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EKS Songbook Level One  Sunset – Reggae

Songbook Level One

Understanding the chart

Download and print out the score, so that you can refer to it as you follow the keyboard chart.


Go through the chart, step by step, looking at each section and understanding what the chart is asking you to do.

Step One

The first thing you will see is the name of the tune, ‘Sunset’, and the name of the composer. The title is the important one as, if you had a number of songs to play, it is essential that you play the correct one!

Step Two

At the top left hand side, before the tune starts, you will see the note '4 Clicks'. This means that you will hear four clicks before the tune starts. This will help count you into the song.

Step Three

Next is the time signature, ‘C’, which is the sign for common time, and means there are four beats in each bar. This is familiar territory for you.

Step Four

Now, have a look at the structure of the tune and what you have to play.

The beginning of the tune is a four bar Introduction in which you only need to play two note chords, in the treble clef, with the right hand. There is a whole note rhythm in the first bar, and the second bar follows the rest of the band with a quarter note, two eight notes and a half note. Make sure you play these chords tightly with the rest of the band.

Step Five

The next section, the Vamp, is denoted by the double bar lines at the end of bar 4. A vamp is where the rhythm and groove of the tune is laid down before any melody is brought in. It settles the listener into the feel of the song. You will see that there are simple, whole note, chords for three bars. There is a variation in the fourth bar (bar 8), which you need to be aware of.

Bar 8 moves from the Vamp into the first Verse. Triads are used here , before the last eighth note: which is a single note. This is because you are going to play a very simple melody in the Verses of this tune. This eighth note is the first note of the tune, and it picks up the melody into bar 9.

Step Six

Now take a good look at the Verse, which has a seven bar pattern. In the first three bars you play a little melody in the right hand, supported with two note, whole note, chords in the left.

In the fourth bar (bar 12), there is a repetition of the pick-up bar from the Vamp that takes you into the melody again, at bar 13, for a further three bars.

Step Seven

The Chorus is very rhythmical. You play mixtures of quarter note and eighth note triads for eight bars.

Step Eight

Have a look at the structure of the tune so far. You will see that you now repeat the Vamp, for four bars, and then play the seven bar Verse again. You go on to play the Chorus again, repeating the sequence: Vamp-Verse-Chorus.

Note, however, that the Chorus is only four bars long this time.

Step Nine

The middle section of the tune is called a Middle Eight, and is a very common feature of popular songs. It is called a middle eight because it is often in the middle of the song, and is eight bars long. However, middle eights can, on occasions, be of varying lengths!

The Middle Eight section is a mixture of rhythm and melody, as you play a single note rhythmic melody throughout this section. This section has what is called a Dance Hall feel, and provides a dynamic change to the tune. This section has energy and excitement — you need to try and get that into your playing through this section.

Step Ten

The excitement of the Dance Hall section moves into a breakdown section, where there is a brief Vamp for four bars. Note that the melody finishes on the first note ot the first bar of the Vamp; which is held for one bar. This section, where there are fewer instruments playing, has the effect of settling the track down before it moves into the next section. It also creates a bridge between two sections of the song which have very different dynamics.

Step Eleven

The song continues, following the structure of four bars Vamp, then Verse and Chorus. The song then finishes with a triad in bar 70, and the usual ‘Fine’ to denote the end of the song.

Step Twelve

Now, watch and listen to the multimedia files, and follow the chart through a couple of times. Once you have done that, have a go yourself. You can play with the keyboard player, or mute the keyboard track so that you can play with the band on your own.

Remember to:

  1. Concentrate.
  2. Count.
  3. Look at the chart as you play.
  4. Cycle the difficult bits and practise them.
  5. Slow it down to a tempo at which you can read and play.
  6. Have fun.

Next: Sunset keyboard score