You Are The Reason Piano Tutorial – Have you ever wanted to learn about driving piano and rock ‘n’ roll? People can’t help but jump out of their seats in shock when someone writes these lines on the piano. That’s why in this lesson we’ll cover everything about how to get that rock ‘n’ roll sound, from the bass line and left-hand accompaniment to the right-hand chords and riffs that produce that irresistible sound.
Rock and roll swept the nation and dominated much of dance music in the 1950s. The rock and roll piano sound was pioneered by pianists such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Richard Young. It was later developed in the styles of famous pianists such as Elton John and Billy Joel. If you’ve ever wanted to sound like one of them, this is the lesson for you!
You Are The Reason Piano Tutorial
So what are the songs that make up this great rock and roll? We often use simple sets of chords in a style called 12 bar blues. As you can tell, this musical structure or form is based on the blues. However, it was certainly used as a basic foundation for many methods that came after it. Here’s how it looks in our C major key:
Rock And Roll Piano Chords And Accompaniment
As you can see there are 4 bars/bars of C7 (dominant 7th chord), 2 bars of F7, 2 bars of C7, then G7, F7, C7 and and G7 every bar of 1 each. This adds up to a total of 12. We often repeat this form in rock and related music styles.
Try playing the chords and their roots yourself if you are not very familiar with them. Also, practice playing them in the structure and sequence of 12-bar blues.
If you haven’t learned all your great 7th chords, check out our 7th Chord theory and practice. If you’d like to learn more about the blues, 12-bar blues form, and other basics of rock and roll, check out our Blues Piano Tutorial (Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate/Advanced).
So we’ll learn how to groove in this tutorial one hand at a time. Let’s look at the left hand and the groove we play.
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Practice this slowly and work through each chord. Once you get the hang of it, slowly speed it up until you reach about 120 BPM, a very nice and solid rock ‘n’ roll tempo. Nothing says you can’t go fast if you want to!
So what are some of the things we do that make this rock ‘n’ roll piano accompaniment sound so good?
Let’s show some of the great techniques used here in this bass line. The first is the adjacent tones that are not part of the chords. They are used to create a positive tension that is resolved briefly in the tones of the chord, the notes that we expect to be in the chords. See how this is done in the C7 example below:
Adjacent tones in the rock and bass piano line are used to create tension and quickly resolve to the expected tones of the dominant 7th chord.
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Sounds cool, right? The second thing we need to be careful about is the technique we use to connect one chord to another. We call this technique point picking. These notes predict the next chord by playing one of the
A note taking a rock and roll bass line that runs between a dominant C 7th and a destructive F 7th
A rock ‘n’ roll piano line takes place between the last 4 bars of a 12-bar blues
In this case we are using a 5-1 note, the 5th of the next chord is played immediately and falls to the 1st of the next chord, right on its down beat. This is an important concept that is used almost
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If you want to learn more bass line harmony like this, check out Rockin Blues Bass Lines (Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate/Advanced).
Now, let’s learn the big part on the right to go with our rock on the left. Check it out below:
As you can see, this riff repeats a lot of the same instrument, and it sounds great! You don’t always have to play complex things to sound good. This simple riff works through all the chords and reveals a different flavor for each one. As long as it is cut down, people will dig it.
TIP: Make sure you stress the last bar chord in the riff (“and” the 4th). This little trick to emphasize weak beats is called syncopation. This improves the groove and feel and gives the riff a more melodic feel
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Increases to and from 4 in each bar of this riff for a more rhythmic and syncopated rock ‘n’ roll groove.
So what happened to this rock and roll piano riff? Well, for starters, you’ve noticed a lot of D# (Eb). Although it depends on what song they are in (more on that later), they often serve as the little spicy notes in the blues that we call blue notes. It comes from the old blues technique of bending certain pitches slightly higher or lower than they should be for emotional effect.
In the case of the dominant 7th note, D# (Eb) is the blue note because it’s the flat from my natural, which we expect. Always notice the pressure exerted by the blue point. In this case, we resolve it to the expected tone after the green note is played:
The green note and its resolution in rock ‘n’ roll piano on the dominant 7th chord
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, and never return to E naturally. Why so? The main reason is that the Eb of F7 is not a blue note, but rather a chord tone! This means that the Eb sounds more natural in the context, and going to the E natural will sound more awkward than the solution:
In F7, the D# or Eb sits there as a chord tone, instead of acting as a green note and division like C7.
This change of keeping the D# / Eb in certain chords also creates a difference in the riff from what we do in the C7 chord and gives the overall structure of the music more. This is why the D#/Eb sustain contrast occurs over the G7 chord in bar 8:
A D# or Eb is also held above the G7 to establish a contrast when playing a melody other than C7
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If you want to learn great riffs and riffs like this, check out The Blues Riff Bible (Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate/Advanced).
Once you hold both hands separately, it’s time to bring them together. Here’s what it looks and sounds like:
Now make sure you start slowly and gradually progress to full speed. You will notice that when you start playing it a little bit, sometimes it can sound strange. That’s the lot
Creating the sound of blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. They are meant to build tension, so when they are resolved, we are relieved. Rock and roll is also a style that is meant to be played fast and therefore we don’t hear too much noise.
You Are The Reason Sheet Music For Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello (string Trio)
I hope you enjoyed this rock and roll music lesson with piano accompaniment! You can download the sheet music for this lesson and background music to listen along with at the bottom of this page. There are also our smart Piano Notes By Jonny parts that can change the notes to any key you want!
If you’ve learned to play this groove, we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to! Record a video of yourself playing and post it to our Facebook group with the hashtag #rockandrollpiano.
If you want to dive deeper into rock piano and related styles, check out some of the following lessons here at Piano With Jonny:
In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to express my gratitude to music. We hope this will inspire you to think about how music has affected your life in a positive way.
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This month we’re learning about Art Tatum, a fascinating American pianist whose influence on jazz music is sometimes overlooked but legendary.
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Courses are academic and based on selected musical styles and topics of study. PWJ offers regular courses, interactive workshops with teachers, and challenges divided into a 4-week learning format.
Lessons are combined into courses. Most lessons build on concepts from a previous lesson, with the exception of Quick Tips, which are self-contained.
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Smartsheets uses the Soundslice music player to give students digital access to all lesson plans and sheet music.
Smartsheets uses the Soundslice music player to give students digital access to all lesson plans and sheet music. Smartsheets offer audio playback, highlight text, move, loop,
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