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In What Musical Genres The Piano Is Used?

The piano plays in 6 main genres, can you name them? If you answered yes, then good job. If you answered no, then let me introduce you to them. The piano is a popular keyboard instrument used worldwide for solo performances, chamber music, and as an aid to composing and rehearsal.


To start things off, we had the blues genre. Blues was a combination of African and western music. Several blues songs told stories of pain; heartbreak and they were sad and slow songs. Others were about being in love, having fun, and these were the fast-tempo blues songs, which were great to dance to. Several blues styles have developed over the years. Some early blues artists include people such as Bukka White, Blind Willie McTell, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. The piano was very common in blues music, some famous blues piano songs include Ain’t no sunshine by Bill Withers, Travelin Blues by Charles, and Albert Ammons’ Boogie Woogie Stomp.



As one of the older genres talked about here, it also is one of the most constrained as far as the role of the piano goes. Blues has a somewhat limited harmonic and formal setting, it generally uses a 12 or 16 bar format. Doing anything too far from that setting wouldn’t be considered authentic blues anymore. However, as the blues genre grew into other forms of music, like rock and jazz, the piano player became more liberated.


The mixture of European Harmony and rhythms as well as some scales of blues was called Jazz. A great example of Jazz music is the famous trumpet player Louis Armstrong. The piano has been a critical part of jazz since it was first coming up. And thanks to its ability to be able to combine its melodic and harmonic abilities, the piano has remained an important part of any jazz band to this date. In teaching jazz theory, a piano is an important tool for it regardless of what instrument the student truly plays. A few piano Jazz songs include "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and "So What" by Miles Davis.


Rhythm and Blues is a genre played with a combination of blues, jazz, as well as gospel. Highlighted by its name, the emphasis is placed on rhythm. The placement of stressed beats carries a strong sense of syncopation. Knowing how to play rhythm and blues piano music will help you master pace and rhythm. Great R&B songs include I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder and Lean On Me by Bill Withers.


Gospel is similar to jazz, blues, or R&B. Such genres are known for placing emphasis on extended chords. Changes to some chords allow unique sounds and emotions to be displayed while playing. I smile by Kirk Franklin, Every praise by Hezekiah Walker are examples of some nice gospel songs.


Classical music is the most varied style; it is one of the oldest and is given credit for the foundation of musical education. Many skills and techniques are required to be able to successfully play classical music; such as understanding piano theory, patience, and a diverse set of skills. Classical music isn’t really for beginners, however, over the past few years, pieces of classical piano music have been created to suit beginners. Beethoven’s Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata are two of the most famous classical piano music.



The roots of country and western music are planted in blues. These styles actually stem from early folk songs. Key aspects of country and western songs include simple chord progressions covered by the melody. Whiskey Lullaby by Alison Krauss, "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson.



As one of the oldest and definitely most popular musical instruments around, the piano can be found in almost every popular musical genre. And even if the piano is not a natural part of a specific genre, it’s still quite versatile to be able to adapt to the genre’s needs.


The piano has 2 main types, the upright pianos, and the grand pianos.

The upright piano also comes in 3 smaller types:

  1. The spinet is the smallest of vertical pianos. They are no longer manufactured and are more often than not difficult to regulate and service.

  2. The console piano is mainly for people who are short on space, though they do sometimes make beautiful furniture pieces. It is perfect for beginner to advanced piano students that are searching for something that can serve as reliable as well as a work of art.

  3. Finally, the studio upright is mostly found in schools and churches, slightly more expensive than the console or a spinet, a studio upright is worth the extra money for gains in action and sound quality.


Then come the Grand pianos which also has 3 different types:

  1. Baby grand is the smallest and most affordable of grand pianos. A good baby grand is an option for advanced and professional pianists.

  2. Medium grand is intermediate size between baby and concert grands, It is most commonly found in conservatories around the world.

  3. Concert grand is the largest of all piano sizes, a well-made concert grand in excellent condition can usually be one of the most pristine and beautiful instruments you will ever hear. They are mainly found in concert halls around the world.



The piano is a very important part of music and its history. It plays a big role in several genres as I have listed earlier. The piano is also quite a hard instrument to play, it does indeed look easy but getting into theory and several other challenging things can prove to be quite challenging.

As you can see in the picture below, to your left you can see a concert grand piano whereas to your right you would be able to see a studio upright piano.


 

Citation:

1. Englishclub.com. 2021. Popular Music Genres | Vocabulary | EnglishClub. [online] Available at: <https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/music-popular.htm> [Accessed 26 March 2021].

2. Pianoplayerworld.com. 2021. Piano Genres And Musical Styles. [online] Available at: <http://pianoplayerworld.com/Piano-Styles.html> [Accessed 26 March 2021].

3. The Music Studio. 2021. The Role of the Piano in Blues, Rock, Jazz, & Classical. [online] Available at: <https://www.themusicstudio.ca/blog/2019/10/1474/> [Accessed 9 April 2021].

4. Beethoven Pianos. 2021. THE 7 MOST COMMON PIANO TYPES — Beethoven Pianos. [online] Available at: <https://www.beethovenpianos.com/blog/the-7-most-common-piano-types> [Accessed 14 April 2021].

5. Youtube.com. 2021. Before you continue to YouTube. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuKfiH0Scao> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

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9. Youtube.com. 2021. Before you continue to YouTube. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mVW8tgGY_w> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

10. Youtube.com. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuzZBDh8U5w> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

2021. [image] Available at: <https://www.libertyparkmusic.com/choosing-between-grand-and-upright-piano/> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

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