Hey Everyone, Jordan here.
It’s time to learn another epic power-ballad of a song, Adele’s ‘Someone Like You.’ This song is about two things: sweeping heartfelt emotion and a flashy piano technique known as the arpeggio. In this lesson we’ll take a look at the four sections that comprise the song, as well as the right hand piano pattern that runs through the whole thing.
First, let’s take a look at the verse. This verse is a four chord loop consisting of the chords:
A - C#m - F#m - D
A fairly simple, common progression. To get acquainted with each chord in this progression, it’s a great idea to practice the chords in all of their inversions. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with each chord, you can move onto the patterns and forms of each chord as they’re played in the song.
So what is that piano pattern that’s played throughout the entirety of the song? If you’ve been practicing your broken triads, you’ll be right at home playing the right hand part of this tune (Need to brush up on those exercises? Check out the members- only Foundations series at Pianote!)
So here’s the pattern-mentality to lock into your right hand. Take that first A major chord and rather than play it solid, play it in a broken pattern starting from the bottom note up, then back down to the bottom. That means you’ll play A - C# - E - C# - A, or bottom - middle - top - middle - bottom.
You can apply this pattern to every chord in this song. Each chord played consists of three separate notes, but this broken chord-arpeggio pattern is what gives the song is driving, consistent rhythm.
The left hand is luckily quite simple, with tied whole-notes creating a slow moving bass part with each note lasting two bars. Those bass notes are:
A - G# - F# - D
Let Adele's piercing gaze guide your hands and eyes as you learn this song.
The prechorus continues this right hand pattern, but with some interesting new chords. Those new chords are:
Eadd9 - F#m7 - D
The first two chords of this progression are a little more elaborate, so let’s break them down note by note. The Eadd9 chord consists of an E in the bass, and the notes F#, G#, E on top in the right hand, again played with that broken style chord progression.
The F#m7 chord is a little simpler, with the bass note moving up to play F# and the right hand changing its middle note from a G# to an A. The progression then ends on a simple D chord, played for two measures.
The chorus is actually quite similar to the verse progression, with a few simple exceptions. In the verse, the chords typically don’t move any higher than the fifth as their top note, but in the chorus they move all the way up to the octave. There’s also a bit of a different progression going on the in left hand as well, so here’s the new chords you have to work with:
A - E - F# - D
Again, very similar but note the E as the second chord. This actually makes the chorus easier than the verse because the left hand directly reflects the root note of the chords!
The bridge is arguably the most complex part at the song, but it’s actually quite simple if you learn how to process each hand’s part. Here’s the chord in the right hand for the bridge:
E - F#m - D - Bm - A - D - E
So these chords in the right hand are quite simple to follow along with this pattern we’ve been looking at throughout the song. The bass pattern is where things get confusing, so just bear in mind these notes as you’re practicing:
B - C# - D - B - C# - D
There’s a bit of work to do in order to sync your hands up solidly here, but that’s what practicing slow is for.
Summing It Up
‘Someone Like You’ is a song that’s really about those right hand broken patterns, so make sure that you’re nice and polished with those hand motions. Take is slow, and listen out for those cool new chords in the prechorus. Have fun practicing!