How to Play Light My Fire on Piano

By Mary Freeman

Things Needed

  • Piano.
  • The song "Light My Fire" by The Doors from the self-titled album.
  • Piano chord chart and note guide (available free online or for sale at a music store).
Jim Morrison

"Light My Fire," as performed by the psychedelic 1960s band The Doors, is a song with an emphasis on complex improvisational organ and guitar, alternating with a relatively simple verse and chorus line. If you want to imitate the song note for note, carefully written sheet music is probably your best shot. However, if you understand the fundamental musical structure of the song, you can play along almost immediately with no outside materials. With practice, this whole song can thrum from your piano, at home or on stage.

Listen to the song until it is familiar. Note its structure. This will save you headaches in the future.

0:00 Introduction Play these triad chords with your left hand (specific notes in parenthesis): G major (G, B, D), D major (D, F#, A), F major (F, A, C), Bb major (Bb, D, F), C# major (C#, F, G#), G# major (G#, C, D#), A major (A, C#, E). Stay on the final A 4 times longer than the previous chords. Play the final A repeatedly to build up to the verse line. With your right hand, you can either play along with sheet music or try to copy the intro recording as best you can. If you have improvisational piano talent, play around with the right hand in the context of the left-hand chords. The song has an improvisational feel from beginning to end, so give any personal flair you can.

00:09 Verse: Play these block chords with your right hand: Am7, F#m7 The Am7 chord has the notes A, C, E, and G. The F#m7 chord has the notes F#, A, C#, and E. Listen to the song to hear the exact rhythm of the chords. They are played by the organ in a syncopated timing. The verse begins with the words "You know that it would be untrue." Play the verse line 4 times.

00:24 Chorus: Play these chords with your right hand - G major (G, B, D), A major (A, C#, E), D major (D, F#, A) G major (G, B, D), A major (A, C#, E), D major (D, F#, A), B major (B, D#, F#) G major (G, B, D), D major (D, F#, A), E major (E, G#, B) The chorus line begins with "come on baby" and ends with "try to set the night on fire." The right hand tends to roll the chords and add suspended 2nds and 4ths as passing notes.

00:37 Play the verse and chorus line again.

1:04 Organ solo: With your left hand, roll these chords, only including the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes: A minor (A, C, E), B minor (B, D, F#) With your left hand, you will be playing the notes A, C, and E followed by a B, D and F#. With your right hand, solo as you please in the key of E minor. The key of E minor includes the notes E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, E. If you can't solo, either purchase sheet music of the solo or do your best to imitate it by ear. It is complex and probably spontaneously improvised on the record, so exact imitation is difficult.

3:12 Guitar solo: Continue to roll the A minor and B minor chords with your left hand. With your right hand, alternate between the Am and Bm chords. It isn't difficult, and would be easy to copy off the record. If you have no other musicians playing with you, shorten or eliminate this section as you like. Solo behind the guitar, still in the key of Em, in the last minute or so of the section.

5:23 Recapitulation: Replay intro section. Replay verse chords. Replay chorus chords. Replay verse chords

6:14 Outro: Play these final chorus chords with left and right hands after final verse: G major (G, B, D), A major (A, C#, E), D major (D, F#, A) G major (G, B, D), A major (A, C#, E), D major (D, F#, A) Bb major (Bb, D, F), C major (C, E, G), D major (D, F#, A) Bb major (Bb, D, F), C major (C, E, G), D major (D, F#, A) Bb major (Bb, D, F), C major (C, E, G), D major (D, F#, A) Bb major (Bb, D, F), C major (C, E, G), D major (D, F#, A) Play intro section once more, and end on a powerful A major (A, C#, E).

Tip

Play along with the song as often as you can. The more you practice with the song, the better you will play it without.

Take plenty of notes and practice often.

Warning

Don't break any fingers. The song goes fast.

About the Author

Mary Freeman is a freelance writer. She has held several editorial positions at the print publication, "The Otter Realm." She traveled throughout Europe, which ultimately resulted in an impromptu move to London, where she stayed for eight months. This life experience inspired her to pursue travel writing. Freeman received a degree in human communication from California State University.