How to Play Rock ‘N’ Roll on the Piano - dummies

By Hal Leonard Corp., Adam Perlmutter

The piano is not limited to classical music. Hop in your time capsule and travel to a time when Elvis was still king, The Beatles didn’t have solo careers, and avocado green was a popular appliance color. Rock ’n’ roll burst onto the music scene in the 1950s and 1960s with a pair of swinging hips and masses of screaming groupies.

The big names in rock freely acknowledge their debt to the blues artists. Rock ’n’ roll wouldn’t be possible without the 12-bar blues, which provided the structural framework for many hit songs of the ’50s, ’60s, and beyond.

Rocking ingredients

Pull out your bag o’ tricks and find the following musical ingredients to make any song rock:

  • Rockin’ intervals

  • Glissandos

  • Chords

  • Lots and lots of pyrotechnics for your elaborate stage show (plus lights, makeup, big hair, a smoke machine — all the necessities)

Slamming and jamming

Jerry Lee Lewis practically invented the classic rock piano sound. For this style, all you need is an opening glissando, fast chords, and lots of energy.

Pour these elements into the 12-bar blues form and you’re ready to roll. Check out this rockin’ bass line that follows a typical blues chord progression in the key of C.

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Watch this rockin’ bass line being played on the piano.