Angry Young Pianist
July 26, 2007 2:36 PM   Subscribe

How do you play the opening to Billy Joel's Angry Young Man on the piano?

I play the piano by ear and Billy Joel songs and Elton John songs come very naturally to me (especially when I have the chords). But Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man" confounds me: I just keep hitting that C note over and over again but I never do it fast enough. How does he play it so fast?
posted by adrober to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
A friend of mine played this sometimes when we were in college—he just got some really good steam up alternating on the drone note with alternating index fingers. It's pure, metered, disciplined repetition: practice at increasing speed and you'll get there.
posted by cortex at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2007


Index finger of the left hand, thumb of the right hand. Hit the double-stops with the middle and pinky of your right hand. When the double stops are hit, you don't play the droning C note.

When you're done with that, you're ready to learn Crazy Train on the guitar or learn every Larry Mullen, Jr. drum beat.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2007


Just tried this at the keyboard, and I had more luck with using my right hand thumb and left hand index finger. This allowed my right hand to rest at the bottom of the key with the left hand further up. Got close to tempo, though I can't do it evenly without more practice.
posted by speicus at 2:50 PM on July 26, 2007


Oops, should've previewed.
posted by speicus at 2:51 PM on July 26, 2007


And it's a lot easier on a real (and good) piano or something with very realistically weighted keys.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on July 26, 2007


I have used the index fingers of both hands, alternating, with no problem - assuming as World Famous says, your piano action doesn't suck. If the action is really junky, you may be s.o.l.
posted by bitterkitten at 3:04 PM on July 26, 2007


I have used the index fingers of both hands, alternating

I saw Billy Joel doing exactly this in concert. In fact, why don't you watch him do it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:51 PM on July 26, 2007


D'oh, that's your link. Anyway...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:52 PM on July 26, 2007


You don't need to bang the piano like that. That's retarded. Two words to Google: Hanon exercises. See Bruce Hornsby's "Spider Fingers" for reference.
posted by emelenjr at 5:35 PM on July 26, 2007


I don't think anyone here advocated banging the piano like Billy Joel. You don't need to bang on it, but you do need to play the note in rapid succession.

And Billy Joel isn't retarded, he's drunk.
posted by The World Famous at 5:42 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


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