Paradise - Coldplay



This version (possibly pretty much the closest you can get to the original) of the mighty song 'Paradise" by Coldplay implies a wide array of different techniques and (theoretic) skills all found in the course.

Note that the version of this tutorial is quite advanced, but in this lesson I'll also give you some tips for simplifying the song to your own wants.

Because of the level of difficulty, analyzing and practicing / playing this song will be the complete lesson in itself for this week.

Don't forget to start with our regular preparation warmup exercises (scale and inversions) for getting used to the key (F) and the chords.

Then starting from the top (first the whole thing is played to show the possible end result, the actual tutorial starts at 3:00):

The intro is a simulation of the synthesizer-string part, that opens the song. This is a very good example of how you can copy certain parts played by other instruments (just like we did with the 'guitar simulation' in 'I'm yours') and 'translate' it to the piano, when playing a solo version like this. (a more extensive article about this subject next week).

Techniques that are used to accompany the melody are:

- Left hand plays chords (three note voicings)

- 'Filling the harmony' or 'harmonizing' the melody with the right hand. This is done by also playing the 'other two notes of the chord' apart from the one that is the melody (melody almost always is a chord note). This technique is very useful for 'filling up' your piano part or 'adding body'.
When using this technique, make sure the melody note is on top of the chord by choosing the right inversion. Because this is the note that 'stands out' in our hearing and thus we 'experience' this top note as being the melody, it is important to choose your inversion carefully. So while playing the melody, try striking the whole chord every time a new harmony (chord) has to be played. While this chord is the harmony, you can keep the fingers that are not playing the melody on the 'other' notes of the chord and either 'hold' them (keep 'em pressed down) or just play them every now and then to 'harmonize' your melody. Take a close look at how I sometimes strike not only the new melody note, but also strike one or two notes of the underlying chord again at the same time.

Last but not least, the C chord, is being played with a major-filled, four note voicing both left and right. Practice four note voicings!


Ok so that's the hard stuff. Now, if you want to make it easier, you could:

- In stead of playing the chords in the left hand, just play the root of each chord.
- In stead of 'harmonizing' with your right hand, just play the single note melody (either with the chords in the left hand, or with just the roots of the chords).

If the whole thing is too hard, start with one (or all) of the above. If you have it (e.g. you can play that), make it more difficult by adding more notes from my version.

The bombastic part. The thing that's quite hard to play (you'll hear me mess it up one or two times too), is playing the bass line in octaves with your left hand. Practice this separately first, if you want to learn it.

Otherwise you could simplify this part, by playing single notes in stead of octaves in the bass (left hand).

The '6' on the Bb (making this voicing with your right hand the same as it is on Gm) is extracted from the string part on the original studio recording. It resolves to the '5' on the 4th beat.

The first time around, the progression ends with the C/E chord, the second time it falls down to an actual 'C' in the bass for a very 'homey/fat' harmony sound (made even 'fatter' by the C/E being played the first time). Nice.

At the C/E just before the 'e' in the left hand, my '2' (index) plays the 'c' very shortly as forfall for the actual bass note 'e'. The second time, when the actual bass is indeed 'c', the familiar '5' is being played in the same way. (see the 1,5,1 technique (left hand techniques) in the course if this doesn't sound familiar to you).

Anything else? No, not really. Just a four note voicing for the C chord again and a basic rhythmic pattern with alternating left and right hand for the groove and the feel.

The 'verse' in this song, actually consist of several different verses. This is the first one.

All the chords are played only once when the harmony changes. The exact voicings are shown on the image. Note that the first chord Dm7 has the 'a' as bottom note in this voicing, which makes it very abstract (but beautifully voiced). Left hand 'a' (the '5') 'c' (the '7') and 'd' (the '1'). Right hand plays the first inversion.

The Bb had an added '9' in the right hand. The '3' is only played in the left hand.

F and C/E just full three note chords, left and right same voicing.

The second part of the first verse it where the piano starts 'walking' or 'swinging' and this can be pretty difficult to play.

Try to take close notice to which notes have to be played and where they have to be timed!
The right hand plays regular three note voicings (except on the final C), but in a rhythmic combination pattern alternated with a very nice bass line played by the left hand.

The high and the low part are exactly the same, only the low part is played one octave down.

This intermezzo (kind of an 'in between' piece) is a melody, again 'harmonized' by the 'rest of the chord notes' in the same way as the intro. The 'flam' technique is being used a couple of times here. Left hand -again- plays chords to accompany.

The third part of the verse consist of mostly the same chords that we've seen before but in -yet again- a different order and voicing.

All four note voicings with the right hand here. Practice your inversions on the four note voicings of these chords to improve your 'overview' and understanding of the voicings used here.

The left hand plays bass notes in octaves. The pattern that enters near the end is extracted from what's been used earlier in the song in the verse.

Note that the this part doesn't end in the most logical way, (by repeating the first half), but 'breaks off' after the 6th chord to fall right into intermezzo numero 2:

Again, a melody, again, harmonized in the right hand. In the first part the left hand plays bass notes in octaves (as shown on the image).

In the second part the right hand plays exactly the same, only one octave higher, while the left hand uses four note chord voicings.

Then we fall back into the chorus and we covered all the parts of the song. On the original after this, both the verse, intro and chorus are heard one or more times.

Try recognizing which part comes next, and which comes after that (it's always one of the parts above, so you have played it before).
Try playing along with the original version!

Questions? Remarks? Show me how you play this song! Please leave a comment below!
I'm also very curious which tutorial you'd like to see next!

Begrijp je niet wat hier gebeurt en wil je dat wel graag?
Leer zelf spelen, -alles wat er gebreurt op deze community en de piano echt begrijpen met Piano Couture's Basiscursus Pop Piano.
Vergeet niet om ons even te laten weten wat je vond van een les in het Engels!

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

12 thoughts on “Paradise - Coldplay”

  1. Wederom een mooie en duidelijke uitleg!
    Persoonlijk zou ik het fijn vinden om ook een Nederlandse uitleg te krijgen.

    • Dank je wel voor je reactie Margje! Ook al blijft de nieuwsbrief in ieder geval voorlopig (voor een deel) in het Engels verschijnen, proberen we zo veel mogelijk ook Nederlandse artikelen en vertalingen van alle nieuwsbrief onderdelen op de website te krijgen!

  2. Ik vond een goede en duidelijke uitleg!
    Ik zou het fijn vinden om toch een Nederlandse uitleg te krijgen

  3. Duidelijke uitleg, maar graag de tekst volgende keer toch weer in het Nederlands als het kan, dan is het nog duidelijker en makkelijker te volgen. Er zijn al genoeg Engelse video's, het was juist fijn nu iets in het Nederlands te hebben gevonden.

  4. Heb je ook bladmuziek van deze versie van Coldplay Paradise?
    Ik vind het geweldig klinken maar het is een beetje moeilijk met al die noten tussendoor die je niet geleerd krijgt. Vandaar dat ik graag de bladmuziek zou willen.

    • Hi Arno, Thanks for your comment. However, I never use any traditional sheet music so I'm afraid I don't have any no. In fact, my whole method is built to teach others how to play without needing sheet music. Get to know your chords and patterns and you'll soon start to see what's going on and how to play all of it :).
      Hope that helps Arno!
      Cheers, Coen.

      • Hello coen,
        it's arno again 😉
        The chords are kicking in, but I still have trouble with the rithm of the lower chords where the bass comes up in the normal song
        do you have any tips or something?
        I really would appreciate it 🙂

        Yours sincerely,

        • Hi Arno,
          Tips on pattern / rhythm stuff like that is pretty hard to give in written words unfortunately.. :). I'd say take a close listen to the original and try to 'drum' along (drumming on your legs or a table or whatever with your hands) on the rhythm of those bass notes you're referring to. Then take another close look at the video and try to simulate SLOWLY. First practice both hands separately. If you're able to play them both then try adding them together (again really, really slow at first, so that you can really check where they fall together and where not).
          Hope that helps Arno! good luck and let me know how you're progressing.
          Cheers, Coen.


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