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Piano bar

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Piano bar

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"Open Mic" piano bar - musician Tom Saputo at Squire Rockwell's - Annandale, Virginia "Open Mic" piano bar - musician Tom Saputo at Squire Rockwell's - Annandale, Virginia

A piano bar (also known as a piano lounge) consists of a piano or electronic keyboard played by a professional musician, located in a cocktail lounge or bar . Some piano bars feature a baby grand or grand piano surrounded by stools for patrons. Others have a bar surrounding the piano or keyboard.

There are different types of piano bars:

  • "instrumental only": the professional piano/keyboard player plays strictly instrumental music, which is usually classical, semi-classical, or "easy listening"; this type of piano bar is often found in hotel lobby lounges or "fine dining" restaurants
  • "only the musician sings": the professional piano/keyboard player sings to his/her accompaniment, usually on microphone, but no other singers are allowed
  • "sing-along": patrons surrounding the piano/keyboard sing as a group, usually without any microphones
  • "dueling pianos": usually on stage with two grand pianos, each played by a professional player who sings and entertains; humor and audience participation are prevalent; usually these types of piano bars have substantial sound systems, and most of the songs performed are rock'n'roll, "classic rock", blues, R&B, or country, played at very high volume; Howl at the Moon Piano Bar is a popular chain of this type of piano bar
  • "open mic": individual patrons sing (on microphone) to the accompaniment of the professional musician; in some ways, this type of piano bar is like karaoke, except that the music is live and dynamic, and there are usually no lyrics available (although some piano bar players do supply some lyrics); like karaoke, the songs performed may cover a wide, eclectic range ("show tunes", "standards" from the 1920's forward, jazz, country, R&B, rock'n'roll, blues, folk, soul, disco, hip-hop, etc.); the patron singers are usually called to the microphone in a rotating order; often, each singer is allowed 2 or 3 songs each time he/she is called to perform.

Before becoming famous, Billy Joel sometimes worked as a piano bar performer. His classic hit, "Piano Man" is based on his experiences as a piano bar player.


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.