Piano Man – Billy JoelSteve Ley
Piano Man, Billy Joel's signature song, was the singer's first single and his most popular song of all time. Although the drums appear low in the mix, drummer Ron Tutt plays a very dynamic and creative part. In this post, we will compare three of the beats used in the song and how the placement of the snare changes the feel.
The example above outlines the basic groove elements used in most of the verses and choruses. It is a standard 6/8 groove with a single snare hit on beat 4 each bar.
In between verses, or in between a chorus and a verse, is a short instrumental section referred to as a link (below). The snare is played on beats 3 and 6 in these sections, emphasizing the up-beats.
During the piano solo, the snare is played on beats 2 and 5, with ghost notes added on the ands of beats 3 and 6.
These beats are just a small sample from the full drum part which features massive crescendos, syncopated tom fills, snare rolls and subtle variations throughout.
Recommended For You:Get the full sheet music for Piano Man. Download and print today!