It's Halloween and you know what that means: you'll start hearing all of your favorite Halloween songs everywhere you go. This article and its accompanying videos consists of my favorite Halloween Song piano tutorials. Using my simple Piano for Singers method, you'll learn the chords, accompaniment strategies and the hooks to assemble satisfying piano accompaniments. You'll love hosting a Halloween singalong with your party guests!
How to Learn the Halloween Songs
We are going to use my usual song learning technique, which consists of four easy steps.
Here is the most important thing to remember when using the Piano Skills for Singers method:
It's better to play something than nothing.
This means that rather than getting hung up on making the arrangement complicated, the goal is to start simply so you can actually play the song. Every step of this process is fully customizable: if you have less experience focus on getting the basics down first. You can always add to it as your skills improve!
Step #1: Learn the Chords
Start with root position triads to get started, with the left hand playing the bass note and the right hand playing the chord. Experiment with different chord inversions to voice lead the chords more smoothly.
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Step #2: Choose an accompaniment strategy
Having a stock set of accompaniment strategies is the best way to learn songs quickly. Rather than having to start from scratch for every song, you keep a collecting of strategies in your toolkit to work from.
Step #3: Learn the hook
The hook, also known as the riff, is an identifying feature of the song. Think of the guitar line in Led Zepplin's Stairway to Heaven or the bass line in Michael Jackson's Beat It. Both of these hooks identify the song and will make your accompaniment strategy sound more authentic.
Step #4: Put it all together
Every step of the way, you want to make sure you are singing along. Go slowly at first until you can play and sing smoothly. Add new components as you go. Remember, we want you to be able to sing and play ASAP - not have to wait weeks to get it together!
Let's Get Started on the Halloween piano tutorials!!
The Monster Mash: The Original Halloween hit!
The moment that Back to School time is over here in North America, you can bet that the Halloween candy starts showing up on the supermarket shelves. With it comes that Halloween song that we just can’t escape: The Monster Mash.
The Monster Mash was released in 1962 by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and was an instant success. Pickett’s brilliant novelty song gets him into the Top 100 at Halloween time nearly every year.
The Monster Mash only has four chord! Root position triads work great for this song.
This is a typical 1960s Doo-Wop-style groove. Very similar to what you would play on Runaway by Del Shannon.
As always, feel free to adjust the accompaniment to suit your level and style. You can easily simplify or complicate this arrangement to make it work for you.
The Time Warp: Rocky Horror Picture Show
Halloween is always the time to rewatch Rocky Horror Picture Show, perhaps for the hundredth time? The Time Warp is one of the hit songs of what might be the best "B" Movie of all time. Am I right?
Here is the first section of the song, which uses a simple boogie woogie accompaniment strategy in the left hand.
Here is the "let's do the Time Warp" section, where we use a variety of chord inversions to reinforce the melody.
Michael Jackson's Thriller
1982 marked the release of one of the most iconic albums of all time: Thriller. Marking the deepening musical relationship between MJ and legendary producer Quincy Jones, the record also featured Beatle Paul McCartney and rock legend Eddie Van Halen. This song boasted a cameo by fright night host Vincent Price too. So spooky!
This is the iconic opening line, which consists of simple triads in different inversions.
This is the groove with the chord voicings in the right hand.
Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!
Who else saw this in the theater when it first came out? A movie that was scary and hilarious at the same time and featured a star-studded cast, also sported a dang groovy song. Everyone can sing along to this one!
Here is the groove of the song, which consists of only three chords!
This is the hook. The left hand plays the chords and the right hand plays the pattern.
The "I ain't afraid of no ghost" part
David S. Pumpkins
If you are a fell SNL nerd, then you definitely know what this one is all about. If you don't, you need to watch this video. (I've seen it about a million times!)
Yes, I did transcribe this for you. SNL nerds unite! (Now you just need some beat boy skeleton dancers and you're all set.)
Here's the easier version of it.
I hope you enjoyed this Halloween Song Piano Tutorials post. Make sure to share it with a friend!