In this piano tutorial, I am going to teach you how to play No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley. I will teach you how to sing and play this amazing song on piano, complete with chords and an amazing sounding reggae accompaniment strategy!
Lyrics and chords chart for No Woman No Cry
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No Woman, No Cry is the iconic song written by Jamaican Reggae pioneer Bob Marley. Ranked as number 37 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, this song introduced reggae as an art form to many of us.
Even though Marley wrote the song, he gave writing credits to his friend Vincent Ford. Ford ran a soup kitchen in the Kingston ghetto neighborhood called Trenchtown, which he references in the song. The royalty payments Ford received from the success of the song enabled him to continue his charitable efforts.
When researching this song for the tutorial, I discovered that the lyrics to this song are often misunderstood. “No Woman, No Cry” means “Woman, don’t cry” in Jamaican Patois NOT “if you don’t have a women, you won’t ever cry.” It really changes the meaning of the whole song, doesn’t it?
In this tutorial, we follow the usual four step protocol for learning to sing and play songs.
Step #1: Learn the chords
Step #2: Learn the chording strategy
Step #3: Learn the groove
Step #4: Put it all together.
Song learning protocol
Step #1: Piano Chords for No Woman No Cry
Learn the chords (see lyrics and chords on the next two pages). The song was recorded by Percy Sledge and Michael Bolton in the key of Db, but for ease of playing we will do it transposed down a half step to C. (You’re welcome!)
Lyrics and chords to No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley
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Step #3: No Woman No Cry Accompaniment Strategy
No Woman No Cry is in a reggae groove, so here is a great way to play that groove on piano.
Step #4: Put it all together! Sing and play No Woman No Cry
Remember that you can (and should!) customize this to fit your skill level. If the chord inversions are too challenging for you, then play them all root positiong. If you want to level it up, try altering the groove or adding some solo fills.
Try to avoid getting stuck in the little details! The goal is for you to learn to sing and play more songs - not drown in a pool of perfectionism. Have fun - it’s only music!
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