Enya Easy Piano
Enya's easy piano style and haunting Celtic melodies are a gift to the 'New Age' piano soloist. Her standard keyboard texture is simplicity itself - read up on it below, watch the MisterMusicarta YouTube videos and play the MIDI files on MidiPiano – you can’t fail to learn these sweet, winning gems!
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This ‘Enya Easy Piano’ page has MIDI support. To benefit, you need to download the MIDI files and have an application that can play them. Musicarta recommends the ‘MidiPiano’ virtual keyboard - a small, free, reliable application that's easy to download and use.
Learn more about playing MIDI files on MidiPiano
Download the Enya MIDI files here. (The folder also contains annotated chord charts of the YouTube performances.)
Please take the time to download MidiPiano! You only have to do it once, and it will prove a valuable addition to your learning resources. If you need help ‘unpacking’ your zipped MIDI file folder, there are full instructions on the Musicarta MidiPiano page (link, above left) as well.
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A note on the page contents
Musicarta.com's main mission is to nurture your abilities and to turn you from a music consumer to a content creator. Enya’s beguiling melodies and recorded arrangements are ideal for this purpose: if you work through the content of this page, you will have learnt a simple keyboard texture you can use for any chord sequence, whether your own or someone else’s.
The clues about Enya's ‘easy piano style' you will find on this page, however, are no substitute for the full piano score, which you can easily purchase on the web or at your local sheet music shop.
The audio performances and Musicarta YouTube channel videos are strictly ‘how-to’ quality and no substitute for the CDs as a listening experience, while the MIDI files are bald mechanical versions of personal score writing programme transcriptions, offered, like the videos, only in order to show how hand placement and chord sequence are related.
We pianists owes a great debt to Enya and her collaborators Nicky and Roma Ryan for bringing such sweet, playable music into the world. This web page is a homage to them.
The ‘Enya Easy Piano’ texture
Enya sets up her basic texture by rocking a three-note left hand chord consisting of the root, fifth and octave.
- If you put your left hand little finger on the note named in the chord symbol, you’ve got the root.
- If you put your thumb on the next chord symbol name-note up, you’ve got the octave.
- Your second finger will probably fall right over the fifth just naturally.
Enya plays these notes up and down, giving a basic four-quaver set which can be moved around anywhere.
(The music and the hand in the photo match up.)
The beauty of this is, both the left hand little finger and thumb play the note named in the chord symbol MOST OF THE TIME, so you can easily play from a chord chart.
The three notes of the Enya left hand texture are easy to find, but, on their own, they sound rather ‘bald’. They lack the ‘sweet’ chord tone – the third. In Enya’s style, the third usually appears in the right hand as the melody note with the first of the four left hand quavers.
But you can’t have melodies of only the third all then time, and from time to time the right hand plays the root - the same note that the left hand thumb needs to play its ‘octave’ note. You have to ‘share’ the note – the melody (right hand) has priority.
You can see clearly where this happens if you play the MIDI file of No Holly For Miss Quinn on MidiPiano - the red right hand and the green left hand seems to be fighting over the same note.. Watch the video closely at these points to see how to ‘manage’ your hands.
In more advanced technique, the right hand plays the note, then ‘lends tt’ briefly to the left hand to play, and then takes it back silently to hold it for its full duration. But that’s the icing on the cake – you don’t have to worry about that in the beginning. Just use your sustain pedal!)
Visit the MisterMusicarta YouTube channel, watch the video of the performance and get started with ‘No Holly For Miss Quinn’. You’ll want to download the Enya MIDI file folder – there’s an annotated chord chart pdf of the YouTube performance in there.
With the chord chart, the explanations on this page, the video and the MidiPiano performance, you're sure to be playing Enya easy piano style in no time!
Listen to Enya's original version on her ‘Shepherd Moons’ CD (various issuers) for inspiration and performance ideas. Get the full piano transcription, published by Hal Leonard (HL.308133).
Very similar in texture to No Holly For Miss Quinn, but the left hand misses out quite a few of the left hand quavers, leaving gaps, usually where the right hand plays.
Extreme variety of phrase lengths – listen to the original recording to ‘absorb’ the structure, and play the melodic phrases. (You don’t actually register the numerous odd phrase lengths unless you analyse – to write the chord sequence out, for instance – but the un-noticed ‘a bit out of the ordinary’ quality keeps the interest up.)
Note that the MIDI performance clips are only for finding the notes and organising the hands – they have no rubato (tempo elasticity) at all, which is central to Enya’s style. Consciously imitate the ‘stretchiness’ of the original CD performances.
Note the structure: A B A B A B – with the inevitable extended ending. The left hand texture of each repetition is however slightly different (to keep the interest up); so A1 B1 A2 B2 A3 B3 would be more accurate.
Watch the tricky counting:
The first bar is counted in quavers, the second in crotchets (more correct). Listen out for this rhythm in the performances and practice the counting – it’s hard not to rush the bars where this happens.
The standard Enya left hand pattern plays the root, fifth and octave (R–5–O) but the hand can as easily climb up a rung and play the fifth, the octave (= root), and another fifth above that (5–O–5), so:
Pay close attention to the fingering. The hand crawls across the keyboard like a sidewinder snake. Notice the middle finger changes from 2 to 3 in the new fifth-octave-fifth position. If you don’t change the finger, you’ll probably play the wrong middle note in the 5-O-5 position.
The key to this piece is the clutch of six left hand patterns used in the accompaniment. Only one of the patterns does for more than one chord.
For example, for every F chord the left hand plays
- root, fifth, ninth, tenth, ninth, fifth, but it plays
- root, fifth, octave, (minor) tenth, octave, root for every A minor chord.
Here's your final crib sheet, showing the tones used in the six patterns. Make a written shorthand memo of the order they are played in from the MIDI performance and by listening intently to your source material. You need to learn them by heart if you are to use the chord chart to help you play the piece.
This Musicarta Enya page aims to teach you a simple, versatile keyboard texture and add some of the lovely Enya songs to your repertoire. But Musicarta is a keyboard creativity site – not so much about “Play this, by so-and-so” as “Listen to this – it’s by ME!”
It’s easy to improvise and compose using the keyboard texture demonstrated in this material – if you’re prepared to make a few mistakes and ‘push on through’! To help you, the Musicarta YouTube channel now hosts six simple studies which use the Enya keyboard texture to bring simple chord sequences to life.
Each study demonstrates different ways of developing basic material, but there is always a simple version you can tuck away in your ‘bag of tricks’ while you work on more advanced skills. The videos have MidiPiano performances picture-in-picture making them easy to copy, and the studies can be joined together and extended into your own, unique compositions.
Take up the challenge! Learn these simple building blocks, then ‘doodle’ them into something all your own. Make Musicarta your creative keyboard companion and become a composer today!
Here’s that Musicarta YouTube channel link again.
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