Bon Iver – re: stacks | Tutorial

re: stacks - as I've already mentioned a few times before, is one of my favorite tracks of all times. However bare and simple the recording (crappy even!), the bed of harmonies, supporting that hauntingly gorgeous melody is just so unbelievably strong. Music in its purest form. Beautiful.

So, a few weeks ago, since I was just starting out getting some vocal training I decided to go crazy again and make a cover - tutorial (you know I like to call 'em that because of the clear animation of what I'm playing, right?) of re: stacks.

I got a TON of enthousiastic reactions to that one (thanks so much everyone! Really much appreciated) and a lot of you also seemed to want a "tutorial" - by which you obviously mean a video of me telling exactly what I'm playing, explained in chords and patterns; so maybe I'm wrong to think those cover - tutorials I sometimes make are educational in and of themselves, ah well.. - so that's exactly what I did in the video below.


In this weeks tutorial I’ll show you:

  • Yet again, how to use chord & pattern magic to translate a guitar part to the piano.
  • How avoiding the 3rd by playing "open" chords, results in a more dreamy, airy vibe
  • How in re: stacks Bon Iver uses this approach to make the "home" chord feel even more like home.
  • The juicy and -again- dreamy mysterie of clusters.
  • The might of the "ringing note," changing function on each chord.
  • The beauty of harmonizing an instrumental riff in sixes.

Used Chords image below the vid; full chord sheet and MIDI available for Premium Couturians.

Let me know what you think in the comment box below!

Cheers, Coen.



Bon Iver - re_ stacks-Used Chords

Premium Couturians can find the "Deluxe" version of this lesson, including the following downloads:

  • A handout (.pdf) with all chord pics / sheet used in this tutorial
  • The MIDI file of both rounds played after one another
  • The audio-only file for when you want to learn on the go ("listen to learn" is golden, as Piano Hackers know)

Already a member? Access Deluxe Lesson here. .


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About Coen

Founder of Piano Couture and creator of the Hack the Piano method. Coen is a musician, reader, writer, web-designer, eater and traveler. Find him at

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