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#2167403 - 10/16/13 08:37 PM help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue
Eveewonder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 56
Loc: NJ USA
I am having the hardest time with this trying to make sure i play the 4 notes in the four cords and then the melody has a lot of eight notes and a slurred half. I'm having a really tough time playing. I feel like I'm all too focused on making sure I get the 4 quarter notes in the harmony played steady for each measure and the melody is messed up. Or more like the melody sounds fine and I can't keep the proper beat with the harmony. I feel like I may play too many or too few notes to the measure. I'm so worried about the counts and everything matching up I can't play the darn thing and just get the beat. Any advice at all much appreciated. I hope you can even understand what I'm trying to say. Thanks!
_________________________
Pam
Essex EUP 123FL
Started playing August 18, 2011

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#2167408 - 10/16/13 08:58 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 788
Relax! We all struggle here smile

Can you describe the right hand in more detail or post a picture of the measures in question? I'm assuming the left hand is a steady rhythm?
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2167409 - 10/16/13 09:00 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: Eveewonder
I feel like I'm all too focused on making sure I get the 4 quarter notes in the harmony played steady for each measure and the melody is messed up.


You are absolutely right.
It sure is! smile
Look at the very bottom of page 107. There is a note there for you.
That should give you some rhythm. smile

EDIT: I just looked at this again. You might be confused. You can also go: short, long, short, long,... In this case...the second long is very long. Remember girl... this ain't no Beethoven... it's da blues...
EDIT2: Second bar... short, long, short, short, long....short, short...
The point is you are free to improv on those four notes in da blues. It's got swing. It's got rhythm. Just make sure you keep da booty movin'. smile


Edited by rnaple (10/16/13 09:22 PM)
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2167415 - 10/16/13 09:18 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Johnny D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 189
Loc: Brazil


Originally Posted By: Eveewonder
the melody has a lot of eight notes and a slurred half.


That's not a slur, it is a tie. It means that note gets ½ a count for the eighth note plus 2 counts for the half. You don't play the note twice, you play it once, but you hold it for 2½ counts.

The thing is to take it slow. Tap your feet to the beat (and/or use a metronome) and know that the bass chords come on those taps or beats. Look to see which notes in the melody also come on the beat or tap, and realize which notes come halfway in between the beats or taps. If you count out loud these notes come on the "and's" as in "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and".
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Dittrich Piano ~ 1978
Graduate - Alfred's Book 1
Suzuki Volume 1
Masterwork Classics 3
Alfred's Level 2

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#2167417 - 10/16/13 09:22 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: rnaple]
Eveewonder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 56
Loc: NJ USA
This is what I'm trying to play and for the life of me I can't get it together. I have no rhythm. I'm so focused on counting the 4 beats I can't play the melody. Uggg

[img:center]http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindframephotography/10320163046/[/img]
_________________________
Pam
Essex EUP 123FL
Started playing August 18, 2011

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#2167421 - 10/16/13 09:27 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Eveewonder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 56
Loc: NJ USA
Thanks Johnny D. I meant tie. I was using the metronome and i swear for an hour I just keep trying to get it. I felt like I kept tripping over my two left feet or something. I would just practice the harmony to get the beat down and then when I added the melody I became so focused on trying to get the melody played in the that measure I just fell apart. I've been at it for days and wonder if I'm making it harder than it needs to be. I've been listening to other people play on youtube and it seems so simple.


Edited by Eveewonder (10/16/13 09:28 PM)
_________________________
Pam
Essex EUP 123FL
Started playing August 18, 2011

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#2167423 - 10/16/13 09:30 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Johnny D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 189
Loc: Brazil
Take your time. Play the right hand by itself first. Then focus on what goes together. The first notes are a G chord in the left hand and a B note with the right hand. Play those. Then you see for the next notes, that you keep the G chord pressed down while you play the next note (D) in the treble clef with your right hand.

So just take it note by note and go slow. Once you get the hang of it, then pick up the speed.

And, it's not as easy as it seems. You have to get the independence in both hands. It's tricky at first but it should come.
_________________________
Dittrich Piano ~ 1978
Graduate - Alfred's Book 1
Suzuki Volume 1
Masterwork Classics 3
Alfred's Level 2

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#2167428 - 10/16/13 09:56 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 788
Originally Posted By: Eveewonder
This is what I'm trying to play and for the life of me I can't get it together. I have no rhythm. I'm so focused on counting the 4 beats I can't play the melody. Uggg


You can get this!

This isn't exactly kosher counting, but one way to count is to break the measure into the tiniest bits instead of trying to count the 1-and or 1-e-and-a type of counting.

So your shortest notes are eighth notes and this means that there are eight of them in the measure (in 4/4).

So you can count notes thusly:

* one eighth note is one beat. So "1"
* one quarter note is two eighth notes. So "1-1"
* one half note is four eighth notes. So "1-1-1-1"
* your tied note in the treble of the first measure is one eighth note plus a half note... or 1 eighth note plus 4 eighth notes ... or 5 eighth notes. So "1-1-1-1-1"

This means your melody in the first measure is

"1" "1" "1" "1-1-1-1-1"

and your harmony in the first measure (don't try to visually line it up because the forums don't work good for that!) is

"1-1" "1-1" "1-1" "1-1"

So you can play them hands separately. Use one hand to clap out your "1"s on your knee and play the music with the other line.

When you can hear the way the individual lines sound, then you painstakingly line them up--don't get too frustrated... it takes a while!
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2167434 - 10/16/13 10:30 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1133
Loc: New Jersey
I know exactly what you mean, and had the exact same problem when I was learning this one. I don't think I ever got it to work right until I came back to it after finishing the book and starting to review. I would suggest learning the right hand melody until you don't have to think about it anymore, and then concentrating on the beat of the chords.
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mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#2167437 - 10/16/13 10:37 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Australia
The key is to practice very slowly even if that means you can no longer keep rhythm. You can also just practice the first measure until you get the hang of it and then progress onto the first two measures.

Another thing you can do is just sit and play your G chord in a steady rhythm and improvise with your right hand. With no need to think about what your right hand is playing it will start to feel a bit more natural.

For any technical difficulty I follow a well tested system. Slow it down even if it is preposterously slow (accuracy is more important), practice for no more than twenty minutes and once done don't go back until the following day. Amazing what a nights sleep can do but don't be surprised if a stubborn problem takes several days or more. You will however feel incremental progress quite quickly the trick is not to try to run before you can walk.
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I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
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#2167450 - 10/17/13 12:00 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Learning syncopation is hard for (just about) everybody. We're so used to hearing syncopation in modern music that we hardly notice it... yet when we try to *play* it, many of us discover, yet again, how our hands want to act in rhythmic unison.

One place to start is to make sure you are able to play the RH melody along with the metronome (before even trying to put the hands together again). If your metronome can do different time signatures by emphasizing the first note of each measure, try playing just the melody with that also.

Another thing to do before trying to play both handed on the piano, is to make sure you can tap both hand's rhythms together, reading the sheet music's rhythmic durations, but ignoring melody and harmony. Try it with and without the metronome.

You may find one variation may be harder or easier, so master what's easiest first, then work up to challenging yourself to master the other.

And don't feel bad: syncopation is a well known stumbling block to playing most 20th century and contemporary music, and there are whole books to help you learn to deal with it.

My favorite is Dan Fox's The Rhythm Bible. First he gets you up to speed with standard rhythms, then gradually increases your familiarity with a number of different sorts of syncopation.

It's one of those books (like Tim Richards' Improvising Blues PIano) in which each chapter starts out easy and gets progressively harder, so you evaluate when that chapter is getting to hard for you, them forward to the next one. Thus more advanced students can travel deeper into each chapter to find material to challenge them.
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#2167591 - 10/17/13 07:57 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: tangleweeds]
Rerun Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Louisiana
Hey Evee,

Think of it as getting both hands in sort of a dance together. I don't know if you're interested in playing New Orleans style particularly, but Allen Toussaint breaks it down using a popular blues bass line you'll recognize beginning at 0:35 of this tape. Great tape for getting those ears more into the game too, imo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q62qTlHfyWI&feature=related
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2167610 - 10/17/13 08:40 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Eveewonder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 56
Loc: NJ USA
Thanks everyone. At least I know I'm not alone and others have trouble. I'll keep at it an use all your suggestions. Thank you!!1
_________________________
Pam
Essex EUP 123FL
Started playing August 18, 2011

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#2167644 - 10/17/13 10:31 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: rnaple]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: rnaple
[quote=Eveewonder]short, long, short, long,...

I would go long short, not short long for a bluesy swung rhythm.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2167678 - 10/17/13 11:42 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Johnny D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 189
Loc: Brazil
Another thing you could try to learn this is to play the left hand slowly and lift your left hand about 5-6 inches (10-15cm) between beats so that you get an up and down motion. Count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, playing so that you hit the chord on the beats 1, 2, 3, 4 and the "and's" come just as you lift your hand off the keys. Count it and try to get a steady beat. Then you'll know which notes in the melody come when you hit the chord/beat and the notes that come in between.

Edit: I am not saying you should eventually play the song lifting the hand so much, just to use it as a learning tool.


Edited by Johnny D (10/17/13 11:56 AM)
Edit Reason: edit
_________________________
Dittrich Piano ~ 1978
Graduate - Alfred's Book 1
Suzuki Volume 1
Masterwork Classics 3
Alfred's Level 2

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#2167988 - 10/18/13 05:23 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I may have deceived you in referring to page 107.
I just noticed Johnny had Why Am I Blue on page 73.
My Why Am I Blue is on page 116. I am on Alfred's All in One Course.
The page 107 I am referring to is Got Those Blues. Talks about the Blues. The note at the bottom of the page, to quote it is: "The eighth notes may be played a bit unevenly; long short long short ."
My teacher explained this to me.
We're not talking about turning eighth notes into 1/16th notes and quarter notes. If they wanted to add or take away like this, they would have done it. Like they did with the fourth note in the first bar. Thus the syncopated note. We're talking about shaving a bit or adding a bit simply for rhythm's sake. Which is maybe a 64th or a 32nd.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2168088 - 10/18/13 11:46 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Rather than as short as a 64th or 32nd, swung eighth notes are closer to triplet: two triplet eighth notes tied together for the ling, and one triplet eighth note for the short. The exact timing can vary in different pieces depending on the effect you want. Listen to some blues or jazz and listen for if you can hear this effect.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2168215 - 10/18/13 04:59 PM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Ohio_Mark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/13
Posts: 44
Try tapping the beat with your hands on your lap counting eighth notes.

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and
Tapping the Right hand on 1, and, 2, and
Tapping the left hand on 1, 2, 3, 4

Do it enough times until you feel the rhythm.



Edited by Ohio_Mark (10/18/13 04:59 PM)
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#2172692 - 10/27/13 09:18 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Eveewonder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 56
Loc: NJ USA
I think I have to leave this song for a bit. I'm really frustrated. I keep getting 5 beats in the second measure instead of 4. I think maybe I have psyched myself out and need a long break.
_________________________
Pam
Essex EUP 123FL
Started playing August 18, 2011

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#2172702 - 10/27/13 10:15 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Rerun Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Louisiana
Well, if worst comes to worst, let your ears get the job done, not by counting beats ...listen to when this guy is playing on and off the beat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_84glk-v_uQ


You can do it!
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2172708 - 10/27/13 10:34 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
Moonraker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Wales, UK
Try the first 2 bars with hard, soft, hard, soft rather than long, short, long, short:

WHY am I blue-oo-oo-oo-oo|
BLUE er THAN the dee-eep BLUE sea

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#2172715 - 10/27/13 10:50 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: Eveewonder
I think I have to leave this song for a bit. I'm really frustrated. I keep getting 5 beats in the second measure instead of 4. I think maybe I have psyched myself out and need a long break.


The left hand is there to keep the beat straight for you. Play around the left hand with the right.
Don't worry. Alfred is looking at you like the Governator saying: "I'll be back" in Book Two.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2173063 - 10/28/13 07:32 AM Re: help with syncopated notes Alfred's why am I blue [Re: Eveewonder]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2611
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Sometimes I have to write in the counts and count out loud.

Don't worry about leaving it for a while. It will still be there when you get back.
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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