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#1295860 - 10/29/09 07:09 AM Simple chord styles to play, help!
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Here is my dilemma and hoping others will chime in. I have been following the structured approach, reading notes, and playing basic to medium pieces, but recently decided to go the lead sheet way. Everything looks fine... I know most of the basic chords you find in pop music, but my trouble is what to do with those darn chords!

Take a simple song (Mary Had a Little Lamb will do), which is in 4/4. My choices which I tried are:

1) Play the C major chord in the LH on every count (4 times), or variations thereof (once for the whole measure, or even roll the chords, like C E G E, or C followed by (E G) together three times, etc.).

2) Play a ballad style: on 1/8th notes, counting 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &: C G E G E G E G.

3) Play Alberti Bass style.

What other basic styles do you use? Especially ones used in pop music (no Jazz to keep things simple). I know some artists develop their own styles which have their own flavor and sound, but I'm just looking for a good sounding style that fits with many songs.

Also, if there is a book on this or a good reference. I noticed most of the places that talk about lead sheets, fakebooks, play by ear, etc., talk mainly about the types of chords, but not the style you play with those chords.
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#1295874 - 10/29/09 07:57 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Check out a thread in ABF I just bumped up on Pete the Bean's Pop Piano Pro and Take the Lead series. He teaches left hand patterns and easy improvisation for pop lead sheet reading.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1077352

Barb
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#1295884 - 10/29/09 08:35 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Swingin' Barb]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks for the link Barb. There is lots of info in there, and I hope to be able to go through that soon. For now, I'm just looking for some ideas from those who play from lead sheets, and want to see what everyone uses when they read off chords from a fake book, etc.
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#1295896 - 10/29/09 08:51 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
For fakebook reading, I occasionally add some stride. To make it easy, you can do a shell left hand stride. If the chord changes every 2 beats, plunk out that low root on beat 1. For beat 2, bring your left hand up to a higher two note chord consisting of 3 and 7. Then, repeat process for beats 3 and 4. Try it out on a couple of measures of your favorite pop tune. It adds some nice variety to a song.
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#1295906 - 10/29/09 09:13 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Swingin' Barb]
Auggiedoggy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Swingin' Barb
For fakebook reading, I occasionally add some stride. To make it easy, you can do a shell left hand stride. If the chord changes every 2 beats, plunk out that low root on beat 1. For beat 2, bring your left hand up to a higher two note chord consisting of 3 and 7. Then, repeat process for beats 3 and 4. Try it out on a couple of measures of your favorite pop tune. It adds some nice variety to a song.


This is great stuff! That's why I joined this forum. smile

Thanks for this info Barb. thumb I was wondering the same thing. Any recommendations for Fake books?

Rob
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Yamaha CP-300, P-85, NP-30

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#1295918 - 10/29/09 09:28 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Auggiedoggy]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Hi Rob,

I have a pop fakebook that I enjoy. It also has standards, show tunes. I think it is a very good deal for the number of songs in there. Here it is:

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Little-Best-F...2520&sr=8-2

Barb
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1295920 - 10/29/09 09:32 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Swingin' Barb]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 138
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: Swingin' Barb
For fakebook reading, I occasionally add some stride. To make it easy, you can do a shell left hand stride. If the chord changes every 2 beats, plunk out that low root on beat 1. For beat 2, bring your left hand up to a higher two note chord consisting of 3 and 7. Then, repeat process for beats 3 and 4. Try it out on a couple of measures of your favorite pop tune. It adds some nice variety to a song.


Also I think the same as Auggiedoggy. This is a great technique for the left hand.
I did send the slow blues left hand pattern a couple of days ago, set out in this style.
http://cisum.info/SlowBlues.pdf

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#1295926 - 10/29/09 09:40 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Swingin' Barb]
Auggiedoggy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Swingin' Barb
Hi Rob,

I have a pop fakebook that I enjoy. It also has standards, show tunes. I think it is a very good deal for the number of songs in there. Here it is:

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Little-Best-F...2520&sr=8-2

Barb


Great! Thanks.

Rob
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Yamaha CP-300, P-85, NP-30

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#1295933 - 10/29/09 09:51 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Cudo]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Cudo
I did send the slow blues left hand pattern a couple of days ago, set out in this style.
http://cisum.info/SlowBlues.pdf


Cudo - Here I go again - saying the same thing I said to you in the Levine thread - "A picture is worth a thousand words".

Great Post! thumb
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1295946 - 10/29/09 10:11 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Swingin' Barb]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Looking at these books, in addition to the one Barb mentioned. About to check out the shopping basket, unless someone should stop me grin


How to Play from a Fake Book - Michael Esterowitz; Paperback

How to Play from a Fake Book (Keyboard Edition) - Blake

The Real Little Best Fake Book Ever: C Edition - Hal Leonard

Beethoven: Fur Elise - Neil Miller Analyzed Editions: A Valuable Aid For Memorization And Understanding - Bonus: Excerpts From The Piano Lessons Book - Neil Miller;

Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson - Tricia

Piano Girl: A Memoir - Robin Meloy Goldsby; Paperback

Practical Sight Reading Exercises for Piano Students, Books

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey - Perri Knize; Paperback

Progressive Sight Reading Exercises: Piano Technique - H

Practical Sight Reading Exercises for Piano Students, Book 1
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#1296031 - 10/29/09 12:36 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Music_in_Me, you're trying to do it
the way many jazz novices do it,
that is, learn from a lead sheet
--indeed, I tried to do the
exact same thing--but in my experience,
this is a completely wrong approach.

There are thousands of jazz piano
method books you can buy that will
take you through the steps, each
more mindnumbingly complicated
than the previous, so that you
end up playing something
that resembles jazz/popular piano,
that is, a bad version of what a
pro does. I tried to do this--wade
through 3 jazz piano method books,
as well as books on classical harmony,
counterpoint, etc.--but I didn't
get very far and gave up on all
book study. It was just too tedious
to plow through all of that material.
And it was not helping me one bit to
play by ear and arrange.

I finally decided that this was not
right, because it all comes down to
playing by ear. Why plow through
thousands of pages of complex theory,
when in the end you'll still have
to do it all by ear?

Trying to learn to arrange from a lead
sht. is doing it backwards. Lead
shts. are for advanced players who
can play by ear. You've got to
have a trained ear first, and the
way you get that is by improvising--
before you try to do anything else.

To improvise--you've never improvised,
I can tell, or you wouldn't be asking
this (you need yrs. of improvising
before you'd even think of looking
at lead shts.)--you sit down at
the piano (a digital is better for
this) and just dig in with both hands,
playing purely by ear, with no
thought of any kind of theory.
When you do this, all of your musical
experience--your classical training
(that is, Alfreds), all the songs
you've heard on the radio or on
recordings, etc.--is drawn on,
subconsciously, and influences what
comes out of the instrument.

Initially, you might be disappointed
by what you produce, because it
doesn't seem to sound like the pros--
indeed, it might sound terrible to
you, like an child pounding on the
keyboard. But try recording some
of it, say, a brief few seconds of
your improvising, and you might
be surprised that it doesn't sound
all that bad. Like anything at
the piano, improvising takes practice,
and over time you'll get better
at it and will gradually zero in
on the type of sound you want to produce.

Then you'll have a trained ear and
will be able to do other things, like
arranging, and playing from lead shts.,
etc. But more likely, you'll
forget about all that, because
you'll be playing your own music,
your own way, and that's so much
better than merely arranging someone
else's songs.

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#1296032 - 10/29/09 12:40 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Deja vu, Gyro. Broken record?
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#1296050 - 10/29/09 01:07 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Oh, shut the ___ up. If you don't want
to learn how to play, there are
others here who do.

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#1296059 - 10/29/09 01:18 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3239
Loc: Virginia, USA
I have How to Play from a Fake Book, I think it's the Blake Neely version rather than the Esterowitz but I'm not near it at the moment.

It was enormously helpful. I was able to use it in performance almost immediately (playing for church.)

There is a grain of truth in what gyro said, I think. And that is that for many of us, academic knowledge learned out of context does not transfer well to playing.

For example, I read through my wife's theory books and learned about triads in 12 keys, etc. But it made no sense until I played with a Praise and Worship band. Then I only needed one key, D, because that's all the guitar could play. But I needed to spell chords in inversions in real time, and theory hadn't helped me with that. (I know it does for some people)

Typically gyro has observed something and leapt to the wrong conclusion about the cause. It is not the knowledge that was wrong, but the application.

And no I can't improvise. I can play from a lead sheet though.
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#1296246 - 10/29/09 06:52 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: TimR]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Any other styles out there?

So far, we have:

1) Play the C major chord in the LH on every count (4 times), or variations thereof (once for the whole measure, or even roll the chords, like C E G E, or C followed by (E G) together three times, etc.).

2) Play a ballad style: on 1/8th notes, counting 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &: C G E G E G E G.

3) Play Alberti Bass style.

4) If the chord changes every 2 beats, plunk out that low root on beat 1. For beat 2, bring your left hand up to a higher two note chord consisting of 3 and 7. Then, repeat process for beats 3 and 4
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#1296356 - 10/29/09 10:39 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3239
Loc: Virginia, USA
Okay, I am far from being any good at this, but here are other ways I've tried for playing that chord from a lead sheet:

1. Alternate inversions on the beat. Example, CEG, move lower GEC, back up CEG, lower GEC, etc. Lots of variations possible.

2. Oompah. C, EG, C, EG.

3. Arpeggios at various speeds. C, E, G, E quarter notes. CE, GE, CE, GE. (eighth) CEGE, CEGE, CEGE, CEGE. (sixteenth)

4. A woman at my church did this particularly smoothly: C, C octave, above that G, E, C, Repeat.

5. boogie. C4, C5, E4, C5, G4, C5, C4. with a dotted rhythm.

6. root-fifth. C4, CEG4, G3, CEG4, C4, etc.
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#1298407 - 11/02/09 05:00 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: TimR]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks for the additions TimR.

I have a question: When you play using ballad style, it's easy to do 3-note major chords. For example, C E G, becomes C G E. But how do you handle other chords while in this style? If you hit A7 next, how should you play that? What I have been doing is just change it to a major A chord then open the chord as in the C example above.
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#1298420 - 11/02/09 05:30 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7099
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: Gyro

Trying to learn to arrange from a lead
sht. is doing it backwards. Lead
shts. are for advanced players who
can play by ear. You've got to
have a trained ear first, and the
way you get that is by improvising--
before you try to do anything else.


Gyro, sounds to me that you needed guidance from a teacher. You cannot just automatically learn to play from a lead sheet. You obviously have to learn how. But to say you're just going to "dig in" results in what? You still have no guidance so you can still NOT play from a leadsheet.

Like anything else, it's not going to take two weeks to learn. You transfer your frustration at learning to every beginner out there.

Just for comparison, I learned to play a basic tune from a leadsheet within a few months of learning piano. Sure it took years to play in a more sophisticated way, but it could have occurred earlier had I received guidance.

And learning to play the tune from the leadsheet is a totally separate concept from doing a Jazz solo. Playing from a leadsheet is not that complicated. Soloing obviously is difficult.
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#1298890 - 11/03/09 12:53 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: jazzwee]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
In the recent threads I participated
in on this forum, various people
have posted links to a number
of pros playing on youtube, to
show "how it's done." Although
these players are very impressive
and polished, with many yrs. of
training, I personally would not
want to play like them. They all
tend to produce a similar sound,
probably because of the forces
in the jazz community who are
constantly trying to make jazz
uniform and standardized, like
classical music. What's the
point of playing like them?
They already all sound very similar,
so what you going to do, just add
another carbon copy to that?

I prefer to just dig in and play by
ear, always trying to reach for a new type
of sound. You study jazz theory books
and you're just going to end up sounding
like everyone else. I see no point
in doing that. In my view, you might as
well not play if you're just going to
sound like everyone else. So I
study no books and do it all by ear,
and if it sounds bad to the textbook
jazz players, that's just great,
because then I know I'm on the right
track. I don't sound like everyone else.

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#1298985 - 11/03/09 03:36 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
HooDoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 57
Loc: Los Angeles
Gyro,

I would love to hear a demonstration of this "new type of sound". Could you please post a recording? A little evidence would go a long way toward countering any skepticism of your theory.

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#1299005 - 11/03/09 04:08 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
I highly recommend this book

Metaphors for the Musician

Almost all of my jazz gig playing is based on what I learned from that book.

I usually play with a bass player, but when I'm by myself I play a walking bass line with the left and play the melody and occasional rootless chords between melody notes with the right. This is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it works well.

Alternatively, I play 1 & 3 in the left hand and 7 and melody in the right or 1 & 7 in the left and 3 and melody in the right.

I hope that makes sense.
_________________________
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My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1299050 - 11/03/09 05:42 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: TromboneAl]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7099
Loc: So. California
Gyro, I wish you luck in your approach. Perhaps there's another option to learning if you don't understand it all. Others can help, you know. You never ask a question here. I am willing to help you if you ask.
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#1299216 - 11/03/09 11:54 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: HooDoo]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
HooDoo, you don't get it. You don't
want to listen to me, or anyone else.
You should develop your own style.
Suppose, heaven forbid, that you
listened to me and liked what you heard
and then tried to emulate it. What's
the point of that, copying someone
else's style? You might as well not
play if you're just going to copy
someone else. Someone already plays
like that. Adding another copy of
such playing to the universe serves
no purpose at all. Go your own way.
Copying some jazz great just adds
another carbon copy to the thousands
already in existence from people who
previously copied him. That's worthless.
We don't need another copy in the
universe. There are too many already,
thousands of people who all play the
same way.

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#1299271 - 11/04/09 03:27 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
The only one who understands Gyro, is Nora
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#1299296 - 11/04/09 07:35 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Gyro
HooDoo, you don't get it. You don't
want to listen to me, or anyone else.
You should develop your own style.
Suppose, heaven forbid, that you
listened to me and liked what you heard
and then tried to emulate it. What's
the point of that, copying someone
else's style? You might as well not
play if you're just going to copy
someone else. Someone already plays
like that. Adding another copy of
such playing to the universe serves
no purpose at all. Go your own way.
Copying some jazz great just adds
another carbon copy to the thousands
already in existence from people who
previously copied him. That's worthless.
We don't need another copy in the
universe. There are too many already,
thousands of people who all play the
same way.


Gyro - listening to others play is not necessarily about copying someone else's style. Most of us here enjoy listening to music. We are a member of PW because we enjoy the piano. I listen to music on my walks, during mealtime, in the car. In other words, when I am not practicing, I am listening just for the joy of listening. Would you rather me not listen to music and just waste my time by watching TV?

Surprise us all someday and post some of your music. Better yet, put a link to your music in your sig line. We are all ears.

Barb
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1299354 - 11/04/09 10:18 AM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Swingin' Barb]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Barb, the greatest favor I could
ever do for you is to not post
my playing, so that you don't listen
to it. You've already got a lifetime
of musical experience, which is
more than enough material to work
with in order to develop your
own style.

Forces within the jazz community
have already succeeded in turning
jazz into something uniform and
standardized, like classical piano,
where everyone just plays the
notes and sounds the same. That's
never been what jazz is all about.

With the decline of classical composition
and improvisation, jazz is the
last place to turn to for people
who want to really create and innovate.
But that's becoming increasingly
difficult with the standards of
performance that have been put
in place by the textbook jazz
people.

You don't want to listen to another
jazz pianist, lest you fall into the
trap of thinking he's the last word
in playing and then copying his style.
You should develop your own way
of playing. There are already
thousands of jazz pianists who
all sound the same. There's no
point is adding one more carbon copy
to them.

Sit down at the piano and dig in
and play purely by ear, never
thinking for a moment about any
theory. This is your own playing,
created by you. If initially it sounds
like a child pounding mindlessly
on a keyboard, that's just great,
because it means that you're
not sounding like all the jazz
players who just copy each other
end up playing the same way.
You're the one who'll be playing
real jazz piano, because you're
creating and being original, in
contrast to the textbook,
everyone-sound-the-same
playing that you hear from jazz
pianists today.








Edited by Gyro (11/04/09 10:23 AM)

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#1299455 - 11/04/09 01:40 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
pianojazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 359
Loc: dearborn, mi
Gyro - I gotta ask this... Do you gig with other musicians? Do you jam with other musicians? Do you have any desire to ever perform with other musicians? Do you/did you ever sit-in with a band?
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#1299485 - 11/04/09 02:43 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: Gyro]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: Gyro
With the decline of classical composition and improvisation, jazz is the last place to turn to for people who want to really create and innovate.

There's also New Age piano playing. In fact, listen to what can be just with a few seventh chords in the right hand...



Desert Flowers is from one of my online lessons where students learn how to use the power of limits, i.e. playing only seventh chords in the right hand. This is actually a modal improv.
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#1299530 - 11/04/09 04:16 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: eweiss]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
To take Gyro's odd view, we should not listen to music of other people! What's the point of doing that? We should listen to our own music. No more Beethoven, no more Mozart, no more Clayderman. Only your own music.

This begs the question Gyro: Why did you join this forum? What's the point of learning from anyone else if you only believe in your own "sound"? Can you spell weirdo, Gyro, which incidentally rhymes with your name?
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Happy Playing All
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#1299687 - 11/04/09 09:38 PM Re: Simple chord styles to play, help! [Re: MiM]
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2896
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
No more Beethoven, no more Mozart, no more Clayderman.


Richard Clayderman? You know that he plays music composed by Paul de Senneville, right? smile

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