When I Was Your Man Piano Cover
(With Tips on Technique & Video Transcript)
Hi, Jacques here again! In this post I’ll be showing you how I play my When I Was Your Man piano cover. That’s right – it’s time to pay tribute to Bruno Mars with a soulful piano ballad. Not only was this song an almost instant hit, the artist wrote and performed as a piano-focused piece. I think that makes it an ideal song for practicing your own piano skills, don’t you?
This song first came out in 2013, when critics hailed it as a great example of Bruno Mars’s vocal range paired with classic ballad elements. It begins with on a minor chord and progresses down the keyboard for several moments, establishing a melancholy vibe.
Regret is the theme, and everything about this composition plays into that dynamic nicely. The words and husky, pain-tinged vocal stylings are reinforced by a repeated downward progression involving a lot of minor chords.
Quiet is balanced with soulfulness here. Even the momentarily soaring vocals that appear in the bridge are tempered by an immediate drop into a subdue rendition of the chorus. Then in the end, we hear the piano gradually fade out as Bruno’s vocals recede away.
My Take – When I Was Your Man Piano Cover
So here’s how I play my When I Was Your Man piano cover:
Now that you’ve watched the video, what stood out to you about my approach to this song? I hope you noticed there are a lot of very basic playing techniques that I used. So although I do throw in some improv flourishes in along the way, the song as a whole is really quite straightforward!
The intro is simply two basic progressions where I hit each chord once on the beat while using my sustain pedal. Then I move into the steady, relatively slow rhythm of the first verse, still continuing with fairly basic chord arrangements and few accent notes.
I give my playing a bit more emphasis coming in the pre-chorus, building up to a brief but dramatic pause that highlights the first line of the chorus: “I should have bought you flowers”. Returning to the steady rhythm and basic chords, I seamlessly segue into the second verse.
A Note on Musical Manners
As I transition into the bridge, I play slightly more forcefully and without accent notes. The reason for this is that I am matching the building intensity of Bruno’s vocals. That said, I am very carefully to not overpower the lyrics!
When a singer really belts out a particular line or note, it’s simply good manners to let them have their moment to shine. And it’s often much more effective to give them that moment than to compete for it. 🙂
Wrapping up the Song
After another brief pause at the end of the bridge, I return to the same chords that I previously used on the chorus – with one big exception. Did you notice what changed for that last chorus?
If you did catch it, don’t worry, this isn’t a test! I’m just trying to get you in the habit of noticing different techniques as I play. In this case, for the final chorus I moved both hands up an octave (i.e. 8 keys to the left on the keyboard).
Temporarily switching to a higher octave is something that I do in many songs. It adds a bit of variety to the sound of the music and can also really highlight a transition between parts of the song’s structure. Here, I am mirroring the softened tone in Bruno’s voice as he sings those last few lines. Being responsive to lyrics and vocal tone can really help you upgrade from “plunking” to playing. 🙂
So the song is over – now what? Hopefully you are excited to try this song out on your own piano, especially now that you’ve seen how relatively simple this song can be. Don’t procrastinate – pull up the chords over at www.ultimate-guitar.com and get started now!
And one more thing: if you haven’t already downloaded my free 5-day workbook, head on over here to claim your very own copy. Best of luck!
Video Transcript – When I Was Your Man Piano Cover
Hey guys! Jacques Hopkins here, creator of Piano in 21 Days.
In this video I’m going to be playing my version of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars – and old Bruno’s going to be helping me out a little bit. I’m going to be having the a cappella version of his song [playing] in the background.
So if you want to play piano: if you want learn how to play piano very simply [and] quickly, you want learn to play songs like this – stay tuned to the end of the video. I’m going to share with you how you can do that. But for now, here’s “When I Was Your Man”.
Well that was my version of “When I Was Your Man”! Look, if you want to learn how to play piano as quickly and easily as possible, I’ve got a free workbook waiting for you at PianoIn21Days.com.
Just click of the image of the workbook in this video, or you can click the link on the description below.