Anti-pop anti-diva Lady Gaga rocked the airwaves with “Just Dance.” With the help of producer RedOne (see the Oct ’08 issue of Keyboard for more on him), “Just Dance” throbs with synth bass and lead lines that have the power to rock a dance floor, but are simple enough to learn quickly. If you can split your keyboard, do so at middle C, and dial up an aggressive synth bass tone in the lower half and a trance-y lead tone in the upper half. Then shut your playboy mouth, go through the examples below, and just play.
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Ex. 1. Here’s how your right hand should lie on the keys to play the signature synth line from “Just Dance.” To get the notes in the right sequence, play the keys under your fingers in this order: 2, 4, 1, 5, 4.
Ex. 2. Place your left hand on the keyboard as shown to play the bass line for “Just Dance.” To get the order of notes right, play the keys under your fingers in this order: 4, 2, 5, 1, 2.
Ex. 3. Before playing the right-hand synth line for “Just Dance,” go through this exercise to get a handle on the timing. It’s all eighth-notes, which is simple enough. The accents are key, though. Turn on the metronome and tap out these rhythms, being sure to tap extra loud on the accented notes; these are the points in the phrase where the melody changes unexpectedly.
Ex. 4. Go through this exercise to cop the timing for the left-hand bass line in “Just Dance.” Again, get the metronome running and tap along to the rhythms.
Ex. 5. Once you’ve gone through all the other exercises, put the pieces together and try the full excerpt, transcribed here in traditional notation.