How to Play Clocks on Piano – Simple Ways

Photo of author

By admin


Clocks is a song written and sung by the British rock band Coldplay. This song is found in their second album “A Rush of Blood to the Head”. It’s quite popular amongst piano players because the song is built around a piano riff.

If you attend a piano class and you have been learning and practising your solid, broken, and inverted triads but you can’t seem to see where they can be applied in an actual song. Then Coldplay’s clock is a perfect example that illustrates how piano exercises and theory can be converted into something beautiful, it just requires that you know your way around a few easy chords. If you have been looking forward to playing an actual or popular song using your piano then in today’s blog post, I’ll be teaching you how to play clocks on the piano.

How to play clocks on piano

What’s the key signature of the song?

The song clocks is written using the Eb major key. It’s one way to look at it since the tonal centre of the song is centred around the Eb major. The song has a single accidental note and you’ll have to put that into consideration when learning to play the song. The accidental note in this song is Db. Hence, in order to play this song, you’ll be needing four black keys which are: Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db.

The main progression of the song

For the main progression, the song uses 3 chords which consist of Eb, Bb minor, and F minor. You can try acquainting yourself with only the solid version of the triad in the inversions where they can be found. The inversions I’m referring to are Eb in the first inversion (G – Bb – Eb) Bb minor and in the second inversions we have (F – Bb – Db), while F minor lies in the root position (F – Ab – C).

The Riff of the song

What makes this song so special or a classic is the riff that was used to start the song and punctuate each chorus. The riff may seem difficult at first but when you finally get the hang of it, playing it becomes so easy. 

To play the riff, play the 3 chords in the inversions I mentioned earlier in a broken triad order. Play them in this particular order: top – middle – bottom – top – middle – bottom – top – middle.

Naturally, the chords are supposed to follow that movement but then you’ll have to consider the rhythm of how each note is played that’s why to properly play the song you should ensure that you have got the metronome going while practising. 

The verse melody of the song

In order to perfectly create an instrumental arrangement of this song, you’ll have to take into consideration what the vocal melody part of the song is doing in the verses. You can easily do this by using any of the same notes as the riff. Do not forget to include the accidental note when practising this part of the song.

The bridge of the song 

The same chord is used throughout the song until it gets to the bridge. The bridge is the only section of the song that makes use of different chords. The chords switch to Gb, Db, and Ab. This is the part of the song where you can be most creative and that’s as a result of the guitar-driven nature of the bridge.

For the bridge, all that’s required of you is to continuously pedal the Db note in an 8th note rhythm, swapping from a C so as to reflect the Ab chord change, which actually mimics the guitar part, awesome right?

The reprised riff

The song now ends with a reprised version of the riff but with slightly different notes. For the reprised riff, rather than playing the triad notes, you’ll play two consistent anchor notes instead. The anchor notes are (Ab – G) using your bottom note which reflects the chord change. This simply means that while you’ll be playing Eb using your left hand, as usual, the notes you’ll be playing become Ab, G, Eb. When switching to the Bb minor, the only change that will occur would be to switch the bottom note and that’s swapping Eb, for Db. To reflect the F minor chord using your right hand, swap Db for C.

There you have it! That’s how to play the song on the piano. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it on the first trial remember practice makes perfect. When you eventually get the hang of it, it’ll be loads of fun to play along with the song and even around your friends.