Today you’re going to explore an awesome Take On Me piano lesson!
This influential lick was an 80’s classic but is still sure to liven up any current party scene.
The video tutorial below will teach you how to play the intro riff to A-Ha’s Take On Me.
Not only is this lick really fun to learn and play but you’ll also pick up some cool rhythmic and arpeggiation techniques as well.
With this synthesizer type riff you’ll feel like it’s 1985 all over again. Let’s get started learning!
Take On Me Piano: Video Tutorial
Take 4 minutes and watch this video tutorial. I walk you through this riff!
Don’t forget! Make sure that you keep reading. Below I’ve shared with you some important tips to help you master this lick.
Try These Tasty Take On Me Piano Tips!
Tip #1: Know Your Mode Mechanics.
This riff is built from the A dorian mode.
The A dorian scale looks like this – (A B C D E F# G A)
You’ll notice that every single note of this riff is one of the notes in this scale. One of the many catchy things about this riff is that it has that unique dorian sound.
Dorian is a mode that pretty much is a minor scale but the 6th scale degree is raised. That’s what gives it the special and unique color.
(The more modes you can familiarize yourself with the better. Discovering modes will strengthen your music theory know-how and playing skills).
Tip #2: How To Construct Implied Chords
You may have noticed in the video that I mention implied chords. This just means that you’re not playing all the notes in a given chord.
But, you’re playing enough notes for the chord to sound full enough to (imply) the full chord…
Let’s walk through this idea together.
Ex. 1 – The implied chord is a C chord (C E G). You can remove 5th and just play the C and the E. It won’t sound as full but you’re still implying a C chord with just those 2 notes.
Ex. 2 – The implied chord is a G chord (G B D). You can also remove the 3rd or the root of the chord and still imply the full G chord.
In this riff you’re going to be removing the root. B is now your base note and D is on top. This is an implied G chord.
Tip #3: Become An Arpeggiation Artisan
Arpeggiate, is just a fancy Italian word that means “to break up the chord.” This idea of breaking up chords in a pattern is part of the foundation of this riff.
Let’s ease you into this concept…
Take the first chord of this lick, an (Am) chord. You’re playing the root of the chord in your left hand which is just A.
Now, with your right hand you’re playing an A minor chord arpeggiated. Here’s the pattern (top, top, middle, bottom, bottom).
Written out clearly it looks like this, (top, top, middle, bottom, bottom) – (E E C A A).
There are lots of little bits of arpeggiation all throughout the lick. See if you can go through and spot. Don’t worry, I help you by calling out the chords in the video tutorial. 🙂
Tip #4: Talk About Timing!
Something that many pianists will forget to focus on is their rhythm. It’s not enough to just get the pitches down.
You’ve got to play your riffs with great groove and timing. That’s what excites your audiences and makes music truly fun to play. Rhythmic precision is huge.
The best way to get past your timing issues is to count your beats out loud. Make sure you’re not counting under your breath. Don’t be afraid to yell..
I urge all of my students to count out loud when first learning a new lick or section of a song.
You’ll be amazed by how much your timing will improve if you count out your beats!
Where Your Learning Goes From Here…
It is my absolute passion to help you become the best piano player you can be. This lesson is a small piece of all that this site has in store for you.
I’ve also got a tutorial that teaches you how to play The Way It Is Chords. Learn new chords and how to play some classic Bruce Hornsby licks!
Or, if you want to learn some more sophisticated chords then you have to check out this R&B piano chords tutorial. Tons of cool chromaticism and jazzy chord techniques in that one.
And make sure you check out this awesome Chariot Piano Tutorial. Inside you’ll learn one killer blues rock riff!
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In the meantime enjoy your practice. If you have any questions about this Take On Me piano lesson or the video tutorial above please leave your comments below.