In the Playground Sessions song store, we have a ton of songs from all different genres, and for each song we’ve got multiple difficulty levels represented in our arrangements. A lot of the time on YouTube, you’ll see the intermediate arrangement, but I felt this song presented a good opportunity to teach an advanced section. Here’s one reason why:
16th Notes + Dotted Rhythms = Subdividing Challenge
The main ‘hook,’ or chorus melody/lyric to this song is “I won’t give up (nah nah nah), let me love you.” The rhythms used to sing that hook are syncopated 16th notes mixed with some dotted and tied notes. To play this chorus accurately, even at its relatively slow tempo, you have to be a very skilled subdivider. This means that every beat (since we’re in 4/4 time signature, the beat is a quarter note) must be split evenly into 4ths (16th note beats) in your head while playing. Instead of counting “1-2-3-4” you must think “1-e-and-a, 2-e-and-a, 3-e-and-a, 4-e-and-a.” THEN, you must assign the notes of the song to those subdivided quarter-beats.
For example, measure 1 of the chorus (“nah nah nah”), poses a tough subdividing challenge. The first ‘Eb’ comes on the ‘and of 1,’ which means we are taking our first beat of that measure, dividing into 4ths, then coming in on the 2nd of those 4ths (1-e-and-a). That 1st “nah” is then tied over to beat 2 to one 16th note. The next ‘Eb’ (the 2nd “nah”) comes in on the ‘e of 2’ meaning the second 4th of beat 2 (2-e-and-a), and that note is a dotted 8th note which means it gets a total of three 16th note beats. So, that note finishes out the remainder of beat 2. The third ‘Eb’ (the last “nah”) is a quarter note played right on beat 3 so here we are finally no longer syncopated and we can play a strong beat with rhythmic confidence!
These kind of dotted syncopations and subdivisions can be found all throughout this song in both hands, so it’s a great lesson on rhythm!
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, come check out “Let Me Love You” at the Playground Sessions YouTube channel. If you like what you see you can download the app to learn the rest with our interactive sheet music.
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