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#2172025 - 10/25/13 07:48 PM Playing Chords Only......
Duane Graves Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 32
I play by note and by ear....I am self-taught and have been playing for over 20 years mostly in private but some of the time I play publicly. I want to ask if there is a way to just play chords in piano playing an example of what I mean is this I play guitar also finger style and with a pick and I say this to say that some songs I simply strum along to the beat of it chord by chord. You know like root-IV-V....with some variations but you know...strum or chord right through the song. As you know it is a common thing with guitars but can this be done with a piano in some similar fashion?

Here's the thing I want to be able to sit at the piano and play ANY song that singers want to play even though I don't know the tune and therefore cannot play note for note. I hope I'm clear enough to get valuable answers and perhaps there are utube examples etc some would know of. Thank you, Duane.

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#2172034 - 10/25/13 08:05 PM Re: Playing Chords Only...... [Re: Duane Graves]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6364
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
My main gig is doing exactly this - we have fiddles that play the melody. Since we play traditional American tunes I often just use oom-pah in the left with a chord on the off-beat in the right. But in waltzes I add little frills and runs in either hand for decorations on the long notes. I think it's not unusual at all for backing singers or melody instruments. Since your ear is good - go for it.

Cathy
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2172040 - 10/25/13 08:22 PM Re: Playing Chords Only...... [Re: Duane Graves]
pwl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/13
Posts: 350
Loc: Bay Area CA
A valuable, fairly new resource is Mike Greensill's "Playing For Singers". Perhaps more than you want to know there, but a fine book from an accomplished musician.

http://www.mikegreensill.com/mikebook/book.html

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#2172190 - 10/26/13 04:33 AM Re: Playing Chords Only...... [Re: Duane Graves]
Brian Lucas Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 1139
Loc: Nashville, TN
Absolutely Duane. In fact, that's the way almost all popular music is played. The player either gets a chord chart (F Bb Dm... etc) or a number chart (1 4 6m...). Rarely do I ever get a piece of sheet music to play from, even in the studio. That's also why fake books have become so popular. There are fake books for jazz, pop, country, broadway and a bunch more that have hundreds of songs in them with just the melody to sing or play and chords to go along with them. When I was doing a lot of lounge type gigs, I'd carry a bunch of these with me. That way if someone said "Do you know [some random song]?", if it was in one of the books, the answer was "Sure I do!". Made for better tips.
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BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
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#2173159 - 10/28/13 12:04 PM Re: Playing Chords Only...... [Re: Duane Graves]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 494
Loc: Midwest USA
Originally Posted By: Duane Graves
I play by note and by ear....I am self-taught and have been playing for over 20 years mostly in private but some of the time I play publicly. I want to ask if there is a way to just play chords in piano playing an example of what I mean is this I play guitar also finger style and with a pick and I say this to say that some songs I simply strum along to the beat of it chord by chord. You know like root-IV-V....with some variations but you know...strum or chord right through the song. As you know it is a common thing with guitars but can this be done with a piano in some similar fashion?

Here's the thing I want to be able to sit at the piano and play ANY song that singers want to play even though I don't know the tune and therefore cannot play note for note. I hope I'm clear enough to get valuable answers and perhaps there are utube examples etc some would know of. Thank you, Duane.


You bet, that's all I do. An arpeggio of the chord in my right hand. Just come up with a phrasing & rhythm and play it until the next chord change. Left hand plays the same chord, but a bass line.

My trumped up version of EJ's Your Song, in C. Chords are C,F,G, Em,etc. Got the chords from Chordie.com where somebody transcribed it for guitar. Where I stole it back to piano.
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view my profile for a link to my YT page.

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