Day 16 – Band in my Hands?

My friend showed me a video today of Dave Grohl talking about how he created the song ‘Everlong’. At one point, he mentioned that he approaches playing guitar as he would the drums, the different strings being representative of the different parts of the drum. It was a fascinating concept to consider.

Dave Grohl talking about the creation of ‘Everlong’

Now, I approach the piano, well, like a piano. Although I originally started out playing cello and trombone briefly, I’ve never tried to empty the spit valve on my piano, or rosin my keys.

Dave’s story prompted me to consider how I interpret songs from various artists from non-classical genres when I play by ear (Foo Fighters, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Stone Temple Pilots, etc).

It starts off at a basic level, chords in the left hand, vocals in the right hand. Once that’s down, start listening to the instrumentation, and slowly begin incorporating that. So then the right hand would reflect vocals and chords to support the vocals, and the left hand would start mimicking bass and rhythm guitar.

Why not take it a step further?

Eventually, the right hand then becomes vocals, chords, and pulling some of the rhythm guitar, while the left hand ties in some drum beats with the bass and rhythm guitar. It can honestly get crazy, but lead to a lot of fun, and then the challenge becomes how much more you could possibly fit in.

The more you listen to a song, the more you hear. You start honing in on particular rhythms or fills, or try and figure out how to fake a slide up the neck of a bass. The real trick is to keep it as clean and distinguished as possible. If it gets too muddy, then it defeats the purpose.

It’s been interesting to actually write out my own process and trying to master multiple instruments with two hands on the piano will continue to be a welcomed challenge.