Even though most would recognize indie rock music as being synonymous with guitar, there are some really great songs out there with strings and piano too. We’ve taken a look at some of the biggest and best indie artists out there and compiled a list of the five greatest indie songs that include plenty of strings and piano. Each one of these pieces incorporates one or both of strings and piano elements into it. Read on to find five great ones that we recommend.
Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve
The Verve fit themselves into many different categories over their many years of playing together. Some would consider them rock, while others think of them as grime. Our take on them is that they are an indie rock band based out of England. This song was the lead track on their Urban Hymns studio album which was released in 1997.
What’s interesting about this song is the opening strings section which is iconic to the track. This piece was actually sampled from a Rolling Stones song, ‘The Last Time’. Because of the use of the strings without permission of all of the parties involved in making the song, there was a bitter dispute which The Verve had to fight to keep their monetary rights to Bittersweet Symphony. It all turned out well and the band now have full ownership and credit for their hit number.
Bittersweet Symphony was the bands defining track and music video. The strings at the beginning lead you gently into the track and it’s made of a six part sample. It then goes on to add more and more layers of strings and other instruments which brings the whole song together. It truly is a great indie masterpiece that will go down in history.
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
Let’s come back to today and look at indie legend Lewis Capaldi who is making a huge name for himself all over the world. Many people will recognize Capaldi’s songs for their piano as it’s very much a signature of his indie vibe. The hit song which took the singer songwriter six months to write was penned at his piano. This is what makes it a great indie song for lots of piano playing potential.
The beauty of ‘Someone You Loved’ is its simplicity. There’s a lot of music out there today that has been overproduced. Which is why there’s something to be said for a song that just heavily features vocals and piano. We’re glad that the star didn’t choose to ditch this song off his album (which was something he was considering) and that we’re left with such a great indie hit.
Viva La Vida – Coldplay
Just the first two chords on the strings that open up ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay make the song instantly recognizable. As one of the biggest indie bands out there today, Coldplay nailed the string section with their song and album with the same name. This song was exclusively released on iTunes initially but the song got so much hype and popularity they decided to pen an album after it.
It’s a little known fact that the song is actually an interpretation of King Louis’s lost last speech before he passed away. It was meant to be written from the perspective of King Louis as he apologizes to his nation and accepts his fate in death.
Anyone who is a strings player and a fan of indie music will definitely want to bring up the chords for this one. The progression is striking and really grabs your attention, which is why this song is so great. You dive deeper into piano and strings at free sites such as Chordpresso if this is hitting the right chord with you..
Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis
Oasis, of course, had to appear on this list as the biggest indie rock band of all time from England. The band where known for their inclusion of piano in almost all of their songs as well as their strong chord progressions. The Beatles were a huge influence for this band and their influence is strongly felt in this song. The piano intro was actually taken from Imagine by John Lennon and was built on for use throughout the piece.
The song is very heavy in the key of C but then has a slightly sharp pitch to it thanks to the standard concert tuning involved. Guitar players will often go to Wonderwall as their first indie hit, and for piano players, Don’t Look Back In Anger is definitely the song to choose. The chords are relatively easy, and you can hear Lennon’s influences throughout the piece. You may also be interested in listening to more of Oasis’s back catalogue because piano is something there is lots of in their indie offerings.
Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
Another band that goes hand in hand with the indie moment and lots of piano is Keane. In their hit song ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ the piano is featured heavily throughout the piece. The song was even covered by Lily Allen who used just strings instead of piano, so the music is easily translated onto both instruments.
The song itself describes a secret place where a couple in love can feel truly happily and openly express their feelings when they feel like they’re drifting away from each other. It’s an idea that a lot of people can relate too, and the song writer said he took his influence from Heroes by David Bowie. The bridge of the song is great and it’s a brilliant tune to master on the piano.
It’s rare for a band to release their first song to such rave reviews, but this one was the gem in the crown for the artists. It massively boosted their album sales and made their music popular in both the UK and overseas. Nowadays, the piece is still used in many tv shows and films which shows how timeless it truly is.
So, there you have it – the top five indie rock songs with more piano and strings than you could shake a stick at. Do you have any more songs that feature these heavily? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to share this article with others that wish to explore piano and strings in indie rock music. Happy listening!