As a Dino who is also a piano player...

otcconanotcconan Posts: 5,677
There are some things about piano playing that confounds and really quite royally pisses me off. 

First off, I started on piano, so I should know what the hell I am doing but I really forgot a lot of things in the 7 or 8 years I left the keys alone.  But still, there are some cardinal sins that cannot be overlooked.

There are songs by Queen in C# that are impossible for me for the sheer fact that playing them requires so many black keys that I feel my mind about to explode.  I bear it because I love Queen, but my God, what was Freddie thinking?  Brian's songs are in more sensible keys.  Freddie puts "Killer Queen" in C minor and it took me a week to learn that.

Secondly, I know it's great for us guitar players to just slide up a fret and be happy, and honestly, it's all fine and good, but when I come across a song like "Open Arms," by Journey, which is in D major, it just makes no sense at all.  I mean, the song is perfectly correctable to C, where the chord patterns make more sense and are easier, again because of the lack of black keys.  But why do it in D when your singer is Steve Perry?  Can he not sing a middle C?  Is his voice really that high?  One step?  Really?

I spent practically an entire year learning "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the keys just to impress a girl, a feat that paid off in the end, even though the payoff was not so great, but seriously, Freddie?  C minor?  A step down to a natural minor key (meaning one with fewer black keys) would have been nice.  A little love to those of us who are not natural key players, please...

Finally, I do have to say I have to give it up to Bobby Whitlock, who played the keys on "Layla" and made it kind of sensible, but then he had to, in order to fit it into the key of a song written by a guitar player.

And this is why the majority of Dino songs with guitar in them, like "Rock and Roll Party in the Streets" by Axe, or "Sister Christian," or even "Home Sweet Home," are in sensible, non-black key keys. 

Or, maybe, I maybe should have paid better attention when I was 10 years old and was being taught all of this.  I don't know.  But I own a piano now and I want to use it, so I say, screw it, I'm going to write some songs of my own on that thing and to hell with those piano snobs.

Oh, and yeah...My hero, Brian May, a guitar player, wrote a hell of a lot of songs on the guitar and he did the same thing.

/End of Rant

C

Comments

  • M11M11 Posts: 840
    I "try" to play the piano and my favorite keys to play in are C major, Bb Major and F Major (not very "guitar friendly" keys, but with few of the black ones) and their relative minor keys.
    And yes, apparently piano/keyboard players prefer lots of black keys. Rick Wakeman in his FAQ says the following:

    Q. Does Rick enjoy playing in a particular key?
    A. Most piano stuff is actually written in flat keys, usually D flat or A flat. Most rock stuff is in keys that are suitable for guitars etc, hence the aviodance of flat keys.

    source: http://www.rwcc.com/faq.asp
  • SirionSirion Posts: 3,115
    I suppose they have their reasons, be it for colouristic nuances of instruments or key characteristics. But there isn't anything hindering you to play them in simpler keys, is there? C# is an especially punitive key to learn a song in, but very easy to transpose. I suspect 95% of people would not have been able to hear the difference, and if they did, well, chances are you may have the reason for the choice of key there.
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,650
    I love many of the chord forms you can get on a piano that are just impossible on the guitar. Guitar chords all usually spread out while many piano forms can be played within the same octave. There's also something magical about the way a dissonant combination of notes that sounds like crap on an axe can sound deep and mysterious on a piano.
  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,928
    A couple of years back I played some instrumentals with a really good keyboard player.
    At the time I tuned a half step down, and he said it was quite challenging for to keep up.

  • SirionSirion Posts: 3,115
    Transposing a single half step is, as far as I've understood, just about as hard as it gets. Johannes Brahms made made an uproar in his youth, when he, accompanying a virtuoso violinist, managed to compensate for either a sharp piano or a flat violin by playing everything a semitone higher than his notes said. That's how hard it can be. I've had the privilege of hearing a pianist play a few Bach pieces in different keys right after another, though, and I have to say that it convinced me that the often ridiculed key characteristics, are almost as real with modern, equal-tempered instruments as they ever were.

    Modern keyboardists fortunately often have the possibility of transposing their instruments. Not that a working knowledge of the outer regions of the keyboard should be disparaged, but it can certainly be a time saver.
  • Transpose key is your friend.

    When I read your rant, I thought of Fagan's line in Home at Last - "Who wrote that tired C song?"  So, yes there probably is a "show off" aspect to it.

    If you play jazz at all, you are going to spend a lot of time in Bb and Eb, the natural key for horn players.

    I still play keys (double on keys / guitar in my band) and every once in a while, I'll go back to my prog-rock roots, and play a lot of Yes, Genesis, UK, and Asia on keyboards. 
  • otcconanotcconan Posts: 5,677
    Well, as to transposing the songs, the thing is this:  my music-reading skills are tired and pretty much limited to the treble side of the staff, thanks to years of playing the trumpet exclusively.  I can still read, and I guess I could take the time to read it and learn, but I'm too damn lazy and I'm used to learning songs on the guitar by ear.  So I crank up the stereo in my living room and have at it with my piano.  And it's difficult to learn "Open Arms" in D major.  I mean it's only 2 #'s, but with all the 7ths and 13ths in there, it's still a bitch.

    And I should be able to do it with good relative (can't confirm perfect) pitch.
  • TeleMetalTeleMetal Posts: 337
    [quote author=inmyhands link=topic=13426.msg204142#msg204142 date=1329630973]
    I love many of the chord forms you can get on a piano that are just impossible on the guitar. Guitar chords all usually spread out while many piano forms can be played within the same octave. There's also something magical about the way a dissonant combination of notes that sounds like crap on an axe can sound deep and mysterious on a piano.
    [/quote]

    Perfect!! Couldn't of said that better myself.

    -Telemetal
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