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Looking for some exercises or pieces to help with this.

What I mean is to be playing a constant rhythm with the left and a melody/improv with the right.

Like in Green Onions when the single notes start on the right hand but the bassline bit stays the same with the left my hands want to play on the beat with each other.
Also trying to keep the any constant thing going with the left and messing about with the right One hand tried to copy the other

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The key for me is to go really slow. Then I have time to think when each beat should be played.
If I make a mistake, I go back and try it slower still.
Once I find a speed I can play, I simply keep on playing and playing until it becomes natural.


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Originally Posted by paradice
Looking for some exercises or pieces to help with this.

What I mean is to be playing a constant rhythm with the left and a melody/improv with the right.


I'm not sure what your level is, but this one may fit the bill for you. It initially sounded easy to me until I took a go at it. The timing took some time to sort out and as I recall it was all about hand independence. Also, a fun piece to play once dialed in.




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Originally Posted by paradice
Looking for some exercises or pieces to help with this...


Any piece where you have to work on it will help. Especially if you like the piece.


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I'm with Medden on this. Speaking as a drummer also (don’t judge me too harshly!), until you train your brain to individually coordinate your limbs and digits which goes against your natural instinct to be symmetrical/parallel you need to go very slowly to break that programming….painfully slow!...and it can be very frustrating when you know what you want your hands to do, but can’t get those individual messages to them! However, if you keep at it and get back on the bike every time you fall off then one day you will naturally crack it!!

The piece I’m learning at the moment has some basic individual rhythms independent of each hand. It’s Reverie by Debussy, which has triplets on the right hand playing off a straight arpeggio on the left hand for certain sections. It’s also a very beautiful piece of music in any case so that helps to sustain interest and ambition!


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I've not hear Debussy played on the drums before Dave. I will look forward to hearing that! wink

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very good! :p

I bet he would have been a bit tasty on the drums because some of his rhythms are insanely intricate!

...maybe his foot work would have let him down though! wink


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- Turn on your metronome (or a drum track if you prefer it) at a comfortable speed for your left hand chords, not too fast but not painfully slow: you need to feel the beat.

- Play first only the left hand of the piece you're working on: keep going until you can play the chords in a relaxed but accurate manner. This steady left hand needs to become a habit before you mess it up with the right hand.

- When your left hand is going pretty much automatically, add just a short passage in the right hand from time to time. Keep the right hand passages short and make sure you keep going back to playing left hand alone, checking that the left hand is always stable.

- When the short right hand passages are going well, try some longer ones.

You'll get there in the end. It's worth the effort: you will have learnt a skill cherished not only by great jazz pianists, but also by Mozart and C.P.E. Bach!


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IME there's no such thing as 'independence'. Instead, I think we build up a collection of LH/RH intricacies each of which has to be learnt. Then, each one having been learnt, it may or may not make a similar test of 'independence' that little bit easier. When we have a huge collection of intricacies we might start to believe that we have achieved true independence then, lo and behold, we encounter something else that we can't do! Obviously the more ground you cover, the better prepared you'll be.

In the case of Green Onions, I assume you're playing a single note bass line in the LH with a single note melody in the RH? There are quite a few versions on various sheets some of which might have been set up as lead sheets. They're not always easily playable. The best way to approach this as suggested above is to play the Green Onions riff - or the particular bar which is giving you trouble - dead slow. If you can zone in on the particular problem and turn it into a 2-beat or even single-beat loop exercise, all the better.

There's no point in looking for some general independence-improving exercise, instead just focus on the problem at hand. When you encounter another difficulty - and you will, we all do - just focus on it.

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In addition to the good suggestions above, you might work in 200 Short Two-Part Canons by Konrad Max Kunz. Playing those have helped me quite a bit.


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thanks for all the suggestions people, it's good to know that it is in fact a hard thing to get to grips with!

Originally Posted by dire tonic
IME there's no such thing as 'independence'. Instead, I think we build up a collection of LH/RH intricacies each of which has to be learnt.

There's no point in looking for some general independence-improving exercise, instead just focus on the problem at hand. When you encounter another difficulty - and you will, we all do - just focus on it.


I suppose for improvising it's about having a bag of licks up your sleeve rather than truely being able to keep a bassline going and do what you want with the right!

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Originally Posted by dire tonic
IME there's no such thing as 'independence'. Instead, I think we build up a collection of LH/RH intricacies each of which has to be learnt. Then, each one having been learnt, it may or may not make a similar test of 'independence' that little bit easier. When we have a huge collection of intricacies we might start to believe that we have achieved true independence then, lo and behold, we encounter something else that we can't do!


I find this to be true in my own experience as well. I remember it being really tough when I first encountered it as a beginner. When it comes back later due to a new "intricacy" in a new piece, you know it for what it is, but you still have to get past it with slow practice. At least this is what I have found.


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Originally Posted by dire tonic
IME there's no such thing as 'independence'. Instead, I think we build up a collection of LH/RH intricacies each of which has to be learnt.
I don't know that "independence" is the correct term. I think it's more of mentally breaking the hands apart, destroying the dependence on each other if you will. For example, when the RH is playing eighth notes and the LH quarter, the LH may want to also play eighths. This is the initial problem I see with rhythm.

If this is the problem (or to test this). Do this.
1. Put a metronome on a slow tempo (to keep you honest).
2. Play quarter notes with your left hand.
3. Begin by playing quarter notes in your RH. Then switch to eighths, while keeping the LH on quarters. See if there is a problem.
4. Experiment with different rhythms in each hand to find the ones that give you mental problems.

I agree as time goes on, you stop seeing each hand as one rhythm and begin to see how they intertwine to create one intricate rhythm. I just think it's hard to do that until each hand isn't trying to mimic the rhythm of the other.


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Originally Posted by Brian Lucas
I don't know that "independence" is the correct term. I think it's more of mentally breaking the hands apart, destroying the dependence on each other if you will. For example, when the RH is playing eighth notes and the LH quarter, the LH may want to also play eighths. This is the initial problem I see with rhythm.

If this is the problem (or to test this). Do this.
1. Put a metronome on a slow tempo (to keep you honest).
2. Play quarter notes with your left hand.
3. Begin by playing quarter notes in your RH. Then switch to eighths, while keeping the LH on quarters. See if there is a problem.
4. Experiment with different rhythms in each hand to find the ones that give you mental problems.

I agree as time goes on, you stop seeing each hand as one rhythm and begin to see how they intertwine to create one intricate rhythm. I just think it's hard to do that until each hand isn't trying to mimic the rhythm of the other.

I completely agree with this post. I have found the more intricate the left hand patterns become, the easier it is to master them quickly, regardless of what the right hand patterns are. It took a while (still does in fact) but now this topic is no longer at the top of my list of "worries".


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I have the same problem, but with the big issue being playing at different volumes. Different rhythms are only a small issue laugh.

My teacher told me to "shadow play" one hand. That is, play the piece, but instead of actually pressing the keys with each hand, silently place the fingers of one hand on the keys they would normally play. So you should hear only one hand, but the "silent" hand will get to practice feeling where the keys are. Eventually this should help you play both together normally. And, of course, the slower you go, the less difficult this is.

Good luck! This is a critical skill and I know I won't stop until I've acquired it.


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Originally Posted by dpaws
[quote=dire tonic]

I find this to be true in my own experience as well. I remember it being really tough when I first encountered it as a beginner.

I doubt very much that somebody remembers his first experience in rhythmic coordination - it occurs naturally when we learn to walk and talk at the same time in different rhythms. We all are able do it, but very old people lose this ability. It is true that we learn to walk and talk separately, but here there is a stage that is completely absent on acoustic piano: possibility to combine the correct moves with mistakes in speech , and vice versa .
When we make coordination mistakes at the piano in these cases our ears automatically brakes hands, and there's nothing we can do about it.However, if you to use the digital keyboard in split mode, in this case, while playing with both hands we hear   at the choice only one of them , and mistakes of other hand almost do not disturbˈ us : we do not hear them.
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Another idea that might help is transposing hands up or down an octave or even two. Once you have it fairly well in hand as written, take the right up an octave. Mostly it carries across, but there is a little getting used to that you have to do.

A good one to start with is "La Vie en Rose" -- you can take the hands all over the place with that one. It's trickier when the melody goes back and forth between the hands, like in "Seems Like Old Times".


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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

Another idea that might help is transposing hands up or down an octave or even two.
In this case, we can better hear each hand separately. Any similar approach suitable: play loud one hand, and the other quietly; play with one hand legato, other staccato .

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Any similar approach suitable: play loud one hand, and the other quietly; play with one hand legato, other staccato .


These are advanced abilities that many people can do only when they already have basic hand independence functioning.

And most can only do these with additional focused work.

And once you can do these advanced abilities, (one hand loud, the other quiet, etc) you most likely have "arrived" and do not have much of a problem with hand independence.

The OP appears to be nowhere near this level, instead appears to be at the beginning of hands separate ability.


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Originally Posted by rocket88


These are advanced abilities that many people can do only when they already have basic hand independence functioning.

And most can only do these with additional focused work.

.
In this regard, there are special exercises for beginners:
1. Play with both hands simultaneously, only one sound; one arm fast jumps and touches the tip of the nose, the other continues to hold the key; then change hands.
2 Play two sounds together with both hands when one hand is not detached from keys, the other presses the key and bounces off to the nose.
This way is broken the hard mechanical dependence between movements of both hands on the keyboard. Tested on experience ...

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