Khalid — Better Sheet Music

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 Khalid — Better Sheet Music

Khalid certainly liked to challenge himself when writing!
Better 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 well-developed skills.
Better score requires arduous effort. I will ad an easier one if this page will be popular.

Khalid 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.

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 Better.
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 Better 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.

In the left hand there are only four chords that are repeated for the whole song. It takes nothing to remember only four chords instead of 100 bars of accompaniment.

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

How to Play Khalid — Better Sheet Music Sheet Music

Piano Playing Method

Accuracy in articulation are essential for playing Better piano sheet music.
Your tone should be warm and gentle.
It should impart the lilting feel of a lullaby. Figuratively speaking, you should communicate a sense of comfort, ease, or pleasantness. 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 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.

Better 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 is sprightly and energetic, requiring careful articulation. The RH acciaccaturas should be short and snappy, with the harmony sounding on the beat.
  • The Verses 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.
  • The Coda (bar 60 to the end) requires a full tone and a slight diminuendo over the final five bars — make a sudden lowering of dynamics to piano here. It should come as a surprise! Die away gradually towards the end. Place the last chord with a soft, emotional sound and a sensitive touch. Shape the bars in order to make a beautiful, yet brief, pianissimo.

Take note of the expression markings in order to make your piano sound more noticeable or prominent; to emphasize the Khalid's lyrics.Begin your diminuendo by gradually playing the passages more softly.

The Right Hand

Start learning the score music with the Right Hand part.

Listen to the actual track Khalid — Better as you begin to learn the arrangement.

The RH here plays a melody (topline) and provides some harmony chords (like in the bar 11). First separate the melody from the accompaniment in the RH. Highlight these accompaniment in order to separate it from the topline in the RH. Play only the upper notes. Practise slowly at first, giving a distinct emphasis on the topline while playing the accompaniment as gently and as evenly as possible. To begin with, play the melody line by itself to develop a confident mastery over the weaker 4th and 5th fingers. Once the RH top line has settled, add the second-voice accompaniment. Because the second voice is played by the stronger fingers in the RH, it can be difficult to keep the right balance of power. Your thumb should do little more than brush the lower note in a small circular movement.

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 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.
The accompaniment in this score changes from chords to riffs.

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.

When playing riffs, start slow and steady. Only as you become more accustomed to the notes and fingerings of the riffs, begin to increase your speed.
Keep the upper notes lighter (those usually played by the “heavy” thumb), and focus on adding color to the lower notes in the left-hand pattern.
Producing a completely smooth and connected tone at the piano (legato playing) in patterns playing is one of the trickiest things to achieve. Avoid being choppy and disconnected to enable expressing the sound to the fullest. Do not solely rely on the pedal for legato, but rather rely on the fingers, to create as much independence in tone, dynamics, expression, etc. between the various textures and voices. Finger pedaling is highly effective as it creates a seamless, smooth, and connected sound. Next time, try using this technique on melodic lines and when you want to keep accompaniment figures more in the background.
The song has rapid scalic passage work combined with a dance-like rhythm.
In passagework watch out the rotation of the wrist with which you assist the fingers. Banging on the keys, twisting, curling or overstretching of the fingers to their maximum limits will lead to micro-injuries and fatigue. Instead of the motion of your fingers, employ the natural rotary movements of both the forearm and the hand. Professional pianists protect their fingers from fatigue this way.

Avoid tension in the wrist and hand (a danger with repeated patterns) by releasing the muscles swiftly.

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.


With excessive and inappropriate use of the pedal, it greatly compromises clarity in the overall tone quality. Think of it this way: the sustain pedal should be used as an aid to playing legato, not as a substitute for our fingers. The Song should sound light, in the tradition of the genre; it will not benefit from being bathed in pedal.

More Piano Sheet Music from Khalid
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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