My students who are fans of EDM have asked me time and time again to teach them how to play “Faded” by Alan Walker on piano. I wasn’t familiar with Alan Walker when I first heard this song, but what captured me was how melodic and pianistic it sounded, despite its ‘dance club’ nature. And I jump at the opportunity to teach songs that are musical but not in the standard way we think of when we think of piano music. Let’s do it!
“Faded” by Alan Walker’s classic minor progression
This song arrangement employs a very classic minor chord progression: 6 – 4 – 1 – 5. We are still using the major key to determine the numbered progression — we’re in the key of F major, but the first chord in this progression (the minor 6 chord) starts us off, and that’s the reason I call this a minor progression.
Dm, followed by a Bb major chord in 1st inversion (so we only need to move one note from the first chord to the next), is a very common movement. Our F chord is in 2nd inversion, so we move our whole chord shape down just a little bit, but we keep the middle note F the same between them. And finally we see a C major chord in root position, which mean moving from the 3rd to the 4th chord we keep our C note the same with our 5th finger.
I encourage you to try this progression on its own and even in a few new keys! Can you apply the numbered formula (6 – 4 – 1 – 5) to another key and get the same sounding results?
Many right hand position changes
The melody doesn’t sound too intimidating, but upon closer inspection of the notation we can see that “Faded’s” chords forces our hand to do a good amount of position shifts. This means our hand moves around to different parts of the keyboard for different moments of this section, so we can’t just assign a finger number to a note and let our hand do all the work. Instead, we need to coordinate moments that we can look down and reset our hand in a new spot, making it easier to grab all the notes in the upcoming phrase without straining too much. For this reason, this song proved to be a great challenge for practicing shifting your hand around while the other hand is playing a strict rhythm (in this case quarter note chords).
Now it’s your turn to play “Faded” by Alan Walker on piano
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, check out “Faded” by Alan Walker at the Playground Sessions YouTube channel.
If you like what you see you can download our app to learn the rest of this song with our interactive sheet music.
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