The piano is a universal instrument. “Universal” because it is not only widely practiced and appreciated throughout the world, but also because it can play almost the entire repertoire of world music, whatever the genre, origin or sonority of the piece.
Therefore, the piano is a magical instrument. But we can ask ourselves this question: in the digital and music 2.0 era, are all styles still suitable and adaptable to the piano? It’s not as obvious as it seems, you’ll see…
Why can you play everything (or almost everything) on the piano?
As we said before, the piano is a universal instrument. It is no coincidence that the piano is recommended for children who want to learn music.
According to experts, the piano is still the most widely practiced and generalised instrument for developing all the qualities required by musical technique. It is also the one that best favours the initiation to the child’s music and the one that best returns the taste for music to an adult.
Because the piano is like the football of music.
Basketball fans may not like this, but let’s face it: wherever we go, wherever we are, football is the one that dominates other sports from afar.
This image of “universal sport” also applies to music. Fashions come and go, styles too. The same goes for instruments. Fashions go, pass and then return. But safe bets don’t go out of style.
And the piano is a safe bet because it is an instrument accessible to everyone (even the youngest who discover music with toy keyboards). Wherever you are or wherever you go, there are pianos, people learning to play the piano, and piano virtuosos. This is one of the magical features of this instrument that surpasses all others.
The piano has its own codes and its own culture
Within this great family, this vast world of music, the piano stands out for its independence. It is like the Vatican, an independent part of the great city of Rome.
The history of the piano marks a first difference for its richness, its comings and goings, and the different ways traveled between the first creation and the contemporary version. On the other hand, weren’t the best composers of music pianists? It’s revealing.
Over time, the piano has become a truly independent musical entity and is not as collective as wind instruments or some percussion instruments.
The only instrument that is as popular is the guitar. They are the most practiced instruments in the world.
Only a few years or decades ago, piano learning was done only with classical music. Today, it is the most “old-fashioned” teachers who follow this type of method.
But with the global return of vintage fashion, there is no doubt that classical music will continue to be a style of reference for playing the piano. And, who knows, it may even become the basis of piano teaching again.
Meanwhile, it maintains its nobility and remains untouchable at the level of exigency.
Popular music, widespread in the 20th century
It’s also obvious. The advantage of popular music is that it is easily adaptable to the piano, whatever the level of the pianist.
By learning piano with this style of music, the student can also diversify his or her piano skills. Popular music, therefore, is an indispensable style to the piano.
Today many types of music emerge, especially with the advent of the Internet, which offers a wide variety to pianists. With popular music, you can maintain the spirit of the original song, while adding a personal touch if you have a certain level.
In recent years, for example, Elton John has become a musical benchmark. And rightly so, when we listen to this style of music.
Movie or TV soundtracks, newcomers
During the 20th and 21st centuries, this musical style has become indispensable, making its forerunners (such as John Williams, the composer of Star Wars) legends of music.
Nine times out of ten, the writing and composition of soundtracks for film or television are made for piano, making it the instrument of reference in this field (also). This style is essential today. There is even a debate about whether to lead the practice of the piano.
What are the less common styles?
Although the styles of music that we have just seen leave no room for doubt, now we are going to talk about those that are not so common. Feasible? Unrealisable?
You’ll see that the saying “whoever follows it gets it” is not always utopian.
Rap and R&B. Taboo styles in piano?
Maybe, when you hear a song a little “street”, you have thought “this is impossible to play with the piano”. Well, it’s a mistake.
You have to keep one thing in mind: most R&B rappers and singers are true music lovers and have a broad musical culture. They often rely on these musical references to create their own sound.
Electronic music: not only noise, but also melody
Electronic music, which first appeared in the 1970s, is often seen as an “antimusical” style, practiced by “non-musicians” who use a computer rather than a real instrument. And yet…
Nowadays we can adapt a piece to the piano, whatever it is. A piece of electronic music can have the same musical structure as a classical piece.
So it’s a touchable style. Most DJs compose their music with real or virtual keyboards (like David Guetta or Kygo). Electronic music is a style of piano that is widely playable on the piano. The trap is not in this style.
The “marginal” styles: the piano exception in the musical panorama?
These are the only styles that cannot be adapted to the piano, and rightly so. If you’ve been to a free party, you know that the music you hear is more noise than real music. It’s an incessant boom boom. And in piano to play a boom boom is complicated.
These styles, like hardtech, trance, minimal techno, are impossible to play on the piano, unlike house or underground.
Even with the best will in the world, perfect learning and a solid experience, it’s simply impossible.
In short, can you play everything with the piano?
Therefore, we can see that the piano, in its universality, allows the musician to explore 90% or even 95% of the global musical universe.
But as in any good experience, there is one exception that confirms the rule. So to the question “Can you play all styles of music on the piano? However, we have to admit that in order to find a style that cannot be played with the piano, we have had to search quite a bit.
Through this question we can see that in order to close as few musical doors as possible, the piano is and will continue to be a very effective and rich instrument.
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