So where do you start learning to play like Elton? With a Yamaha keyboard it's easy to use a MIDI file to learn the piano or keyboard parts to a song - MIDI files will let you:
- Mute the piano part
- Listen to the piano part alone
- Slow down the track
- Your Song
Right hand - channel 5. Left hand - channel 4.
Elton's first hit is a great place to start in your attempts to master his style. As Elton himself says, "it may be quite simple", but the piano part, consisting largely of arpeggiated chords is typical of many of Elton's ballads. learn this one and you're well on your way.
Right and left hands - channel 4
"Nikita" hails from 1985, the heyday of the synthesizer, so you won't find any of Elton's usual piano sound here. However, the song's synth lines are still very much piano based and their relatively simple rhythmic pattern makes this song a fun way way for beginners to get their feet wet with Elton's music.
- Candle In the Wind
Right and left hands - channel 2
Elton's solid, rhythmic piano playing anchors this emotional ballad. With heartfelt lyrics eulogizing the life of Marilyn Monroe (or Princess Diana, in version performed at her funeral in 1997), the real challenge of this song is learning how to sing along while playing without losing the rhythm or choking up.
- Crocodile Rock
Right hand - channel 6. Left hand - channel 7.
Elton's style is certainly indebted to rock 'n' roll piano legends like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, and "Crocodile Rock" is one of the best examples of his rock roots. To get the right feel for this hard driving song, you'll need to play with some speed and confidence, but with a little work and this MIDI file to guide you, you should be rocking along in no time.
- I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
Right and left hands - channel 4
Despite its title, the style on display in this song isn't exactly the blues, but the blues-inspired light pop balladry that Elton is famous for. In addition to providing a classically catchy chorus, this song also is a good example of how Elton's characteristic style works in 6/8 time.
Here are some suggestions for styles especially well suited to Elton John's songs:
- Sad Rock
Use this style to play "Sad Songs (Say So Much)", which reached the number 5 spot on the Billboard Top 100 in 1984. It's a perfect example of the classic 1-4-5 progression. Try it in the key of C Major, and you'll be playing like Elton in no time!
- CCCP Ballad
This style is perfect for "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", originally released on Elton John's 1974 album Caribou, but much more popular for the duet version with George Michael.
- Reg's Bossa
Reg's Bossa is perfect for Elton John's "Sacrifice". Speed it up a bit to play "Nikita" from the 1985 album Ice On Fire, or slow the tempo of this style and try the soft rock classic "Daniel".
- Standing Rock
Standing Rock is a style file for the rockin' side of Elton John's catalog. Designed for the first single off 1983's Too Low for Zero "I'm Still Standing". Also suitable for "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", which was Elton's first number 1 single in the UK, and duet with Kiki Dee.
- Essential Elton John
Keyboard Signature Licks
Learn the trademark keyboard techniques of one of the most distinguished artists in pop-rock! This book/CD pack details Sir Elton's distinct stylings by breaking down 10 of his best songs.
- Elton John - Greatest Hits 1970-2002
Piano/Vocal/Guitar Artist Songbook
This fabulous sheet music collection features 34 of Elton's all-time greatest hits in the easy to read yet comprehensive Piano/Vocal/Guitar arrangements.
- The Best of Elton John - EZ Play Clavisoft
With this Clavisoft book and disk pack, you can learn and play along with nine classic Elton John songs on your keyboard. Includes EZ Play sheet music and MIDI arrangements for each song so you can easily learn to play the chords and melody for each song, and the perform with a full backing track.