Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something

Posted by: BillTheSlink

Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 01:00 AM

Stopped into a local music store and had a look at one of these. from what I saw there is no grand staff, only the treble cleft. Now I am rank new, fresh off the turnip truck, but are these things so easy they are just right hand melody with no harmony or bass at all? If that's the case I could play that just from my knowledge of music theory from band and the few lessons I've done. It can't be that easy, or at least it can't be and sound worth a darn. Did I miss something or is that how these books work?
Posted by: Allard

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 03:21 AM



From the Hal Leonard website. You can see melody on the treble clef. Chords are noted above the score. In this example, you play C major with the left hand. Exactly how, is up to you and what fits with the song. You could just hold C-E-G or C-E-G-C while playing the first bar, or play a C-E-G-C broken chord, or C-E-G2, or something like C-EG-EG-EG, etc.

Note values written with the notes like this might be helpful for the absolute beginner, but will probably hamper learning reading skills if one starts depending on them.
Posted by: packa

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 11:22 AM

This general notation (though usually without the note names in the melody) is called a "lead sheet" and collections of these are usually called "fake books." It is a popular publishing format for pop and jazz where fully notated arrangements are less commonly used. Playing from lead sheets calls for a different set of skills than playing the fully realized arrangements that are the rule in classical music.

The performer is expected to take the melody and the suggested harmony (indicated by the chord names above the staff) and create his or her own version of the piece. Of course, just playing the indicated chords in the LH while plinking out the melody with the RH is easy. Creating a musically interesting arrangement from that basic structure is more difficult.
Posted by: Kbeaumont

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 11:56 AM

To try your hand at arranging it, try something like this:
In the simple example "Peg O My Heart":

Hit a C major chord or octaves C and a 5th like this: (C-G-C) in your left hand.

Three of the right hand notes if played together form an e minor triad.
That played over the C in your left hand makes it a Cmaj7 chord.
So try playing the notes but when you get to the B play the E G & B together along with the C-G-C in your left.

Notice it sounds rather nice? That's it in a nutshell you listen to the song, find the rhythm in your left that goes well with it. In your right play the melody and using inversions add in chords routinely keeping melody note on top. And after a lot of practice, you can create good sounding arrangements of nearly any song in your book.

You also have the option of playing the chords in an arpeggio pattern to accompany yourself singing the melody.
Posted by: BillTheSlink

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 02:22 PM

In other words it's too advanced even for me. blush I better stick to my scales and method books for a while. wink
Posted by: Kbeaumont

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 03:17 PM

Yes, if your just beginning that's probably best. At least until you have a firm grasp of chords and left hand rhythms. Good luck to you!
Posted by: packa

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 05:32 PM

If you are just starting with method books, then working through them for a while is probably a good idea. However, if your goal is playing popular music (as distinguished from classical), then don't be afraid of getting started with lead sheets as soon as you're comfortable. The fact that this style of music-making requires a little different type of learning shouldn't discourage you.

Getting started with simple block-chord arrangements and then adding fancier touches as you learn more is perfectly fine. It all depends on where you want to go with your playing. People who want to play by ear or to flip open their fake book to a familiar tune and put together a performance on the fly need to focus on the steps to their goals just as much as the classical student who wants to play the Fantaisie-Impromptu. You need to pick the route for where you want to go.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/14/13 05:36 PM

Allard, you can put together a dead-simple arrangement by just playing the bass note that is the name of the chord. So in the above example, for the first measure, play a low C in the LH, and play the melody in the RH. Change the LH note whenever the letter in the box changes.
Posted by: TrishD

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/15/13 03:49 PM

Hi Bill. Trish from Hal Leonard here. I saw your posting and thought I'd chime in to let you know that E-Z Play Today books are designed for absolute beginners at the keyboard or organ. Note names are shown in the note heads, large type is used for easy visibility, key signatures have been removed and accidentals apply only to the notes they precede, rhythms are simplified, accompaniments are chords only, chord changes occur only at the beginning or middle of a measure, the chords that are used are only major, minor and dominant seventh. For electronic keyboards and organs there are suggested rhythm tracks and only simple chords are played. So if you're brand new to keyboard or someone who's been away for some time and want to ease your way back in, this might be the songbook series for you until you're back up to speed and want to hit those fake books! Hope that helps.
Posted by: BillTheSlink

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/15/13 10:01 PM

Oh, OK. Thanks a lot.
Posted by: burkorobe

Re: Hal Leonard E-Z Play: I don't understand something - 01/15/13 10:15 PM

The fact that this style of music-making requires a little different type of learning shouldn't discourage you.