In this In the Midnight Hour Piano Tutorial, I show you the step-by-step process to get this iconic Stax Records song under your fingers. It is so much fun to sing and play!
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The history of In the Midnight Hour
In the Midnight Hour was written by Wilson Pickett, a soul pioneer who cited Little Richard as one of his greatest influences. In the Midnight hour was a huge hit for Wilson Pickett, peaking at #1 on the R&B charts and #21 on the US pop charts. It sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold disk. With this song, Pickett scored his first Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording at the 8th Annual Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. I love this song so much, which is why I made this In the Midnight Hour piano tutorial.
In this piano tutorial, I use my standard protocol for creating great pop piano arrangements. If you want to learn more about this protocol, check out this post.
The first thing I do is find a copy of the lyrics or I just type them up from the recording. I then figure out the chords on a chord website or I just learn them by ear. If you want to learn to play by ear click here for a video I made where I outline how to learn to play by ear
Learn the Chords on Piano
Step #1 Learn the chords. This can be as simple as playing them in root position, or if you are a more experienced pianist, you can find the inversions that sound the best to you and voice lead your way through. This song only has four chords total, so it’s super easy to play!
Play the Groove
Step #2 is to figure out how to play the groove. You can use a simple pattern or more complicated, depending on your level. Remember that you’ll have to sing over this, so don’t make it too hard! In this song, the 1-3-5 bass line with the right hand playing on beats two and four does the trick.
Identify the hook
Step #3 is to identify the hook, bass line or any other aspects that help to bring it to life. Again, you can make this as simple or complicated as your piano chops will allow you. For this song, I think the hook is this iconic bass line!
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