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Playing chords with melody

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  • Playing chords with melody

    Continued from https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...n-to-get/page2 where we have gone off-topic.

    I follow what you say, andyg, but don’t find it easy or quick to fit the best chords to the melody. Whenever possible I think I should stick to tunes for which I can get the music showing melody and chords. I’m old enough to be lazy when I feel like it 😔
    Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
    Current: Yamaha AR-100

  • #2
    I'm trying to figure out what I did decades ago - before i blew my back and gave up on most anything. I've gotten down a lot more chords and am starting to get relaxed with finding the keys. I actually had a miracle happen last Tuesday. I was at Rutgers University and with very few people around and decided to play their piano (very quietly). At some stage a student came by -and started playing the same song beside me. I offered to let him have it and he said - keep playing whatever you know and lets see where it goes. We had to quit after 20 minutes but we had about 20 people listening when i looked up. The guy was superb.


    • #3
      I will share with you, what I remember from my teaching days, 50 years ago. If you know the notes that are to be used in forming a major, minor, diminished or augmented chord, try changing the order of the notes between the F below middle C, to the F above middle C. This is called "inverting" the chord. If you fit the notes of your chords within that range of F to F around middle C, you will have started to organize your chord structures. Start with some simple chords, like C - G and F. C major will fit only one set of notes within this "fence" of notes, from F to F around middle C. And that is playing the G below middle C with the little finger, middle C with the index finger, and E with the thumb. Then play the G chord, as it can only be played within the "fence", playing G below middle C with the little finger, the B with the middle finger, and the D with the thumb.

      The F chord can be played either "low" as F - A - C, using the 5th finger, 3rd finger, and thumb, or it can be played as the "high position", playing A with the 4th finger, middle C with the 2nd finger, and F with the thumb. Repeating these chords without looking at your left hand is the best way of getting used to playing these chords, and any additional chords you learn, you should also practice playing the same way....by not looking at your left hand as soon as possible.

      When you get into four note chords, (6ths, 7ths, major 7ths) extend your "fence" of allowable notes you play. Extend your fence to E below middle C, and G above middle C. Again, lots of repetition, alternating between other chords you know and incorporating a newly learned chord into your repetition is the best way to learn. As soon as you can, start playing new chords by not looking at your left hand. It takes time to get used to playing chords this way, but it will eventually become an automatic left hand response that becomes easier as you get the "hang" of playing chords this way. A good exercise is to play through all the chord symbols in the music you are working on. Just keep on practicing the chords separately from the melody, until you are confident about playing the chords without looking at your left hand.


      • #4
        Great advice you have explained this simply clearly


        • #5
          The F to F 'fence' is sound advice, of course. You probably don't need to jump over it for 6ths, 7ths and diminisheds if you invert them, and do remember that one of the notes in the chord will be played in the pedal, so you can miss that one out if you wish, or if it's more convenient to do so.

          OK, you'll eventually have to cross the fence a little more when you get to some of the more exotic chords like 13ths, and the E to G range should cover just about anything.

          But almost all chords that most players will need to use can be kept inside the fence. It makes for what I call a 'lazy left hand' that doesn't have to move that much.

          And the rest of Jay's advice about practising chords is spot-on!
          It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

          New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

          Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
          Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
          Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
          Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1


          • #6
            Jay and Andy, thank you. I just wish I had the musical talent to do these things without making hard work of it.
            Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
            Current: Yamaha AR-100


            • Jay999
              Jay999 commented
              Editing a comment
              Rodger: Even the most talented of musicians will admit to you, talent counts for about 5% of learning to make music. The other 95% is work. Playing a musical instrument for most of us
              is a skill. You only master a skill by repetition. Start out by knowing that what you practice today, will need practicing tomorrow, and for quite a number of tomorrows, until you've "nailed" it. In the beginning, be satisfied with 20 minute practice sessions. Take one project, no more....such as learning to play the C to G chords, using the proper fingers. Work on that first looking at your hand, until you understand the mechanics involved, and then work on it not looking at your hand. Continue with your learning of this first chord exercise for several days. When you have accomplished this (and be sure you can easily play the two chords without looking), then you have mastered your first skill. In the beginning of teaching yourself how to play...don't over doo your projects. Just take one project at a time, and master it. Also, keep your practice sessions short enough where your mind doesn't start drifting away from what you are working on. The minute you sense that you are drifting, shut down today's practice session and come back to your project tomorrow. Hope this helps, and good luck.

          • #7
            Only 5% talent! Well, perhaps I’m better than I thought. You’re right, of course, about repetitive practice and I must summon up the necessary patience and battle on. Thanks for the continued interest.
            Roger (no ‘d’).
            Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
            Current: Yamaha AR-100