Accompanying Blog Post For Video: “How to play ‘MILLION REASONS’ by Lady Gaga on the piano”
Lady Gaga is great at keeping us guessing, isn’t she? Similar to how Madonna handled her career, Gaga reinvents herself and hey style of music regularly, which may alienate some fans but definitely keeps us on our toes. Her latest release, Joanna, is decidedly comfortable in the country category, which one could argue is a strange departure from her previous releases which were dance pop and then big-band jazz, respectively.
What I loved about this single, Million Reasons, is that it’s a bare-bones, acoustic sounding song. The melody and chords really shine through, without the common distractions of loud beats or electronic effects. And the melody is beautiful! Let’s dig a little deeper into the musical aspects of this Intermediate level arrangement that make it great:
1. Melody Beautifully Outlines a C Major Triad
We’re in the key of C for this one, and although the left hand chords dance around in a progression that only has a C major chord (our tonic and “1 chord”) one time, the right hand’s melody stay locked in a structure that strictly outlines C major. Specifically, in 2nd inversion. Our C note stays anchored right in the middle of the melodic shape, sometimes jumping up to E, other times down to G. This really strongly reinforces the tonic in our ears as the chords change.
2. “Rock 5ths” In The Left Hand
The original recorded version of this song features an acoustic guitar. So for the arrangement we did at Playground Sessions, we tried to stay true to the guitar-istic nature by instead of playing triads, playing open 5ths. For each chord, we play the root and the fifth, without the third, which results in a more open sound.
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, check out ‘MILLION REASON’ 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.
For more blog posts by Playground Teacher Phil Anderson, click here.
Subscribe to Playground’s YouTube channel for more song lesson video.
Download the Playground Sessions APP for full interactive learning.