What’s better than learning a Beyoncé song from Beyoncé’s pianist? Victoria Theodore has toured with the queen herself, and in this tutorial, she’ll show us how to play “Halo” by Beyoncé with chords on the piano. Get excited! Because this will be a fun one.
The awesome thing about knowing your chords is that you can sound good in a short amount of time. And if you spend a little extra time, you’ll sound even better!
Victoria will teach us how to play the song in its basic form using the four chords that form the song’s base. This will be accessible for piano players of all levels, including beginners.
Then, Victoria will teach us how to make the song more similar to the original by adding ornamentation. More experienced pianists can further make the song their own by substituting their own riffs and fills.
Finally, watch until the end of the video to see us cover the song in full! You’ll see how Victoria “dresses up” the song by adding her own unique ornaments. Use that as inspiration to do the same!
In 2022, we’re launching Coaches, which lets piano students get up close and personal with stage musicians like Victoria Theodore (Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder), Erskine Hawkins (Chrisette Michele, Zendaya), Summer Swee-Singh (Circa Survive, Bebe Rexha), and many more. To get your ticket in, consider becoming a Pianote Member.
“Halo” is built on four basic chords. If you know these chords, you’re well on your way to playing the entire song!
We’re in A Major, which means the sharps to keep track of are: F#, C#, and G#.
If you’re familiar with the number system, you may recognize this progression as:
I – ii – vi – IV
The number system helps us transpose the song to another key if it’s more comfortable to sing. (After all, not everyone can belt like Beyoncé.) If you want to learn more about this, check out our lesson that explains the number system.
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Now that we know our chords, it’s time to make the song sound closer to the original recording.
We’ll play the chords in second inversion to achieve this. Inverting just means switching up the order of notes in the chord stack. You can learn more about inversions here.
Our four chords in second inversion look like this. Notice that the root note (the note the chord is named after) is always in the middle!
At this point, practice by playing the second inversion chords with your right hand and playing octaves with your left.
Finally, let’s add some meat to our chords! Essentially, this means playing the chords broken. In the video, Victoria shows us the passing tones, walk-downs, and other ornaments in between the chords.
If you want to get it down exactly, follow along with Victoria; you can adjust the playback speed in the YouTube video by clicking the settings ⚙️ icon.
The techniques used here are similar to classical piano in the sense that you have to be very precise! So, work on your thumb-tucks and crossovers.
And once you have that…you have “Halo”! 👼
The four chords in “Halo” by Beyoncé are so simple, but you can do so much with them.
As a bonus, watch how Victoria plays during our cover performance for inspiration. Notice how she starts the song with simply playing and holding the chords before gradually building on those notes.
It may sound fancy, but Victoria’s essentially just breaking up the chords and adding fluff notes here and there. And the main riff from Step 3 comes through during the chorus. Experiment with your own fluff notes.
If you want to master ornamentation, check out our Riffs and Fills course pack. Otherwise, we hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have fun practicing!
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