Stevie’s “I Was Made To Love Her” is one of those true classics that very few don’t know.
On the other hand, very few do know how f’in badd-ass the bass part of this song -played by the great James Jamerson, the founder of “cool” contemporary bass playing in my humble opinion- actually is. The groove is just insane.
Let’s peek, steal and learn how to play I Was Made To Love Her.
As you know, I’m a sucker for “piano only” / “acoustic” versions of songs. Both for their transparency -sometimes making certain instrumental parts stand out so much clearer than they do in their regular habitat of the fully produced album- and for the fact that so often such versions clearly exemplify how every instrumental part is ‘translatable’ to any other instrument. Doing so to the keys, given their clarity of lay-out for nice harmonic analysis, has proven to be mighty educational more than a few times already. Not to mention inspirational.
When I came across this video of Stevie on a show with Tom Jones (Singer of “It Not Unusual”-among many other hits-), where Stevie suddenly blasts out one of these awesome solo acoustic interpretations of his very own “I Was Made To Love Her,” translating fragments of Jamerson’s stellar bass groove to the left-hand part of his piano accompaniment, I was dumbstruck, blown away and amazed yet again by the insane musicality of this genius.
I suggest first of all to take a comfortable seat, plan in some free time to recover from the amazement you’ll find yourself in after watching, find the best set of speakers that you got available to blast and check out this vid at full volume. Then replay. And one more time.
Although it’s only about a minute long and Stevie even messes up (twice!), the magic that pours from this video is just beyond my words.
So what’s a musician/teacher like myself to do after finding a music fragment of this calibre? Figure it out, study it and then share it with my beloved students from around the globe, obviously!
Not a particularly easy task.
Although I’m quite handy handling the juicy kind of extension-chords that Stevie loves to play, both the technical skill and timing/groove on that left hand part were really testing the limits of my skill level.
Running around over both chord- and scale notes, using pentatonic-, chromatic and soulful rhythmical concepts to create a part that holds so much gold to peek, pick and learn from, when tackling the concepts and translating them to other musical situations –as we do here @ Piano Couture– could provide the student with material for years to come.
In this weeks tutorial I’ll show you:
- The exact first round that Stevie plays in this video with Tom Jones – which is in fact the whole chord progression of the song (verse and chorus are the same, there’s just a bridge that simply sticks on the F, the home chord of the song)
- How to instantly sound “Stevie” by using right-hand voicings that range from a simple triad up to a heavily extended, nicely voiced “13” chord (and showing how well they can go together)
- How to approach the left hand like a bass guitar and play an insanely tight groove with out of this world bass-licks (that doesn’t necessarily need to be super difficult note-wise, just TIGHT)
- Yet again: how timing proves to be everything.
Below the video you’ll find two chord pic sheets from the video, one with the complete bassline (I cicled the notes on which the right hand chords should be played simultaniously) and one with just the chords & root notes left, for those of you that want to skip the heavy lifting for the left hand and just play the harmonies.
Have fun with Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her and let me know what you think & how you’re doing in the comments below!
The brand new members-only area: “The Couturians’ Lounge” just opened up! Next to a lot of other piano-learning stuff, in there you’ll find a “Song Learner”-section which is specifically aimed at everyone that enjoys my Youtube tutorials and is simply out to learn songs with the greatest ease and precision. Becoming a “Song Learner”-member will give you access to Sheets and MIDIs of my tutorials, you’ll find only complete tutorials (all parts always available), all videos are HD and are completely ad-free (no commercials). On top of that, there’s a special forum where Song Learners vote and co-decide on the next upcoming tutorial.
Click here if you’re interested in signing up, or here to try it out for free!
This weeks extra’s for Song Learners: Part 2 (harmonica solo + left hand chord-accompaniment) sheets and MIDI file. Go to Song-Learner version.
Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her Piano Tutorial (part 1)