“Skyfall” (Adele) – James Bond Theme Piano Tutorial

Kevin Castro  /  Film Scores  /  UPDATED Jan 12, 2023

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The James Bond films have some of the most iconic theme songs of all time. In this lesson, Kevin Castro teaches you how to play Adele’s “Skyall,” the James Bond theme on piano from the 2012 film starring Daniel Craig.

We have the full sheet music available in the Members Area of Pianote. If you’re not a Member yet, here’s a seven-day free trial just for you!

  1. Intro and Verse
  2. Instrumental and Bridge
  3. Chorus and Ending

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Skyfall Intro and Verse

This song is so epic because it’s instantly recognizable from the intro.

We’ll open with a majestic Cmadd9 chord, then hop into the main theme on the piano. The right hand chords are quite simple, but the left hand dotted rhythm can be tricky to sync up with. Writing out the counting and breaking it down into eighth notes and sixteenth notes can help. So might drawing lines to align the notes.

Breakdown of counting into 1 e + a 2 e + a... on the sheet music of James Bond theme on piano "Skyfall."

The verse is very similar to the intro. We’ll play a similar pattern under the vocals, but the right hand chords change a bit. A few extra notes are added, and these notes evoke that iconic James Bond sound. Pretty clever songwriting!

Once you practice this section, try playing it with the backing track. Your chords will sound incredible against the orchestra.

Instrumental and Bridge

The instrumental section has some large and majestic chords. You can roll into the chords if they’re too tricky for small hands. There’s also a nice little wink to the iconic James Bond theme. 

More big chords will greet you in the Bridge. Some of these slash chords may sound tense and crunchy because we’re playing notes in the bass that fall outside the chords. But don’t worry—the dissonance will resolve!

Chords Review! 📝

If you need a refresher, here are what chord symbols mean in a nutshell:

  • “Add” Chords (ie. Cmadd9): Add the ninth note from the root to the existing chord stack
  • “Sus” Chords (ie. Gsus4):Replace the middle note of the G major triad with the fourth note from the root
  • Slash chords (ie. Cm/D): Play a Cm chord with your right hand and play D in the bass with your left
  • Dominant 9th chords (ie. F9): Add the ninth note from the root to the existing dominant 7th chord stack

Chorus and Ending

The chorus may look a tad complex, but don’t worry—all it is is breaking up the chords. The added eighth notes may even make synchronizing the left and right hands easier. 

On the last Cmadd9 chord, we recommend adding your own creative flourish by improvising over it! If you’re new to improvising, just take the notes in Cmadd9 and play them in whichever order or octave you’d like. Have fun with it. There are no right or wrong answers!

Again, we recommend playing along with the Adele track to get your playing up to speed. Pianote Members can also use the Practice-Along feature in the Members Area. Have fun playing this James Bond theme on piano!

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Kevin Castro is a graduate of the prestigious MacEwan University with a degree in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music, and is the Musical Director and touring pianist for JUNO-winning Canadian pop star, JESSIA. As your instructor at Pianote, Kevin is able to break down seemingly complex and intimidating musical concepts into understandable and approachable skills that you can not only learn, but start applying in your own playing. Learn more about Kevin here.

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