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How to Play “Let It Be” by The Beatles

Jordan Leibel  /  Beginner Songs / Dec 15

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If you’re just starting to learn how to play piano, choose “Let It Be” as a song to start with.

The Beatles are masters at writing awesome songs with simple yet effective piano parts. “Let It Be” is one of the most well-known Beatles tunes and it uses one of the most popular chord progressions in all of music history!

So, by learning “Let It Be,” you’re also learning the key ingredients that make up countless other songs. It’s an excellent song to get you familiar with playing piano, and it’ll take you farther.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at these key moments of the iconic track:

  1. Main Chords
  2. Chorus
  3. Chorus Riff
  4. How to Practice “Let It Be”
Black and white image of Paul, George, and John performing.
The Beatles have become icons thanks to simple yet proven songwriting methods. (Source: Omroepvereniging VARA, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Main Chords

This song was written in the key of C major, making it an ideal beginner song. There are no black keys that you have to worry about. The verse chords are:

C – G – Am – F

C – G – F – C

That’s it! You can either look at these chords as they’re written above, or see them as numerical values.

If “numerical value” sounds confusing, don’t worry. It’s as easy as counting up each tone in the major scale. C would be I (the first note of the C major scale), and G would be V (the fifth note of the C major scale.

So you can look at these chords like this:

I – V – vi – IV

The advantage of using numbers is that you aren’t locked into a specific key.

So, if you want to play “Let It Be” in D major, all you have to do is substitute in the I chord of D major (D-F#-A) in place of the C major I chord.

🔥🎹 HOT TIP! You can learn more about the numerical chording system by checking out our free lesson on Roman numeral notation, also known as the Nashville Numbering System. It sounds boring, but it can be incredibly useful for transposition.

The Chorus

The chorus for this song takes those same chords and changes the order slightly.  The chorus progression is:

Am – G – F – C

C – G – F – C

Or, in numerical form:

vi – V – IV – I

I – V – IV – I

Rhythmically, the chorus is locked down by a consistent quarter-note pulse. This means: get your metronome out and practice at a few tempos to get comfortable!

While you’re at it, why not experiment with other inversions of these chords? The chord progressions in this song are so popular, you might just discover some new tunes hidden within them!

That Final Chorus Riff

The final moments of ‘Let It Be’ conclude with a big descending motion, with triumphant organs and bombastic chords.

John, Paul, George, and Ringo waving on the airport tarmac with a crowd behind them.
The Beatles changed music history when they landed at Kennedy Airport from the UK. Beatlemania had arrived! (Source: United Press International, photographer unknown via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a pretty huge sounding moment, but it’s a lot simpler than it might sound on first listen.

Have you been keeping up with your chord inversion exercises? They’ll come in handy for a part like this. Here are the chords:

F – C – F – C – G – F – C – F – C

What makes this section really sing are those chord inversions. Notice how as the keyboard pattern descends, it plays the same chords but in lower inversions.

So, even though there are only three chords in this section, the motions created by the chord inversions give the progression melodic movement.

Practicing “Let It Be” on the Piano

Practice ‘Let It Be’ in its default key.

Then, rework it into another key if you want to further develop your keyboard knowledge. This is called transposition.

Try F or G major first because they only have one flat and one sharp, respectively. Then, try D major (two sharps) or A major (3 sharps) if you really want to build awareness of the black keys.

This timeless song uses timeless chord progressions, so any way you choose to attack it will benefit your abilities as a musician. Don’t forget to keep your ears open as you practice! With a chord progression like this, you never know what you’ll end up hearing!

Want to learn more songs by The Beatles? Check out our “Hey Jude” piano tutorial!


Jordan Leibel is passionate about songwriting, improvisation, and helping you become a creative musician! He’s worked as a composer for film, commercial, and theatre projects as well as a session musician and producer for recording work.

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