Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mixtape: 10 Songs I Can Play On Piano (And One I WIsh I Could)

10 Songs I Can Actually Play On The Piano, and One I Wish I Could:

I was watching The Colbert Report last night and he had on a singer who started out her song by playing something that might have been an accordion and might have been a harmonium – I’m not sure which – but it was very very neat, and the song was very very neat, too, and it did that thing that all great music does to me: It made me want to be able to play that song myself.

I can’t. But I can play these.

“Rage Over A Lost Penny:” Beethoven:

I learned about a bazillion Beethoven songs as a kid taking piano lessons, including the biggies like the Fifth Symphony and the Ninth Symphony and "Fuur Elise" but this was always my favorite:

“Piano Man:” Billy Joel:

I never cared much for the song itself -- but I like to play it and sing it and pretend I'm the Piano Man.

“Toccata and Fugue In D Minor:” Bach.

I know this by heart. It's a great song to know by heart. If you play piano and "accidentally" let it slip that you play piano when you see one, and people ask you to play something, you've got to wow them. This one does. It's the only song that I can play that makes me feel like a real pianist. (And when I say that fast, I smirk.)

“Heart and Soul:” From “Big”

To most people it's a duet. I never had anybody around to play it. So I taught myself how to play both parts.

“The Entertainer:” Scott Joplin.

My dad wanted me to learn this one because it's in "The Sting." I never watched the movie. But I do like ragtime, now. "Maple Leaf Rag" is better, but harder.

“Moonlight Sonata:” Beethoven

I had to have two Beethovens in here. I probably could have made the whole list Beethovens but then nobody would have gone on reading it.

“Bohemian Rhapsody:” Queen.

I suddenly realized, one day, listening to a horrible choir rendition of this song at one of the kids' concerts, that I could probably play this on piano. So I got the sheet music and learn't myself how to do just that. I have not yet convinced the kids to join me in singing it but I like to do the "I see a little silhouette-o of a man" part.

“Chariots of Fire:” Vangelis

Another one I know by heart. After I knock 'em down with "Toccata and Fugue," this mellows things out a bit.

“Music Box Dancer,” Frank Mills:

And a third one to know by heart. It's actually not that hard -- the piano bits are just the same thing repeated over and over. Shh! Don't tell anyone.

“Theme From Hill Street Blues:”

I never even watched the show, so some of the poignancy is lost on me. To the world, it's a song about the mean streets of "Some City" where "Some Cops" did "Some Cop Stuff." To me, it's the song I learned in the piano alcove at Mrs. Loppnow's house across from the church.

And the song I wish I COULD Play:

“I Don’t Know:” By Lisa Hannigan:


lisapepin said...

You've got to be freakin' kidding me. You play the piano? How is it that I never knew about this? I bet you even know how to play "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats. And you never played it for me. Never saw you dance, never saw you play the piano... What other interesting things did you hide from your so-called friends?

lisapepin said...

I've been trying to find that Lisa Hannigan song on iTunes, but to no avail. Suggestions? I must own it!