Piano Accompaniment

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Many musicians play with a bassist the same way as they play solo, technically, this is incorrect. You can do it at times but you have to 'pick your spots'. Personally I don't prefer this type of playing. If your left hand plays the C two octaves below a middle C on the keyboard while the bassist play a C note, it tends to produce a muddy type of sound, which is something you don't want!

Here are a few options you can apply instead of playing what the bassist is playing.

We'll do the example in the key of C (since many of you are familiar with your chords this should be easy to understand)

Here are the first two very important things you should know:

1) Play anything except what the bassist is playing, the options are endless, will explain below.

2) Let your left-hand play chords notes around middle C, whatever the key, your ear will tell you if your sound is getting too muddy.

Now, in the key of C you will use major7, minor7, dominant7 and diminished seventh chords.

Important: you need to learn to play these type of chords with your left hand in various inversions, but as you play you discover which inversions work for you.

Now, this is not rocket science, here is an example below:

Let's use this example below, we'll take the following progression: (2-5-1=Dmin7-G7-CMaj7) in the key of C,

2-BASSIST=D

Your Left Hand=CF

Your Right Hand=CFA or CEFA (Dmin9)
5-BASS=G

YLH=BF

YRH=DGB or FACE (G9)

1-BASS=C

YLH= BE or CE (around middle C or just below middle C)

YRH= EGC or DGC (Cadd9) or BDEG (Cmaj9)

In any chord or say{Cmaj7=C(1)E(3)G(5)B(7th).... the third tells whether the chord is major or minor and the 7th tells whether the chord is stable or not, that's why in the key of C when you finish a song you don't play C dominant7 but you play a Cmaj7. G in the key of C is unstable it wants to go somewhere, that's why you'll play it as a G7 chord.

If you notice on my left hand I uses the 3's and the 7's of each chord for these are the most important notes in any given chord...you can add other notes to these to add flavor as long as they include the 3 and the 7(the same chords that I used for the right you can also use for the left hand, because they include 3 and the 7.

A minor 3rd and flat a flat 7 in a dominant chord is called a tritone,e.g. G7=GBDF, the B and the F are called a tritone.

When playing chords with your left hand, you can also play scales with your right hand, that's how the jazz guys play.

Experiment also with chords on your right hand when playing dominant chords,

G7-BASS=G
LH =BF
RH =BEAb(E Major chord), this gives you G13b9 chord.

Enjoy your learning.

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Jay Mtimkulu has 1 articles online

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Piano Accompaniment

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This article was published on 2010/03/27