Nick Cave's Style

Posted by: GreenEyes

Nick Cave's Style - 05/13/09 08:54 PM

Hi,

I'm new to these forums, so here is some background info first: I have been playing piano for about a year now, self-taught, although I had a classical lessons years before that I hated, but which taught me to read music etc. I can play several Nick Cave songs either from sheet music, or from chords (working out the melody by listening to the song and knowing what key it is in).

I am hoping that somebody on the forums who knows Nick Cave's music, especially the way he plays in the Boatman's Call album, will be able to help me out, because I want to be able to play the way Nick Cave plays in The Boatman's Call (or No More Shall We Part and Nocturama). I know that hymns, gospel and the blues influenced a lot of his songs in that album, so I have been studying from hymn and gospel books, but I'm wondering if I should be taking a course - something like Duane Shinn, or Rocket Piano, or Piano Magic, to help me reach Nick's level of playing in that album? If so, which course do you recommend? Or, better yet, are there any techniques that I should add to my piano-playing toolbox, which would give me the Nick Cave sound? For example, left hand fills or right hand patterns for chord progressions that he favours in his playing, which give his playing the unique sound that it has?

Thanks. :-)
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Nick Cave's Style - 05/13/09 09:16 PM

Welcome to the forum, GreenEyes! smile I don't know which course to recommend for you, but I just want to say that I *love* Nick Cave (I even have a "Nick Cave" playlist on iTunes that I created). For piano, I particularly love his soundtrack for "The Assassination of Jesse James..", especially "Song for Bob" and "What must be done." I have googled all over for the sheet music for those pieces, to no avail. frown

I'm thinking your best bet to learn the Nick Cave sound is to listen to his albums over and over again and try to pick it out by ear... to that end, maybe Piano Magic would be a good start, although Piano Magic is going to recommend you starting out (a) in the key of C, and (b) doing exercises on simple melodies to begin with.

....hmmm... maybe the BEST way to get to that style would be to find a teacher, or professional musician, who would be willing to coach you in it. Finding such a person could take a while, though.
Posted by: GreenEyes

Re: Nick Cave's Style - 05/13/09 09:50 PM

Hi Monica K.,

Thanks for replying. I love the Jessie James soundtrack, too, and The Rider song from The Proposition film is also beautiful. Regarding "What Must Be Done", I'm pretty sure that the chords are: Cm, Eb, Bb, Fm. If you play them all through first slowly as right-hand 3rd and 5th together followed by root note, you'll definitely hear What Must Be Done. The melody is in the chords. (I'm still working it out, but I've got something that sounds very close. I haven't written it down yet, though.) Let me know if this helps. :-)

I have bee doing what you've recommended - listening over and over again. The bits that I can't work out by using this method are the little runs and fills that he throws in. I'm starting to think that finding a real teacher who likes Nick Cave might be the way to go... (I'll probably have to go through all the music teacher listings in the Yellow Pages to find one teacher who will live three hours away.)

Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Nick Cave's Style - 05/19/09 11:53 AM

If I had an improvising bone in my body, your post would help me a great deal! grin Alas, I am virtually incapable of playing by ear, which is frustrating on a piece like "What must be done" where I know I'd be able to play it if I had the sheet music for it.

If you end up writing a transcription for it, shoot me a PM. I'd gladly buy a copy from you. smile