A Hard Day’s Night (from The Improvising Pianist’s Ultimate Guide to The Beatles)

A Guide To Help You Have More Fun At Your Piano

Ron Drotos

History and overview:
“A Hard Day’s Night” is a classic “Early Beatles” rocker. Recorded in April 1964, it’s difficult for us now to imagine how new and fresh this music sounded at the time. The Beatles, took the vocal sound of The Everly Brothers, put it over Chuck Berry-inspired beats, and added a harmonic palette that was influenced by the great songs of Cole Porter and George Gershwin and went way beyond what most American popular groups were using at the time. And of course they brought a unique British sensibility to everything they did as well!

Here are some recommended recordings/videos:
(for international readers who may not have access to these YouTube links, I’ve indicated the original album names wherever possible so you can listen to them on music streaming services, etc.)

A Hard Day’s Night (Remastered 2015)

The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night

A live performance video.

Glee – A Hard Day’s Night (lyrics)

The TV show “Glee” has introduced many classic songs to a new generation of listeners.

Musical ideas and piano improv practice tips:
For a straight-ahead rocker like “A Hard Day’s Night,” don’t worry about the “correct” way to play it. (There is no “correct” way!) Just use whatever techniques you already know and plunge in. The rhythm and overall sound are much more important than the details.

If you want, you play Paul McCartney’s bass line with your left hand. You can learn it either from the sheet music or “by ear.” Or, you can listen to the Beatles recording and play an approximation of Paul’s bass line. Another approach is to play a boogie woogie LH pattern. You can also get away with simply playing octaves. It all works, and a lot depends on how much energy and confidence you exude. That’s a big part of rock and roll!

You can see and hear a piano arrangement here:
A Hard Day’s Night: Complete Beatles Piano #13

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

Further links and resources:
A Hard Day’s Night: The Beatles Bible

A great Paul McCartney quote

Are The Beatles the new “folk music”?

Discovering our hidden musical potential

Take a Free Piano Improv Lesson

Flowing Water ebook: Play piano with more joy and less stress!

Improvising The Beatles: A 10-week Skype Intensive for Pianists

Introduction            Table of Contents

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