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piano "strumming" ...

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piano "strumming" ...

Post by scotchex on Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:36 pm

Hi, I've enjoyed your videos on YouTube and thought I'd register to ask you my question.

First, perhaps, let me explain where I'm coming from, musically. I've been playing guitar for 10 years or so. I typically just play rhythm guitar and accompany myself (or others) singing. I just play for enjoyment and it's just a hobby. And I'm primarily self-taught.

I primarily enjoy singing and learned guitar so I could accompany myself. Over the years I've learned a fair # of strumming patterns and some finger picking and a few flourishes here and there. Enough that I'm happy where I'm at. I can entertain myself, my little nephews, my girlfriend. Most rock and pop songs I can do passable versions of.

(Actually since my voice sounds like a Johnny Cash/Neil Diamond hybrid, I don't really sound like the original songs, but that's ok. It's always funny to do pop songs in a Johnny Cash voice. Well, at least it's funny to me.)

Anyway, I started learning piano/keyboard a while back. I own a keyboard, but my father has a traditional piano that I have regular access to.

What I'm looking for are the equivalent of "strumming patterns" for piano, if you know what I mean. At this stage I can play all the major and minor chords and their inversions. My problem is my piano playing sounds boring compared to my guitar playing -- it lacks rhythm and variety.

I do have one standard "strumming pattern" that I resort to while playing piano. Let's say I'm playing (in C) Paul Simon's You Can Call Me Al (a standard I-V-IV-V progression, IIRC). Typically I play two C's an octave apart with my left hand, and then play a C major with my right, first the C, then the E and G simultaneously, then the C again. The whole thing has a bum-ba-dum-ba feel to it. Oh, I hold the left-hand bass notes throughout.

I'll play the F and G in an inversion (A-C-F, and B-D-G), but do the same doubling of the bass note with my left hand.

So my pattern goes: (C-doubled)-(C)-(E-G)-(C) then (G-doubled)-(B)-(D-G)-(B) and so on. I hope that makes sense.

Can you suggest other good chord "strumming" patterns for piano that sound good with rock and pop songs?

I know I'm probably taking an overly guitar-centric view of the piano. Sorry for that.

My goal is to be able to play the piano like I play my guitar. I print out the lyrics with the chord progression written over the lyrics. Then I just play some strumming pattern that sounds stylistically similar to how the song goes, add a flourish or bass run here or there for variety's sake, and sing.

I know it can be done because years ago I took some singing lessons and my teacher would accompany me on her keyboard. And she'd play whatever song I brought in, and it sounded pretty good. I just want to be able to do what she did.

I hope my question made sense. And I appreciate any advice.

Thanks.

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Re: piano "strumming" ...

Post by Phi on Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:56 pm

Hi scotchex.
Welcome to the forums!!
I'm not as knowledgeable as Andrew but I thought I should give your question a go -as Andrew's been away for a while.
Hope you don't mind.

You could play arpeggios with your left hand to sort of "fill in" what you're playing.
For example, while playing the Cmaj chord with your right hand, play (C-G-C) with your left hand [instead of (double C)] in such a way that if flows with what you're playing.

Since you're a guitarist, I presume you'll be very good at forming chords to accompany singing. Its about the same thing on the piano -just knowing how a song goes, and whether to play a Gmajor chord or an Fmin7 chord. So the major challenge will be to ACTUALLY know what those chords consist of.
I don't know if I've made much sense.... maybe another forum member, or even Andrew could be of more help.

Edit: About the "You Can Call Me Al", other than playing the bass pattern (FFAC)(GGA#C) -the original song is in F, I can't think of a better way of making the left hand interesting.


Last edited by Phi on Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: piano "strumming" ...

Post by VictorCS on Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:39 am

When you strum or play patterns on the guitar you're actually playing arpeggios, lets say you pick 4-3-1-2 ( strings ),
you'll basically just pick the keys on the piano that equals to the strings on the guitar in that order.

Left hand on a piano is playing the chords on a guitar, while the right hand on a piano is like the voice...

Instruments are more like than we think lol!
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Re: piano "strumming" ...

Post by scotchex on Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:45 am

Thanks for the replies.

I think part of my problem is I'm having difficulty translating the percussive aspect of guitar strumming. The way I play guitar I use a lot of palm muting to get that "chck" sound from guitar on, usually, beats 2 and 4. I mean, I could totally mute my strings and just the strumming pattern alone would sound interesting, kind of driving or dance-able.

That and I'm also used to using a fair bit syncopation and chord anticipation (switching chords on the "and") as I play. Although I'm getting better at adding that to my piano playing.

The percussive aspect of guitar strumming might just be something I can't incorporate into my piano playing. When I play piano it just feels like somethings missing and maybe that's it. Maybe I'm trying to force a round peg into a square hole here.

Again, I appreciate the feedback.

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Re: piano "strumming" ...

Post by Admin Andrew on Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:07 pm

scotchex wrote:Thanks for the replies.

I think part of my problem is I'm having difficulty translating the percussive aspect of guitar strumming. The way I play guitar I use a lot of palm muting to get that "chck" sound from guitar on, usually, beats 2 and 4. I mean, I could totally mute my strings and just the strumming pattern alone would sound interesting, kind of driving or dance-able.

That and I'm also used to using a fair bit syncopation and chord anticipation (switching chords on the "and") as I play. Although I'm getting better at adding that to my piano playing.

The percussive aspect of guitar strumming might just be something I can't incorporate into my piano playing. When I play piano it just feels like somethings missing and maybe that's it. Maybe I'm trying to force a round peg into a square hole here.

Again, I appreciate the feedback.

WELCOME ^_^

You might be able to use the damper pedal to get a similar effect of palm muting.

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