Mark's Musings

A miscellany of thoughts and opinions from an unimportant small town politician and bit-part web developer

30 Days of Music: 26 – A song I can play on an instrument


Speaking as a musician, there are obviously plenty of songs which could fit this category. In fact, it would be harder to find a song which doesn’t fit this category, in one sense.

But there’s a difference between playing a song and playing on a song, if you get what I mean. I’m a keyboard player, and, contrary to what a fair number of non-musicians think, that’s not the same as either a pianist or an organist. Other than when I’m at home on my own, I rarely play solo – 99% of my “performance” music is as a member of a band. In a band, I can play pretty much any song, because all I have to do is provide the keyboard part – which, for the stuff I generally play, just means the bog-standard chords, phrases, pads and stabs. Occasionally I find myself called on to provide more of a piano-style lead, but that’s not really my scene (although if I get the chance to indulge in a bit of Hammond-organ style improvisation, I’ll take it!).

What that means, though, is that although in a band I can play almost any song, as a solo musician there aren’t all that many songs I can play in a way that would be instantly recognisable as the song in question! It doesn’t help that I find it quite difficult to play and sing at the same time – I can manage backing vocals when necessary, at least on songs I know well, but you won’t find me giving an impromptu performance on a pub piano, for example.

However, there are a few songs that I’d say I can play. Mostly, they’re the songs that inspired me to take up keyboards in the first place, rather than any other instrument. I’ve mentioned before in this series that I was very much into 80s electronica and synth-pop, so as soon as I could afford it I bought myself an analogue synth and taught myself to play it. This was one of the first songs I managed to pick apart:

Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough