Rock Piano Soloing

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Soloing over a rock tune is not that different from playing a blues or funk solo. The most common scales used in these styles are the pentatonic and blues scales. While the blues scale gives you a more bluesy sound as its name says, you can also use the minor pentatonic scale to keep the sound more versatile.

In the following two examples, notes from the E minor pentatonic scale are played over a chord simple progression in the same key. Even though the minor pentatonic consists of only five notes, it can be used very creatively on the piano or keyboard. It consists of E, G, A, B, and D.

E minor pentatonic scale

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Rock Piano – Fast Sixteenth Notes

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Knowing some basic chord shapes can unlock many possibilities. One is to play chord tones as fast sixteenth notes. The effect is great, while the playing is rather simple.

In the following example, just move the same chord shape up and the keyboard starting on A minor, which will give you G major, F major, and G major again. The rhythmic pattern repeats until it ends on A minor. This last chord is played as a quick arpeggio, meaning you won’t hit the notes not at the same time, but one after another from the bottom to the top.

In the [...]  read more

Rock Piano with Slash Chords

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A very powerful yet simple element to use when playing rock piano is slash chords. This means that you play a chord over a different bass note than its root. So while you would normally play a C chord over its root C in the bass, you can also play the same chord over different notes, such as D, E or F.

This way you will get a different sound for each of the resulting slash chords, which then are written as C/D, C/E or C/F (you read it as C over D, and so on). While technically rather easy to play – you just [...]  read more

Rock Piano Chords

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As you learned in the previous post, rock music relies heavily on chords. At the same time it is strongly influenced by the blues, especially in its early times during the 50s and 60s.

The following example moves from the I to the IV to the V chord in the key of Bb. These are the same three chords which make up a blues. All of them are major chords, with Bb major played in root position and Eb and F played as inversions. The left hand simply plays the roots Bb, Eb and F plus a C to approach the next bar.

rock piano chords1

Add in a drum track and you have a rock sound already!

Bb major

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Rock Piano

piano blog

Today rock music is a vast field which features many different styles and groups. But early rock music started out as a variation of blues and country music with elements of folk music, jazz and other styles. One of the most characteristic elements is, of course, the electric guitar, as well as the drums. Add a bass guitar and you have a classic rock setup. Keys play a prominent part in rock as well – be it the piano, a Hammond Organ or synthesizers.

There are two approaches to playing rock music on the piano or keyboard. The first one is [...]  read more