How to play Empire State of Mind (Part II) by Alicia Keys

Uploaded by mariocast on 21.04.2010

(Empire State of Mind Part II Broken Down by Alicia Keys playing through Yamaha Mark IV Disklavier Piano)
Hi. Welcome to the Piano Podcast. I'm Mario Ajero.
On today's episode, I'm going to teach you how to play the first page and chords for
Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down by Alicia Keys
If you want to buy the sheet music for Empire State of Mind, you can go to my blog at
Scroll down on the right-hand side
and you'll find
a section where you can buy sheet music here
The first link here is Empire State of Mind
Part II by Alicia Keys. You click on that
it'll take you to where you can
preview the first page of Empire State of Mind
as well as purchase the music here. You can even transpose it to various keys here but I'm going to
be teaching at in the original key that it was recorded in
G-flat major
Now don't get too intimidated by the key signature of G-flat major here.
G-flat major actually has
six flats in it there but there's only seven possible different keys that you have, so...
the way that you want
approach the sheet music is just assume that
is made flat except for
all the F's
on both the treble clef
and the bass clef staves.
Basically three different chords that Alicia Keys uses in
this piece, at least on the first page here and I'm gonna show you all three here
the main chord or the tonic chord is the G-flat Major triad here, let me show that to you first
G-flat major in the right hand, the way that she plays it is in the first inversion
spelled B-flat
D-flat, and G-flat.
you noticed that I played it with the 3 fingers: 1...2...and 5 there.
Now to make that a full G-flat major
chord or harmony in the left hand she usually supplies a bass note of
G flat underneath that
you play in this octave here sometimes
and then you play it together
and that makes your G flat Major triad
Another chord that she uses is the C flat
major seventh chord here
C flat Major 7th chord
You'll be happy to know that if you compare it to the G-flat Major chord that you
just played second ago
there's only one note difference here in right hand. The right hand keeps the B-flat, keeps the G-flat
but the D flat in the middle switches to E flat
and I play that with one three and five here
How is that at C flat major 7th chord? Well it's not yet here because we haven't involved the left hand
yet here this is just an E flat minor triad in second inversion here
Now to make that a full C flat Major 7th here
I need to add a C flat in the bass here. And I usually play it
in this octave here
Remember C flat
is the exact same enharmonic equivalent to B-natural.
We have our own nerdy theoretical reasons for doing so here but then when you put that together with the notes
that I just showed a second ago in the right hand
there's your C flat Major 7th chord.
It's a nice voicing that she's put together here, distributing it between both the left hand and right hand.
So again, here's the G flat Major chord
And here's the C flat Major 7th chord
One more time, G flat
C flat Major 7th
now occasionally she also uses a D flat major
triad here and the way I do that here
first is in the right hand she spells it
A flat, D flat, and F here
That's actually a D flat Major triad in 2nd inversion with an A flat on the bottom
In order to make it a D flat major with a D flat in the bass, get rid of the slash A flat, we usually need to have the
D-flat in the left hand here
I usually play it with this octave, although I think in a couple places in the piece she also uses the lower octave.
So here's your D flat Major triad
She uses it sparingly in the first page there but uses it a lot more in places like the chorus.
so to wrap up here your 3 chords that you mostly use on that first page is G flat
C flat major 7th
and then the D flat Major chord a couple times
So let's apply those 3 chords in
the sheet music from here
so if you look at the
preview of the first page here
we get started off with all three chords right off the bat right from the very
beginning here okay
you just won't see the flats in front of them. Just remember everything is made flat
except for
the F's unless stated the otherwise here
Look at the bass line first of all. You'll notice those three notes that we talked about
in the left hand: C flat, C flat, D flat
and then G flat here. I would start that
C flat first with the second finger like this here
and then the D flat with the thumb and then G flat
with the fifth finger. So it should go
like this here
That's the way I would start the left hand here the right hand plays the respective chords
along with those
particular roots
C flat
Major 7th
Another C flat Major 7th, then a D flat Major chord
and then back to
G flat Major
So that's the pickup to the beginning that goes like this
One alternate fingering that you might want to explore here for particularly those of you with bigger hands
might be for that D flat major chord
You might want to use 1 2 4
that makes going back and forth from here
to there a little bit easier and you don't have to move the hand so much. Let me show that to you
one more time with the 1 2 4 fingering in the D flat Major chord
Now look at this part here over here we have the G flat major chord and it's played repeatedly
in this syncopated rhythm
It goes 1, 2 &, notice the little ties here.
that means you don't play the second note of the tie but you hold it
for the combined value of both notes there so
you're always playing on the downbeat for 1 and 2
but then on the and of 2 then you play on there
and then you play on the and of three and the and of 4 and then come back in on the downbeat
on the next measure and that's kind of
the recurring rhythm here
for the right hand here so let me show you how the right hand goes. If you count it 1 2 3 4
1 2& 3& 4& 1& 2& 3& 4&
Try playing that along with me
1 2 here we go
And then you do
the same thing here
in the 2nd part here we have the C flat major 7th chord
it's the exact same rhythms from before like this...2 3 4
Back to G flat
C flat Major 7th
Now in this section of the piece here
Watch out how the syncopations line up here. You have to play the C flat two times just like you did before
at the beginning of the piece
The only trick here is that you don't play the C flat Major 7th twice
along with it. You just play it for the first one
and tie it together like that there
and then that of course leads into the G flat
major chord there. Let me start here from
where she says
Ooo...New York...
on the C flat Major 7th
That's probably trickiest part of the first page there but then
if you look on here
on the very last line here
we're back to the G flat Major chord
that's pretty much all there is for every time you have the verses here
it's just those three chords. The G flat
The C flat Major 7th
and then the D flat Major chord used kind of like a passing tone
One of the neat fun little runs or
fills that
Alicia Keys does between verses goes like this
Now you might recognize the
tail end of the bassline going
that's exactly the same thing or the same way that the
piece actually started here
the right hand is actually not as hard as it sounds or looks here all it is
what we call an arpeggiated G flat Major
harmony here
takes the 3 notes from the G flat Major triad: G flat, B flat, and D flat
and she just basically does
an arpeggiated run going down on it here
starting first with B flat and G flat, then goes down
to the D flat in between and then goes
to the B flat
and that's your first grouping like this... The next grouping starts on
D flat and just goes
down the triad like this
the first grouping goes like this
second grouping goes like this, and then the 3rd grouping starts on B flat
and goes like this.
So all three go like this
I usually these three fingers one two and three here except for the top
G flat here like this
Practice that a few times with stopping
at the end of each grouping like this
And once you got that down then do that without the break in between and play it with straight 16th notes like this
and then what you tack on to that is
The C flat Major 7th chord
two times
with a D flat and then leading to the G flat Major chord
She uses a slightly different voicing here
but the same notes nonetheless
altogether it goes like this
remember if you want to buy the sheet music for
Empire State of Mind (Part II)
just go to my web site/blog at
scroll down on the right-hand side
and then you'll find a link to buy sheet music, various types of sheet music including
Empire State of Mind (Part II) by Alicia Keys
any music that you buy from those links
I do you receive a small commission so I do appreciate your support
thanks a lot
and keep on practicing. Bye.
(Empire State of Mind Part II Broken Down by Alicia Keys playing through Yamaha Mark IV Disklavier Piano)