and memorable piano music, making it a favorite among not just listeners but performers as well. It features a serene yet introspective atmosphere, a hallmark of Yiruma's compositional style. Released as part of his broader collection of works, this composition exemplifies his unique approach to melody and harmony.

History and Release of "The Things I Really..."

"The Things I Really..." was released in 2005 as part of the album Poemusic, which is a reflection of Yiruma's inner thoughts and his journeys through life. The album itself delivers a rich tapestry of emotions, with each piece telling a unique story. Yiruma, whose real name is Lee Ru-ma, studied at the Purcell School of Music in London and later graduated from King's College London. His exposure to both Western and Eastern musical traditions has significantly influenced his composition style.

The piece quickly garnered attention for its lyrical qualities and heartfelt delivery. It is often performed in recitals and has been featured in various media, expanding its reach beyond traditional classical music audiences. "The Things I Really..." is frequently included in playlists of relaxing or study music, further cementing its role in contemporary culture.

A critical part of the album's success was Yiruma's ability to connect emotionally with the audience. This piece, like many of his others, enabled listeners to dive deeply into their own memories and emotions. Such engagement with the audience brought a new level of popularity to this work.

Influence and Context

Yiruma composed "The Things I Really..." during a period of significant personal and professional growth. The album Poemusic was part of his journey to explore new emotional depths and connect with his audience on a more personal level. This context provides a layer of understanding when analyzing the piece, allowing one to appreciate the sincerity embedded in each note.

Analysis of "The Things I Really..." from a Music Theory Perspective

The piece is set in a somewhat lyrical and contemplative tonal environment, which is characteristic of Yiruma's style. It employs a simple but effective harmonic progression that underpins the emotional weight of the melody. The key of the piece is generally in E-flat major, a key known for its warm and resonant qualities.

One of the most compelling aspects of the composition is its use of rubato, giving performers the flexibility to express the music's emotional nuances. This approach allows for a more personalized rendition, making each performance of "The Things I Really..." unique.

Harmonically, the piece employs frequent use of seventh chords and inverted triads, which add to its lush and rich texture. These chords create a sense of unresolved tension that is only partially resolved throughout the piece, maintaining an ongoing sense of introspection.

The melody often utilizes the pentatonic scale, a choice that lends a certain ethereal and timeless quality to the composition. The scale's simplicity contrasts beautifully with the more complex harmonic structures beneath it, creating a layered and intricate overall sound.

Rhythmic and Structural Elements

Structurally, the piece follows a straightforward ternary form (ABA), making it easily accessible yet deeply touching. The A section introduces a memorable theme that recurs with slight variations, while the B section provides a contrasting middle part that delves into more complex harmonic territory.

The piece also makes effective use of arpeggios and broken chords to create a fluid, rolling accompaniment that supports the melody without overshadowing it. This approach is a staple of Yiruma's style, contributing to the meditative quality of his music.

Reasons for the Popularity of "The Things I Really..."

"The Things I Really..." has resonated with a wide audience due to its emotional depth and simplicity. Its melody is both memorable and easy to play, making it a favorite choice for amateur and professional pianists alike. Its accessibility means even those with modest technical skills can perform it effectively.

The piece's emotional resonance lies in its ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia and introspection. Yiruma's knack for creating music that speaks directly to the soul has made this piece a timeless classic. Additionally, the simplicity of the melody allows listeners to project their personal experiences onto the music, making it highly relatable.

Usage in Media and Popular Culture

The composition has been featured extensively in media such as television dramas and films. This widespread exposure has introduced it to new audiences and solidified its place in contemporary piano music repertoire. Its usage in emotional and reflective scenes makes it an ideal choice for soundtracks.

The integration of "The Things I Really..." into digital music platforms and study playlists has garnered it a loyal following among younger listeners. Online platforms allow for easy access to the sheet music and recordings, further disseminating its popularity across different demographics.


"The Things I Really..." by Yiruma is a beautifully crafted piano piece that continues to captivate audiences with its emotional depth and melodic simplicity. Its harmonic richness, combined with its accessible structure, makes it a staple in contemporary piano music. The piece's widespread appeal, due in part to its use in media and digital platforms, ensures its enduring legacy in the world of piano music.

Through its compelling history, intricate music theory elements, and widespread popularity, "The Things I Really..." stands as a testament to Yiruma's exceptional talent and his ability to touch the hearts of listeners around the world.

Publication date: 30. 05. 2024