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Essential keyboard solos / pieces for the aspiring rock keyboardist


Tom Fiala

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I had this idea about a "syllabus" for aspiring rock musicians, much like there is one for people studying classical music. The list would cover pieces and/or solos that "every keyboardist should know".

 

For the purposes of this thread, we'll limit it to the rock genre only, and only material that could be performed live, by a single person, without sequencing or other aids.

 

Pieces would be divided into various degrees of difficulty - i.e.: "easy", "moderate", "advanced", "difficult"

 

Anybody want to suggest some song titles?

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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A few more:

 

some Boston - "Foreplay", "Smokin'"

 

Jon Lord - intro to "Lazy", "Highway star (solo)"

 

Booker T and the MG's - "Green Onions"

 

Beatles- solo from "Get back" (Billy Preston)

 

Ray Charles - "What I Say"

 

Allman Bros - "Jessica"

 

ELP - "Hoedown", "Karn Evil 9"

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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A whiter Shade of Pale.

 

(It's been many years since I have played rock, but that as the tune that came to mind.)

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Can't forget ELP's "Lucky Man" solo.

 

How about The Zombies "She's not there" solo?

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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The Doors - Light My Fire

 

Can't think of anymore that are'nt listed already without breaking the genre rule...lots of good solo work in jazz :cool:

 

V.

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Originally posted by kad:

The Beatles - "In My Life". It's solo is a fine lesson in two-part counterpoint.

 

Kirk

Interestingly, "In My Life" was recorded at half speed, because George Martin wasn't comfortable with trying to play it at full speed.

 

While the "full speed" version wouldn't be any problem for Rick Wakeman, or the majority of keyboardists for that matter, I think I'll also start out at half-speed on that one!

 

Ben

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If you have a two-guitar band it's fun to have each guitarist play a part. The one playing the high part cn pretend he's Yngwie as he reels off those descending pedal tones :D

Originally posted by BenOne:

Originally posted by kad:

The Beatles - "In My Life". It's solo is a fine lesson in two-part counterpoint.

 

Kirk

Interestingly, "In My Life" was recorded at half speed, because George Martin wasn't comfortable with trying to play it at full speed.

 

While the "full speed" version wouldn't be any problem for Rick Wakeman, or the majority of keyboardists for that matter, I think I'll also start out at half-speed on that one!

 

Ben

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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That's an 18th century style harpsichord solo if I remember correctly. This summer, I heard the Beatles touring act (from the Broadway show) and their KB player nailed that solo, at tempo. Awesome.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Originally posted by Gruv:

The Doors - Light My Fire

 

Can't think of anymore that are'nt listed already without breaking the genre rule...lots of good solo work in jazz :cool:

 

V.

If there is a hell, it would be listening to that tune for eternity. (I can imagine Steve Allen reading the lyrics and commenting on the construction.)

 

If we eliminated repetition from that song there would be very little meat on the bone. Horrible.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

Originally posted by Gruv:

The Doors - Light My Fire

 

Can't think of anymore that are'nt listed already without breaking the genre rule...lots of good solo work in jazz :cool:

 

V.

If there is a hell, it would be listening to that tune for eternity. (I can imagine Steve Allen reading the lyrics and commenting on the construction.)

 

If we eliminated repetition from that song there would be very little meat on the bone. Horrible.

Now imagine playing that song every week (at least twice a week) for four years.

 

That's what I had to do as the "Ray Manzarek" of The Soft Parade. Musical prostitution, that's what it was.

 

Carl

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More from Jon Lord: Hush, Kentucky Woman

 

Emerson: From the Beginning, Lucky Man, Nutrocker

 

Sugarloaf: Green-Eyed Lady

 

more Rod Argent: Time of the Season

 

Ray Manzarek: Love Me Two Times, Riders on the Storm

 

Steve Winwood: Glad, While You See a Chance

 

more Gregg Rolie: Soul Sacrifice

 

Dr. John: Iko Iko - and was that him on Sea Cruise?

 

Chris Stainton: Feelin' Alright

 

Iron Butterfly: In A Gadda Da Vida (no I'm not kidding)

 

Boston (was that Tom Scholz on organ?): More than a Feeling (still not kidding)

 

Eddie: Jump (nope...)

 

Seth Justman: Give It to Me

 

Cars: Just What I Needed

 

Wakeman: Roundabout

 

and the two best (along with Leavell's "Jessica", which someone alredy mentioned)

 

Max Middleton: Situation

 

Rod Argent (yet again): Hold Your Head Up.

 

For the advanced class (maybe Hold Your Head Up belongs there too):

 

Emerson: She Belongs to Me, America, Country Pie

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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If there is a hell, it would be listening to that tune for eternity. (I can imagine Steve Allen reading the lyrics and commenting on the construction.)

 

If we eliminated repetition from that song there would be very little meat on the bone. Horrible.

It's a great song Dave. It just needs some updated lyrics. Say....

 

You Know that it would be untrue

You know that Dave would be a liar

If he were to say to you

I hate playing Light My FIRE

 

Please Dave play us Light My Fire

Please Dave play us Light my Fire

Try to set your P250 on.... Fire

 

solo:(Dave has left the stage) :P

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I'm going to list rock songs that have a strong keyboard component, not necessarily smoking solos, that are fun to play and recognizable. I'm also going to try to not duplicate any of the other posts.

 

Easy:

REO Speedwagon, Roll with the Changes

Rush, Subdivisions

Rush, Tom Sawyer

Rush, [Camera Eye [/i]

Ben Folds Five Brick

Joe Jackson, Is She Really Going Out with Him

Beatles, Obla Di, Obla Da

Tori Amos, Silent All These Years

Elton, Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer

Peter Gabriel, Here Comes the Flood

Styx, Blue Collar Man

Sammy Hagar, Fall In Love Again

 

Medium

Beatles, Lady Madonna

Kansas, Point of No Return

Doors, Riders on the Storm

Saga, On the Loose

Argent, Hold Your Head Up

 

Hard

Genesis, Lamb Lies Down

 

Songs no keyboard player should ever be made to play ever again:

 

Europe, The Final Countdown

Bon Jovi, Runaway

Motley Crue, Coming Home

Van Halen, Jump, I'll wait

Lipps, Inc, Funky Town

Yaz, Move Out

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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I'll add some classic "piano songs" that a rock pianist needs to be able to play. Just because.

 

- Let it Be

- Hey Jude

- Live and Let Die

- Crocodile Rock

- Imagine

- Benny and the Jets

- Peanuts

 

For the show case tunes, I would add:

 

Firth of Fifth - Genesis

Awaken - Yes

Pirates - ELP

 

Jerry

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Did someone say DONT play RUNAWAY by Bon Jovi?

 

Arrgghhhhhhh

 

i`m in a BON JOVI Tribute Band!

have to play it EVERY gig ! poor me :(

 

oh well, it pays my bills :D

 

www.bongiovi.co.uk

 

www.wayneharris.co.uk

Roland Fantom X8 (SRX-04, SRX-07, SRX-11, SRX-12) - Yamaha Motif ES7 - Kawai MP11 - Hammond XK-1C - Korg TR Rack - Korg SG Rack - Quiklok Z72 - Quiklok SL930 - Electrovoice SXA360's

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

Originally posted by Gruv:

The Doors - Light My Fire

 

Can't think of anymore that are'nt listed already without breaking the genre rule...lots of good solo work in jazz :cool:

 

V.

If there is a hell, it would be listening to that tune for eternity. (I can imagine Steve Allen reading the lyrics and commenting on the construction.)

 

If we eliminated repetition from that song there would be very little meat on the bone. Horrible.

:thu: ... And those choruses sung by so-o-o tired, "drunken" voice... :rolleyes:

This song would get my vote for the most annoying song ever! (And The Doors - the most overrated band of all time! :P )

 

Deep Purple - Burn

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