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#2625494 - 03/20/17 06:29 PM Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies?  
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newbert Online content
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newbert  Online Content
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I've started learning to play from a lead sheet for the past few months, and am making steady progress with playing different rhythms, arpeggios, etc with the LH.

The melodies in my lead sheets are all simple single note melodies. I'd like to start learning how to "fill" the RH by adding some harmony there as well.

Are there any videos/books/courses/other suggestions that anyone can recommend specifically cover this?

Thanks!


Bert
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#2625497 - 03/20/17 06:41 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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rocket88 Offline
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Play with the RH some of the notes of the chord that you are in at the moment, as written in the lead sheet, but make sure that you place those notes below what is the single note melody as written, because the top note is the melody.

If you play notes above the written RH note, you will change the melody.

Experiment...try playing a third below the melody, or a sixth, or an octave, or some combination. If the chord is a Seventh, then add another seventh. Use your ear to determine what is best.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#2625503 - 03/20/17 07:06 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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pwl Offline
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There are a ton of YouTube videos, also books. Other folks will likely mention them - or you can just start exploring YouTube.

But I want to put in a plug for the oh-yeah-I-remember-that Sudnow Method. Specifically because it gives you simple instructions on constructing the RH chord notes. In your situation you can skip the "dot songs", since you are already playing from lead sheets.

Again, there are MANY good resources. The benefit of Sudnow is simple "rules" for RH harmony.

Sudnow Method

#2625516 - 03/20/17 08:04 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: rocket88]  
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JohnSprung Offline
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Play with the RH some of the notes of the chord that you are in at the moment, as written in the lead sheet, but make sure that you place those notes below what is the single note melody as written, ....


+1. But don't start by trying to do it at full playing speed.

Play a chord and melody note, and just stop and look and think about them. Look at the notes you're playing with the left hand, and see if one of the middle ones could be played an octave or two higher with the right instead. Less bunched up in the bass is usually a good idea.....



Last edited by JohnSprung; 03/20/17 08:07 PM.

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#2625526 - 03/20/17 08:46 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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Greener Offline

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Any harmony you add in your RH is likely to be redundant with the LH. It's OK though as you are not usually playing altogether. Your LH if broken chords is one note at a time also, so won't cause much conflict.

As mentioned the RH harmony is below the melody but will not occur on every beat. Typically just on the chord changes. Most of the melody will still be single note. The melody, as it needs to be the highest note will determine the orientation of how you play the chord below the melody in RH. Basically, whatever notes are within easy reach that are within the chord being played are game.

If playing more solid like chords with the LH, then as mentioned also, you would want to be more careful to spread out the notes between the hands and possibly avoiding duplication. It will all depend on the sound you want though. Thick or thin.

Also, watch for opportunities to play the melody in 3rds and perhaps alternating with 6ths. When it works it will be all the harmony you'll need in RH.

#2625529 - 03/20/17 08:50 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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newbert Online content
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newbert  Online Content
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Thank you all for your responses. After re-reading my opening post, I guess that I need to be more specific in my question......

I understand the basic idea of "Play with the RH some of the notes of the chord that you are in at the moment, as written in the lead sheet, but make sure that you place those notes below what is the single note melody as written, because the top note is the melody." as stated by Rocket88.

Am I correct in assuming that this requires playing the melody mostly (or exclusively?) with the RH pinkie finger? I've always used all 5 RH fingers to play melody, for the most part. It seems that using the pinkie finger so extensively would be quite a new way of playing. So, I guess that my real question is how to work through that transition.

Thanks again.



Bert
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#2625531 - 03/20/17 08:58 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: Greener]  
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pwl Offline
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Originally Posted by Greener
As mentioned the RH harmony is below the melody but will not occur on every beat. Typically just on the chord changes. Most of the melody will still be single note.

What Greener said. That is, the melody notes you'll play with your pinkie are just on the chord changes - the intervening notes will be single.

Sudnow, per my previous mention, makes this crystal clear.

#2625532 - 03/20/17 09:01 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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Greener Offline

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Originally Posted by newbert
...
Am I correct in assuming that this requires playing the melody mostly (or exclusively?) with the RH pinkie finger?


Not necessarily. You only have other notes to play in the RH for the chords, which is not all the time and may only be 1 out of 4 beats. Even then you may only need 2 or 3 fingers for the harmony, so won't always need to be your pinky for the melody. You're on to something though and your melody will usually be in the higher finger range, when playing full chord harmony below it in RH.

#2625543 - 03/20/17 10:02 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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rocket88 Offline
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Also, you don't have to always play multiple notes with the RH....I often play a few beats with multiple (2 or more) notes in the RH, followed by a short phrase with just one melody note in the RH.

The contrast is nice and (hopefully) artistic. A continuous onslaught of thick chords gets tiresome, just as can a continuous row of just single notes. Mixing it up can be very pleasant, and is one of the "tricks" that pros use.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#2625691 - 03/21/17 01:23 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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You might try playing the root and 5th in the LH, and the 3rd and 7th (and the melody) in the RH. That gives less of a "block chord" effect.

Playing the root and 7th in the LH, and other notes in the RH, is also effective.



. Charles
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#2625710 - 03/21/17 03:03 PM Re: Lead Sheets: Adding RH Harmonies? [Re: newbert]  
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I like Bill Hilton's tutorials.

https://www.youtube.com/user/billhiltonbiz

There is loads of material about harmony, improvising and so on, on YouTube, but I'm trying to nail down to a few ones, and stick to them. Bill Hilton will be one of them.


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