Question about arranging: Keyboards and power chords?

famous beagle

Well-known member
This may be a stupid question, but, as a guitarist (predominantly) I've always wondered about it.

So many 80s songs, for example, featured guitars and keys, and often times the guitars were just playing power chords (i.e., root and 5th only - no 3rd). When this is going on, what are the keys usually doing? Are they playing power chords, too, or do they usually play triads instead?

I know it's hard to say as a rule, but, in general, I get the feeling that power chords on keys/piano are much less common than on guitar, but that's just always been my assumption. So I just thought I'd ask.

As an example, take the chorus riff from Toto's "Hold the Line."

The guitars are playing:
F#5 C#5 D5 D5 E5

Would the keys be playing this as well, or would they likely play:
F#m C#m D D E

Thanks for any responses.
this is F# power chord on keyboard

this is what id play as to a guitars F# power chord. being 2nd and 4th frets on the E and A strings respectively.
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