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Piano Accompaniment Styles for 50 Great Songs (Part 1)
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Piano Accompaniment Styles for 50 Great Songs (Part 1)

Rather than focus on just one song, this 2-part tutorial is going to help you play a wide variety of songs. (See lists just below the video.) That's because the topic is rhythmic styles or patterns.

To play most of these songs, you'll need only the four chords you've learned so far: I, IV, V, vi. (The vi chord is introduced in Part 1.) On the video, I even tell you where to get free lead sheets, transposed to your key and ready to print out.

Now if you're wondering whether there are many songs not in my tutorial using just those four chords, watch this really cool video by Axis of Awesome. They sing and play dozens of songs using the exact same 4-chord sequence. In that blog posting, I talk about that chord progression, those songs (I even list them), and how to use what you'll learn in this tutorial to play them.

NOTE: This video mentions wikifonia.com as a source of free lead sheets. Since that site is no longer operating, I'm now recommending UltimateGuitar, which provides the same service, is legal, and has a much larger selection of songs. Like wikifonia, it even transposes chord progressions for you.

Some people have reported error messages when using the YouTube player, so I'm also including one that streams from Vimeo.

Video contents for part 1.

This 2-part tutorial moves faster than other lessons. I use the songs listed below in bold to teach the styles. Then, you can apply the same rhythmic patterns to other songs on the list (and many more).

  • 00:12  Introduction and lists of songs & styles.
  • 01:19  Chord review, plus one new chord (vi).
  • 03:10  Step 1: Get the chord changes for your song. Where to get free lead sheets. Playing by ear.
  • 04:26  Step 2: Transpose (put the song into your key).
  • 05:13  Step 3: Match up the song with a rhythm style.
  • 05:04  4/4 POP BALLAD STYLE: Auld Lang Syne, Hey Jude, Imagine, Let it Be, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Blowin' in the Wind, Aloha Oe, My Hometown, Mother (John Lennon), Red River Valley, Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  • 09:31  3/4 TIME (WALTZ FEEL): Silver Bells, Cielito Lindo, Piano Man, Amazing Grace, Clementine, Waltzing Matilda (chorus), Home on the Range, Edelweiss.
  • 12:23 Recap of Part 1, preview of Part 2

Part 2. (See note for part 1)

  • 00:05  ALTERNATING BASS STYLE (for uptempo songs): When the Saints Go Marching In, Octopus's Garden, Love is a Rose, 76 Trombones, The Gambler, Jambalaya, All I Want is You (from Juno), Getting to Know You, Do-Re-Mi.
  • 2:30  BROKEN CHORD BASS: Yakety-Yak, Ob La Di, Cecilia
  • 4:15  SHUFFLE SHYTHM: The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wim-o-weh part), Hound Dog, Kansas City, Your Mama Don't Dance, Whole Lotta Shakin', Amazing Grace, Heart and Soul, Georgia on My Mind
  • 5:58  BROKEN CHORD RIGHT HAND: Silent Night, Someone Like You, Unchained Melody, Can't Help Falling in Love, The Way You Look Tonight, Memory, This Year's Love, Fallin', Billie Jean (Chris Cornell acoustic version)
  • 10:23  Recap of Part 2.

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