Harry Styles “Falling” Piano Tutorial & Lead Sheet

Lisa Witt  /  Song Tutorials / Mar 6

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With a beautiful piano intro, “Falling” is an emotional ballad by Harry Styles. A moving piano riff introduces the song. It’s iconic and it’s actually quite simple to play. Get out your tissues, because this one’s a tearjerker!

This song uses just four main chords. Once you get the basics down, you can play as simply or as complex as you want. Which makes “Falling” perfect for beginners just learning how to play piano.


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The Chords

The easiest way to learn this song is to familiarize yourself with the four chords it’s based on: E Major, C Sharp Minor, B Major, and A Major. There is also a chord variation, B/G#.

Here’s what these chords look like on the piano:

Keyboard diagram for E Major chord with E-G#-B keys highlighted and labelled.
Keyboard diagram for C# Minor chord with C#-E-G keys highlighted and labelled.
Keyboard diagram for B Major chord with B-D#-F# keys highlighted and labelled.
Keyboard diagram for A Major chord with A-C#-E keys highlighted and labelled.

You may have noticed there is one more chord on the lead sheet, B/G#. This is a slash chord, which means we play a normal B Major chord on our right hand and the note after the slash (G#) on our left hand.

Keyboard diagram for B/G# Major chord with G# and B-D#-F# keys highlighted and labelled.

The 1-5-6-4 Progression

If you know chord theory, you may have picked up on something interesting: “Falling” uses a version of the classic 1-5-6-4 progression.

This progression is found in pop songs all over the place. What 1-5-6-4 means is we use chords built on the first, fifth, sixth, and fourth notes of the E Major scale. If you’re unfamiliar with the Number System, that’s another handy chording thing you may want to check out after this tutorial.

“Falling” doesn’t follow the 1-5-6-4 progression to an exact tee, but we use the same chords, just in a different order.

“Falling” Piano Intro Riff

The riff that makes this song so iconic only contains three notes: G#, F#, and E.

If you find the rhythm challenging, I find that it helps to play along with the recording.

Piano intro to "Falling" by Harry Styles - sheet music.

Play the root note of each chord (E > C# > B > G# > A) with your left hand while you play the riff. You can play single notes in the bass, but to give it some extra emotional oomph, try octaves if you can reach them.

During the verse and chorus, just play simple chords with the melody. Singers who want to sound close to the original recording can play simple chords as they sing — this will work best. If you don’t want to sing, play the lead sheet melody with your right hand and chords to accompany it on your left.

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the song, experiment with inversions!

Lucky for you, the chord progression doesn’t change throughout the intro, verse, and chorus. It only changes when we get to…

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The Bridge

The order of the chords change in the bridge, but the chords themselves do not.

And really, all we have to do is add an extra A Major chord for a measure before going back to the same pattern.

The bridge of "Falling" in piano sheet music.

And honestly, that’s about it!

Play “Falling” on the piano your way

The awesome thing I love about pop songs is there is an infinite way to play one song.

You can play “Falling” on the piano as simply or as complex as you like.

One idea is to play the intro riff under the chorus while singing. (Not easy!)

Experiment with chord inversions, add in your own riffs and fills, and really make this song your own.

And if you want to keep it sparse and simple, that’s totally okay too. That’s the way Harry does it, after all. Not all music needs to be complex to sound beautiful.

Don’t forget to download the free lead sheet, and happy practicing!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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