Piano fingering

The Doors - Riders on the Storm (Rainfall passage)

From the album L.A. Woman by The Doors the song Riders on the Storm contains a passage (or phrase-group) with a down-run over the keyboard keys, referred to as the rainfall. To my knowledge the finger-position pattern (fingering) has never been published nor a proper solution can found on the internet, so here I demonstrate my own. A requirement on the fingering of this passage is that the down-run can be performed smoothly but quickly, since the Tempo is Moderate beat (104 bpm).

Easy-to-learn fingering is achieved by having the same pattern for A-F#-G-E-F#-D (1st block) as for E-C#-D-B-C#-A (2nd block), since these have the same keyboard configuration in naturals (white keys) and accidentals (black keys). The finger-pattern in both blocks is 4-2-3-1-3-1. This has a nice easy rocking of 4-2 and twice 3-1. The sequence of the blocks is alternating.

The cross-over between the 1st block and the 2nd block is instant, by placing the 4th finger next to the 1st finger. An extra pattern is needed for the transition from the 2nd block back to the 1st block. The extra pattern is 4-2 on the keys B-G, adding symmetry to the already present 4-2 pattern at the beginning of the 1st block.

Piano fingering of Riders on the Storm (Rainfall section) by The Doors

(Click image to enlarge)

To practice the tempo an accompaniment can be used to play along. The accompaniments below have different instrument combinations: drum, and drum+guitar. Both start with a 1 bar count off (or lead-in).

Accompaniment for Riders on the Storm, drum only: download [mp3]
Accompaniment for Riders on the Storm, drum+guitar: download [mp3]

In the song Ray Manzerek uses a Fender Rhodes keyboard instrument, which has that typical vibrafone-like sound originating from tines at the end of tone-bars. The rainfall effect is increased by the use of the combination sustain, tremelo and reverb. Note that this instrument is semi-electrical allowing these effects and needs electical pre-amplification for DI (Direct Insertion into mixer or amp), similar to an electric gitar.

Updated August 23rd, 2013