Archive for October, 2014


Piano Runs and Fills You Can Learn To Play

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
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Piano Runs and Fills You Can Learn To Play

Good morning. This is Duane, your headless piano teacher, and today I’d like to cover two or three of the piano runs and fills that great pianists use. Now they use many, many kinds of runs, and we’ve cataloged those runs and organized them in a course that we sell, but I’d just like to show you some of those, just a few of those as I have time in this short little video.
One technique that great pianists use is called a straddle.
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You know that there’s a three-note chord called a triad. That’s a C triad. Well, if you leave out the middle note, and just play the outside
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The bottom and the top, that’s called a straddle. It’s like if this was the white line of a road, of a highway, you’re straddling the white line, so your right foot is on the right side, and your left foot is on the other side. You’re straddling it. Okay?
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And it gives an open voicing sound, and that’s what we’re after. Now, as we turn the chord upside down, from here to here
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We do the same thing. We leave out the middle note. So we’re playing now the third on the bottom and the root on top and octave higher. If we invert it again, we play the same chord, but we leave the middle one out again, so we’re straddling
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All the time. If we go up another inversion, then instead of playing C, E, G
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We’ll straddle it and play C, G.
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I’m going to come down
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I suggest to learn the technique, you just take two inversions
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Like the root position, you use your thumb and your third finger perhaps, and your second and your fifth on the next inversion
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And just practice going back and forth between that
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Until you can do that easily. Now you can do four-note straddles as well. And what you do
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On a four-note straddle is you play two at a time, but you’re always straddling one.
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It’s like there’s four notes in that D minor 7th chord, so if I play two
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Straddling one, and then two
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Straddling one. See that.
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Now in actual practice
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See that? Okay, that’s how you would use a straddle in actual practice. Now, another kind of run that pianists use is even simpler than that. It’s called the two-one breakup, and
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You just play the two top notes of a chord, and then use your opposing thumb
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On the bottom note. Two one
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Then invert it up,
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Two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one
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Two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one,
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Two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one, two one,
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Okay? Now you can do that with a four-note chord. You’d just do three one.
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Three one, three one, three one, three one, three one,
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Three one, three one, three one, three one, three one, three one, three one, three one, three. You see that. Okay. Another kind of run that great pianists use is called the tremolo fired run. They start with a tremolo. You know what a tremolo is.
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It’s a shaking of notes. Let’s take a G 9th chord and voice it
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With a 7th. I’ll play the G down here in the left hand.
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Probably play an octave, but you can’t see my bottom note.
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But anyway, you get the idea. Playing a G octave.
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And in my right hand I’m voicing the G 9th chord with a 7th on the bottom,
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Then the 9th, and the 3rd, and the 5th. Okay.
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Now, I tremolo that. I shake that, okay?
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And you can do it on any chord. Let’s do in on B flat.
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On A.
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B flat, and so on.
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Now let’s come back to G just for simplicities sake. Okay? Now as soon as I start shaking that
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Then I break it up from the bottom up.
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And then tuck my thumb under and do the same thing in the next octave, and the same thing in the next octave.
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And go as high as I want.
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I don’t want to get out of camera view there.
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See I’ll just do it three octaves now.
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See that?
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You just rapidly run up and down the keyboard by tucking your thumb under that
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Like so. Okay? And again, you can do it on any
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Any chord
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Okay. That’s called a tremolo fired run. And in actual fired practice, they don’t use the tremolo long. Say you’re playing along.
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You see that? The tremolo just got started,
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Then it shot up. It fired off that run like so. But you didn’t tremolo long. Now there’s occasions where you might use a longer tremolo
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But not too frequently. Usually it’s just a little
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Tremolo, and then up the keyboard and back down. Well, that’s just three of perhaps 70 or so runs and fills that are cataloged by us here at Keyboard Workshop. So thanks for being with me. If you like these free tips and video, then subscribe to our free newsletter, which comes about every three days by email, called Piano Chords and Progressions Newsletter. Go over to PlayPiano.com. That’s all one word, PlayPiano.com, and sign up for it. And it’s free. And we have a lot of courses you can buy as well, including a course on runs and fills. But you’re certainly under no obligation to do that. So, thanks for being with me, and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye for now.
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Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXT3AhdNlKM
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Alternating Swing Bass Piano Technique

Friday, October 24th, 2014
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Left-Hand Piano Style #3 – Alternating Swing Bass Piano Technique

Good morning, this is Duane. This is our third session of left hand arranging. We’re doing a series on arranging, first with the left hand, then with the right hand and then with both hands. The first style we took up in the left hand was simply strumming the chord, that’s probably the easiest way to start. If you’re a beginner you just play the chord over and over again. In any case, you just repeat the chord rhythmically either on every beat or every other beat or any combination thereof.

The second technique we took up is called the swing bass where our left hand swung back and forth between a low note and a chord. If the chord was C then we’d hit a low C with our little finger then come and play the chord and the chord could be played in any inversion. Chords, of course, have different inversions, they could be turned upside so I could take the C off the bottom and put it on top and it’s still the C chord or I could put it in second inversion where the C is in the middle like so. If I’m a beginner I want to keep my hand fairly close so I can swing, I don’t have to get lost going down there and look, I can just swing back and forth easily between a low note and a chord.

Now today, I’d like to teach a variety of that, it’s called the alternating swing  bass piano technique. Instead of always hitting the low C, always the low root, you hit the fifth of the chord on the alternate beat. Another words, the fifth of the C chord is one, two, three, four, five. Instead of hitting a low C every time, we’d go down and alternate with the low G, the fifth of the chord. We’d still play the C chord. It’s low C, C chord, low G, C chord, low C. If the chord is F then the alternate note is the fifth of the F chord which is C. Back to the C chord. If the chord is G, we hit the low G on the first beat and then we hit the fifth of the G chord which is D but it’s a good idea to go down and hit a lower G. You see that. That’s called the alternating bass where you alternate between the low root and the fifth.

Now if you’re in 3/4 time or any multiple of 3 and then you’d hit a low note and then two chords and then the alternate note and two chords. So like that. Now that would even apply to advanced piano playing. One the first example, we’d played Misty and we played the chord on every beat but we could do this. You see that, I’m hitting the low root then the chord and then the alternate note and then the chord, F, alternate note, G seventh, alternate note, whatever the chord is. You can do it in a simple way or you can do it in a more advanced way or any combination thereof. That’s called the alternating bass.

That was the third left hand arranging technique and tomorrow we’ll take up the fourth left hand arranging technique. Stay tuned and the more of these techniques you learn the better because you can add more variety to your piano playing that way. Thank for being with me and if you enjoy these little tips come on over to Play Piano and sign up for them. Hope to see you there. Bye-bye for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_ZQW_7AKVc&feature=youtu.be

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The Bottom-Top-Middle-Top Piano Arranging Technique

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
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The Alberti Bass Piano Arranging Technique

 

Good morning. This is Duane, and we’re involved in a series of arranging styles on the keyboard. We’ve taken up three of them so far, and today’s going to be the fourth. The first three had to do with chords, and a chording first is just strumming the chord, and then next we took up the swing bass where our left hand swung back and forth between a low note and a chord, whatever the chord is. Then we took up the alternating bass, which uses the 5th of the chord as the low note every other strike. One two, three four, one two, three four.

Now we’re going to take up the fourth kind of style in the left hand, and it’s known as the Alberti bass piano arranging technique or style. Some people call it the inside out technique, and that’s fine, too. What you do is whatever the chord is you take the bottom note and the top note and the middle note like that and you alternate them. Bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, memorize that. Bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top. Or you can hit the bottom just once and then just alternate between the 5th and the 3rd. Bottom top, middle top, middle top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, middle top, middle top, middle top.

Now this is a third note technique, so when you have a 7th chord, what do you do? Where do you leave out the 5th? One two three four five. You leave out the 5th and play one two, bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, like so. You leave out the 5th of the chord because obviously you don’t have time to play four different notes.

Lets take it on at several different chords. How about C minor? Bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top. See that? Lets take F7. bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top. F 7th is root, third, 5th, 7th. We leave out the 5th. Bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top. Usually after you play the Alberti bass, whatever it is, then you play a low note to end the sequence or end the phrase. Not always but usually it wraps it up a little better.

I’m going to play it now with a few chords in the right hand just so you can see a fuller style. That’s a major 7th chord. Bottom top, middle top, bottom top, middle top, middle top. You see they can be complex chords as well. You start out simply with a three note basic chord, but as you get more advanced you can start adding major 7th to the sequence or whatever.

That’s it for left hand style number four, called the Alberti bass. By the way, it was named after a composer named Alberti that used that style a great deal, but others after him used it a great deal, too, but it was named after him. Thanks for being with me, and if you enjoy these little piano tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips. I know you will enjoy them because the knowledge accumulates over time and you get a wider variety of styles under your fingers. You build a toolbox of arranging techniques and that can only end in a good place. Thanks. Bye bye for now.

On YouTube: The Alberti Bass Piano Arranging Technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec5JoI-n-0w&feature=youtu.be

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Swing Bass Piano Style

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
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Left Hand Arranging – Swing Bass Piano Style

Good morning. This is Duane, and yesterday I began a series on arranging styles. I said we’re going to take up left hand arranging styles first and then right hand arranging styles, and then both hand arranging styles, two-hand arranging styles.

Yesterday I introduced the first arranging style. That was simply chords in the left hand played consecutively on every beat, or every other beat, or every fourth beat, or whatever it calls for. We used “Misty” to illustrate. We said that in addition to playing the chords like that we could also strum them. We illustrated the Garner style.

Today we’re going to take that a step further and we’re going to get into the swing bass piano style. It’s called a swing bass because your left hand swings between a chord and a low note. That low note, for now it will be the root of the chord. In others words, if you’re playing the C chord the low note will be the root and you’ll swing from the low root up to the chord. Now if you’re beginning, I strongly urge you to hit that C and then play a chord, the C chord, upside down so you’re a lot closer. You see, that’s a lot closer than going like that or like that.

If you prefer to do that, that’s fine, because that’s ultimately what you’ll do, but I you want to just start out easy, just hit the root there and then hit the chord upside down. Could be a second inversion or a first inversion of the C chord. Let’s just do that for a while. I’ll presume you’re a beginner. Push down your damper peddle, the peddle on the right, and just hit the low root and then the chord. The root, the chord, the root, chord.

Now if you’re in 3/4 time of course it will be one two three, one two three, one two three. If you’re in 4/4 time it could either be one two three four or just a root on the first beat: one two three four, one two three four, F two three four. It depends on the context of the song and you’ll sense that as you get into various songs.

That’s the swing bass. Now, you say “Well that’s really easy.” It is, but you need to learn it on all the keys. Let’s just do it on C, and on D flat, and on D, and on E, E flat, and on E, and on F, and on G flat or F sharp, and on G, on A flat, and on A, on B flat, and B, and back to C. You need to learn it on all the major chords and then you need to learn all minor chords. We won’t go through all the minor and diminished and augmented chords, but in due time you need to do that.

Now just to illustrate how you can use that as you get more advanced, let me just play a more advanced tune. I’ll do it in the key of E flat and you’ll see me play low note, chord, low note, chord, low note, chord, low note, chord, low note, chord, low note, chord. I’m playing E flat and then E flat 6th. I’m playing E and then E diminished. I’m playing F, F minor 7th, B flat 7th. See that? Now, speed up a little bit.

Now, you see the middle part I used the chord in every bit. Did you notice that? We haven’t taken up walk-ups yet but what I do is I walk up and then I played the A flat 7th chord. In other words, I stopped the swing bass and just went to chords like the first technique. As we get more advanced we’re going to mix it up so that you’ll have some of this and some of this and so on, because that’s what makes a song interesting.

In the right hand I just played chords under the melody, but later on I’m going to show you how to … you see that. I’m breaking up the chords, and we’ll take that up as the right hand arranging style later on. But today your job is to learn and master the left hand chording style of swing bass. I shouldn’t say master, but if you’re a beginner, get started on it. Because that’s one of the main techniques that you’ll be using in the left hand, of course, mixed with the lots of other things that we’re going to take up soon.

Thanks for being with me. We’ll see you tomorrow with the number three left hand arranging technique, so we’ll see you then. Bye bye for now.

 

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axOuG9Em6Ug&feature=youtu.be

 

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How To Strum a Chord On The Piano – Left Hand Arranging Style #1

Monday, October 20th, 2014
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Start Arranging On The Piano by Learning to Strum a Chord in Your Left Hand

 

Good morning this is Duane and today I’m going to start a series on arranging. I’m going to do a series of videos on left hand arranging styles and right hand arranging styles, and then put it together for two hand arranging styles. A lot of people have requested that over the years, and I just never had gotten around to it fully. We’re going to do that starting today and we’re going to take up the first left hand arranging style.

Let me talk about what I mean by arranging. Some people are scared off by that word and they visualize a composer writing copious notes on paper and so on. That’s arranging too, that’s complicated arranging. This is on the spot arranging, it’s learning to play a song any way that it’s not as written. In other words, it’s not off the printed sheet. You’re making it up by reading chords symbols, or you’re playing it by ear, or any combination thereof, but you’re not playing it as written.

There are numerous, numerous arranging techniques as you will learn over the years. Everything from simple chords strumming to really complicated stuff and on and on, arranging encompasses all of that. We’re going to start out very, very simply. The first left hand chord, left hand arranging style I’d like to take up is chord strumming – how to strum a chord on the piano. Chord strumming means that; it’s just like you’re strumming a guitar, except on a piano you probably hit the notes all at once. There is a different kind of chord strumming where you break it up like a guitar. You can probably let the pedal, push down the pedal, the right pedal, the sustain pedal as you do that.

Let me just take it very simply and then I’ll show you how it can be applied in a little more advanced way. Let’s say that I’m playing. I was playing the melody in the right hand and my left hand was just playing on every beat. Now does it have to play on every beat; certainly not. You might start out like that with one chord every measure, or two chords a measure. Or four chords a measure; one on every beat, or how about eighth notes, and there’s a place for each one of those. If you’re just staring out playing piano that’s where I would start.

Take a simple song, like maybe When The Saints Go Marching In, and play that on your left hand. Just take simple chords and get started, you can switch between the chords. Now there are a lot of varieties to that; for example, you could do this. What am I doing here? I’m kind of echoing the rhythm of the melody. The melody goes one, two, three, four; one, two, three four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, one, one, one, one. You see that, kind of echoing the rhythm of the melody and that’s a possibility too.

For those of you that think this wouldn’t apply to advanced piano playing, let me show you how Erroll Garner used it; see that. He strummed the chords from the bottom like that. Then he’d punctuate it by, with the low note now and then, but we’ll take that up on a subsequent style. For now you can just play. See this; I’m strumming from the bottom, whatever the chord is. If you’re a beginner, just play the basic chord, the “C” chord. I’m playing a major 7th, C-major 7th there and with 9th in too. Makes it real cluttered. You may not like that; if you don’t just simplify it by playing the basic chord, in other words…

I want you to see how similar simple and advanced is. It’s really the same thing. It’s just a matter of getting enough technique under your fingers and knowing enough about chords that you can play the more complex chords in a more, maybe a more advanced ways. That’s where to start, by strumming a chord. Either on every beat or every other beat, or once a measure, or eight times a measure; just some combination, but try that.

That’s arranging technique in the left hand, number one. Thanks for being with me and if you enjoy these tips come on over and sign up for them. Tomorrow we’ll do arranging technique number two in the left hand. We’ll see you then. Bye-bye for now.

Here is the video on  YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDmgpm2VlHY&feature=youtu.be

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