AJR — BANG! Piano Sheets

Here is a new song in my piano sheet music archive. The original amateur interpretation of a tune. This sheet music is created in a transformative manner (transcription). Plus music notes in the arrangement doesn't copy any existing material.

Piano Player Ability Rating: Advanced


As I learned, many of you are self-taught piano players and never had a piano class. I try to cover several popular mistakes in piano-playing techniques that we are prone to do.

About the AJR — BANG!

AJR certainly liked to challenge himself when writing!
BANG! is composed in a binary verse-chorus form that consist of two four-bar phrases. Both sections are repeated before a short coda. It's perfect for those with advanced skills.
BANG! score requires arduous effort. I will ad an easier one if this page will be popular.

This song has an unusual rhythm — rubato (swing). This musical term refers to rhythmic freedom in slight speeding up and then slowing down.

The right hand is played one octave lower than written.

AJR presents us with a wide range of dynamics (the sound volume levels). This song follows the traditional model for the pop form. Its rhythmic basis is sustained throughout, so the LH’s principal duty will be to provide a rock-steady footing.

For inexperienced pianists I suggest play only the upper notes in the right hand and only the first note of a bar in the left hand. It will simplify the sheet music.

Common Practical Tips for Pianists

Before touching the piano keys, warm up your fingers and wrists with slow and soft rotating motions and light stretching. Rotate your shoulders and arms.

To begin with, practise hands separately, slowly, and in small pieces of one-two bars.
Practise the harder passages first and do it frequently.

Count out loud to ensure accurate rhythm. By counting I mean the tA-ta-tA-ta, not the old ineffective one-and-two-and.
Accent strong beats and play the first bar of any phrase louder than the last bar.

Make sure to arch your fingers. This is important for the health of your wrists and palms.
Slacking your fingers will overwork them and will cause strain.
Keep relaxed, flexible wrists, hands and arms when playing BANG!.
A flexible wrist allows producing a warm sound.
Both hands should play smoothly (legato) if not indicated the opposite (staccato).

How to Memorize Sheet Music

Start memorizing BANG! from the very beginning. Use the sheet music as a hint and avoid looking at a paper sheet (or a monitor) as long as you can when rehearsing the music piece.

And the last, be artistic, be creative. Take correction fluid and a black pen and add or delete whatever you want in this arrangement.

How to Play AJR — BANG! Sheet Music

Piano Playing Method

Accuracy in articulation are essential for playing BANG! piano sheet music.
Your tone should be melodramatic and rhythmic.
To sound quietly, keep your fingers close to the keys and do some firm practice from the knuckles.

The articulation in this piece is tricky because it alternates between legato and loud staccato.

Accent every note, varying the accents each time you play. Once played lightly and up to speed, the ornament should flow naturally.
It’s worth trying out this technique for the entire song.

Among the hardest facets of piano playing is controlling a lightness of attack, and when coupled with playing at a faster speed, a reliable warm-hearted leggiero touch must rank as among the most prized piano skills.

The patterns in verses can become repetitive if not coloured imaginatively and played with rhythmic stamina. This will create some drama in your performance.

BANG! is speedy. Always keep the hands relaxed, especially with repeated notes, piano keyboard is not lightweight and causes a muscle pain.

Don’t forget to bring dynamic colour to your performance by quickly moving from piano to forte; play every new part with a different volume level:
  • The Opening phrase (bars 1-4) is sprightly and energetic, requiring careful articulation. The RH acciaccaturas should be short and snappy, with the harmony sounding on the beat.
  • The Verses (bars 5-20 & 37-52) demand a different tone-colour. The first verse requires an intimate tone, the second is more energetic. The dialogue between the two hands at this point is crucial. Give the melody in the RH a beautifully graded, warm tone. Use slightly flatter fingers and imagine that you are trying to pull the sound from the keys rather than striking at them. Articulate tenderly. Guard against any urge to over-project and over-state. Think in long lines, not short phrases. Note the dynamic contrasts.
  • Save a full weight and depth of tone for the Choruses. Aim to sculpt the chorus so that it emerges as a thing of real beauty, shapely, nuanced and expressive. Think about the destination of lyrics phrases; remove the hand completely during pauses in singing. Keep the phrases as long as possible. Pedal carefully in this section.
  • At the little Bridge that starts at the bar 71, let the music flourish from the very beginning.
  • The Coda (bar 83 to the end) requires a full tone and a slight cresendo over the final bars — make a sudden rising of dynamics to forte here. It should come as a surprise! End strongly.

Take note of the accent markings (>) in order to make your piano sound more noticeable or prominent; to emphasize the AJR's lyrics.
Notice the crescendo at the bar 25. Take it through to the bar 28, and only begin your diminuendo by gradually playing the passage more softly.

The Right Hand

Start learning the score music with the Right Hand part.

Listen to the actual track BANG! as you begin to learn the arrangement.

The RH here plays a melody (topline) and the LH provides some harmony and rhythm (accompaniment).

Practise slowly at first, giving a distinct emphasis on the topline.

Keep your wrist and hand loose and relaxed as you do this.

Notice how short phrasing is. Put the emphasis on the first note of each phrase.

The verses require a different timbre, a deeper touch and a slight tenuto. Don’t attack the keys.

The Left Hand

After getting familiar with the RH, focus on the LH. Practise the LH alone here to ensure a rich and mellow bass.
This is one of those pieces where the bulk of the practising will be devoted to an accompaniment.

The LH is generally soft throughout. While it might seem counterintuitive to use the left thumb to reach down for single bass notes, it ensures a smooth, decisive downward progression.
When you're playing staccato, you have to imagine the keys are really hot. Imagine your fingers lightly bouncing the ball here.

When playing chords, rotate your hand towards the weaker 4th and 5th fingers.
To voice each chord effectively, give the lower note greater emphasis, tone and shape.
Chord too big for the left hand? Leave out repeated notes or/and transfer the top to your right.
Or arpeggiate the chord.
Get your hand in position for each chord before playing it.
A relaxed wrist will help you to balance chords so that all notes sound at the same time.
In the left-hand’s chords use the forward and backward movement along the axis of the hand. Instead of twisting the left hand to the left to reach the next lower chord in the progression, move your arm closer to the black keys, thus allowing for the hand to remain in a linear, more natural position.
In the left-hand’s accompaniment we can avoid the build-up of tension in these left-hand octave-long wearing movements: instead of using solely your fingers (1st and 5th), rotate the wrist and forearm while keeping the fingers fixed.
In an accompaniment pattern in the chorus you could add an accent on beats 1 and 3.

As you begin to practise both hands together, start slowly before gradually increasing your tempo.
In the last phase of learning a piece the use of a metronome is vital as you will be working on rhythmic partnerships between both hands. Nearly all modern pop music contains a firm beat. Become aware of the underlying 'pulse' and accent where the 'stronger' beat falls but remember that more is less. Avoid over-using your left hand. Aim at simple and clear playing.
Focus on soloing with the right hand without relying on the accompaniment in the left hand. Make every single note that you play to mean something.
In playing any piano transcription of a song, the aim is to give the impression of a singer (the RH) that is being accompanied by a sensitive pianist (the LH). Imagine a duet between a band and a singer, so color the two hands differently. Coordinating the parts may take some time to organise convincingly.


The Song BANG! should sound light, in the tradition of the genre; it will not benefit from being bathed in pedal.
Pedal isn't needed in verses and indicated in the choruses.

More Piano Sheet Music from AJR
Free and easy piano sheet music with direct digital preview of music notes.
All credits go to songwriters. The arrangement in sheet music is transformative.

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