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How to Play When the Saints Go Marching In

When the Saints Go Marching In

This video was posted to contribute to the thread at pianoworld.com about Joe who is working on When the Saints Go Marching In. The thread is here:


Great job so far Joe (he's only been playing for one week)

My take in this video is to give the song more of a boogie/bluesy feel. I liked the post by Seaside Lee who's take on the song was a slower block chord type of feel leaving room for nice harmonic nuances.

Adding the boogie feel to this song is simple if you approach it from the perspective of its three main chords: C, F and G. If you think of these as triads and learn the boogie bass pattern (shown in my left hand piano boogie bass video) over each chord, you can play this left hand pattern with the melody. As with anything, start slow and work your way up and keep the timing solid. You should practice it with a metronome or some sort of click track to help you with this.

The alteration I added to the song which I discuss in the end of the video is using the following chords:

C - C7/E - F - F#dim

This is a nice way to walk up to the final turn around in the song. Here is a description of those four chords with right hand and left hand:

C Chord




C7 Chord with E in the bass (C7/E)

RH: G-Bb-E



F Chord




F# Diminished Chord

RH: A-C-F#

LH: F#

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