Can “Black Diamonds” take your piano playing skills to the next level?

Can “Black Diamonds” take your piano playing skills to the next level?

Can Black Diamonds take your piano playing skills to the next level

Looking to take your piano playing skills to the next level? Hoping to build some serious strength and dexterity in your right hand? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then we have got the song for you! Although it is not a gospel song, we are confident that Black Diamond by Stratovarius will challenge and grow your technique so that you can master any genre of music that comes your way.

About Black Diamond by Stratovarius

Released in 1997 by the popular Finnish heavy metal band Stratovarius, Black Diamond topped their country’s charts for a straight 23 weeks and became a hit in the United States too. While not a gospel song, many have commented that the introduction to Black Diamond is far superior to any modern music composition of today and is reminiscent of a movement that a classical music composer would have written. Rhythmically challenging, fast, and catchy all at once, you’ll soon understand why Black Diamond is a great song to learn in order to improve your playing. (For a tutorial to familiarize yourself with the song and following along with the fingering, check out this awesome YouTube video by Michelle Woods: Or, to see an actual person crush this piece with insane musicality, you can watch in awe here: )

How Black Diamond will Improve your Dexterity

In piano playing, dexterity refers to how briskly you can play, without sacrificing precision. And quite honestly, there may be no better song for perfecting this skill than the introduction of Black Diamond. The entire first minute of the song demands nothing but a non-stop stream of eighth notes and quarter notes from your right hand. No rests, no breaks, no two consecutive notes. While you might experience some hand cramping and frustration, it’s these type of challenging runs that will really make your right hand play as quickly and smoothly as possible in the long run.

Can “Black Diamonds” take your piano playing skills to the next level?

Once you have conquered the first minute of the song, the pace of your right hand will slow slightly with a few intermittent rests, but not many. Here, where you may get a break as far as the tempo is concerned, the challenge lies in hand positioning and thumb crossovers. Unlike the introduction, the placement of your five fingers will need to change as the left hand becomes more complicated and demands alternating chords. So now, in its second movement, the song is demanding you to be dextrous in both hands, not just in the melodic line on the right.

And finally, as the song progresses to the third act, you will see that your dexterity is being pushed to the limits. As not only do you need to master right hand cross overs with ascending notes, but you will also need the same swiftness in crossovers where descending notes are concerned. In fact, before you get to this point in the song, we recommend perfecting your scale runs up and down, especially your sharp scales, considering the key signature of Black Diamond has four sharps!

How Black Diamond will Improve your Velocity

If you are looking to improve the speed at which you can play, quite frankly there may be no better song to do it than Black Diamond. Written to be played at 149 BPM (or beats per minute, to practice at this tempo, feel free to check out this nifty metronome here:, there truly is almost no time to breath. If your right hand isn’t making runs up and down the keyboard, then you are being demanded to swiftly execute notes with all your fingers in the span of one measure. A better way to mentally get into this song might be to think of it as a faster, more intriguing scale-like run to warm up with and develop your speed rather than as a song that needs to be mastered in its entirety.

Can “Black Diamonds” take your piano playing skills to the next level?

While this song is written in 4/4 time signature, (meaning there are four beats per measure), that is probably the only simple thing about Black Diamond. Although there are a few times where your right or left hand play half notes, the majority of the song switches between runs of eighth notes and sixteenth notes, interrupted by the occasional quarter note. So not only will you be challenged in terms of your speed and consistency of your tempo, but your accuracy will also be challenged as the song demands you to strike sometimes as many as twenty notes per measure (with the occasional triplet thrown in).

Our Final Thoughts on Using Black Diamond to Improve your Piano Skills…

Overall, this song is quite challenging! No matter what instrument you attempt to conquer it on, its tempo and time signature alone (four sharps) are sure to push your skills to the limit. Oh yeah…and did we mention this song is nearly six minutes in total?

So with that being said we want to encourage you to remember that as you attempt to pick up this song, don’t do so with the goal of performing it in mind, but rather as an exercise to grow your skills. This song offers you something you can work towards to improve the various techniques you desire, and never have to worry about performing. For instance, if you are hoping to work on keeping consistent tempo with eight notes, then break down the introduction section by section. Start slowly, and be patient with yourself. Work towards piecing sections, or even measures, together over the course of multiple practice sessions.

Overall, where this piece (at full speed) might not be our recommendation for beginner or even intermediate players, it is definitely a great one to come back to every now and then section by section as an exercise to master dexterity, velocity, and any other technical skill you can fathom! But nevertheless, however you choose to use Black Diamond to practice, we thank you for visiting our site and giving our song recommendations a try. We love nothing more than to help people be the best they can be at doing what they love most: spreading joy through music. Thank you again and we hope you come back soon. Happy practicing!

Can “Black Diamonds” take your piano playing skills to the next level?


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1 Response to Can “Black Diamonds” take your piano playing skills to the next level?

  1. Tamika G says:

    This song looks quite insane, however, I can see why you recommend it for practice a broken down into manageable sections it can help you improve your piano playing. When you master each section and can play the entire piece, that would be a major sense of accomplishment as well! PS It sounds quite ironic that with all the complexity of the sound, it’s in 4/4 time 😀

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