Accompanying Blog Post For Video: “How to play BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on the piano”
Arguably one of the best Disney soundtracks of all time! I’m very pleased to have been able to arrange and produce a video lesson on this one. Here are a few reasons why, musically, I love it so much as a learning tool:
1. Beautiful Harmonic Progression!
The chord progression in this is great, and it moves beautifully with the melody. Halfway through we see a dominant 7th chord that is not usually in this major key (we call this a “borrowed harmony”) and that chord allows us to land in a very satisfying way on the 4 chord. I’m talking about a C7 chord which has a Bb in it, but we’re in the key of C which usually doesn’t have any accidentals. And the C7 chord is the 5 chord in the key of F major right? Well, the reason it feels so good to land on the following F major chord is because we’ve borrowed that key’s 5 chord, and the 5-to-1 progression is always the most satisfying resolution. So even within the key of C, we can temporarily stray over to the key of F just for two chords (C7 to F), then we can come back to the key of C with a G7 chord (which of course is the 5 chord in the key of C). Beautiful!
2. Interesting Melodic Intervals and Gesutres
There are a few great moments in this melody where we should really take note of the arc. If we think of this melody as being made up of gestures instead of notes, we can trace many ups and downs that are playful and resemble the natural arc of, say, breathing. In other words, there are some grand sweeps of ascending notes followed by descending notes or drops in wide intervals. Take the first phrase for example, in measures 1 and 2. We fly up with E, G, B, C and then immediately drop down by an interval of a 5th to an F. There are a few other instances like this. When we can as composers, we want to mimic the natural flow of things when we’re trying to create a melody that is beautiful. This one is truly worth studying deeper!
So dive in! Make sure to watch the video while you’re at your piano or keyboard so you can play along with me as I guide you through the lesson. And don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any other YouTube videos lessons… I’m now doing 2 new videos a week, EVERY WEEK!
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, check out ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ 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