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one handed keyboard


alecras234

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Hi my name's Ash, im 39 and im disabled, i use a wheelchair. I have limited movement and can only use my left hand (not fully) which is part of my disability. I try to play the keyboard and i use midi files and then i play the melody or bass while the file plays. I can play triads with my thumb, first finger and middle finger but i can stretch my fingers far to play chords which makes me think i can't play keyboard properly. I've had an offer to have a jam in a Queen tribute band and i've had a go at practicing chords of the song Killer Queen which starts on Cminor which is no problem, then it goes to Bb 7, i just play Bbmajor which is a bit of a stretch and the notes don't play all at once, then goes to Eb major. The next part is hard and i can't get it right, it it goes from Eb to D G Bb, Db G Bb. My fingers won't stretch. I was told that i can just play bass and lead instead of playing chords but that won't be right in a band as thre'd need to be piano. I don't know what to do about it?
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Hey Ash, have you checked out any of the recent run of mini-keyboards from Yamaha (Reface series), Roland (JD-XI, D-05, others), Korg, and other manufacturers? These boards have 1/2" (12mm) key widths instead of the standard 3/4" (18mm) piano key width. Depending on your left hand dexterity -- and for that matter, finger size -- the half-inch keys maybe a bit liberating.

 

Also worth checking out are mini-key controllers from Korg, M-Audio, and others, if you already have a sound source that you like.

-Tom Williams

{First Name} {at} AirNetworking {dot} com

PC4-7, PX-5S, AX-Edge, PC361

 

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Experiment with leaving a note out when you can't play the whole chord. Like for Bb7 and other chords, try leaving out the I (Bb). After all, the bass player should be playing it. Sometimes this will work and sometimes not. Cheers.

Kawai KG-2C, Nord Stage 3 73, Electro 4D, 5D and Lead 2x, Moog Voyager and Little Phatty Stage II, Slim Phatty, Roland Lucina AX-09, Hohner Piano Melodica, Spacestation V3, pair of QSC 8.2s.

 

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It's up to your ear. For me, the priority would generally be to play the notes outside the triad, like 7ths or 9ths, and the III, major or minor, then either the I or the V, depending on what you hear.

Kawai KG-2C, Nord Stage 3 73, Electro 4D, 5D and Lead 2x, Moog Voyager and Little Phatty Stage II, Slim Phatty, Roland Lucina AX-09, Hohner Piano Melodica, Spacestation V3, pair of QSC 8.2s.

 

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I don't think your Yamaha E453 will do this, but some years back I had a hand injury and re-did some of my patches to play chords with one note. I did it by setting up layers and shifting the tuning. It took a lot of tiny zones since depending on what note of the scale I was on, it would need to be shifted a 3rd or 4th. It's a lot easier layering in 5ths and octaves. But I got by that way for a while. I was able to use my right hand and the pinky of my left hand at that time.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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The thing with bands is that less is more. If you have a bass player, you don't need to play bass. If you don't have a bass player, you should find one. :)

 

Tell us about how much mobility your left hand has, and maybe we can help you figure stuff out. The smaller-keyed board suggestion is very good.

 

Bb7, how are you trying to play that? Bb D F Ab is really hard. I play it F Ab Bb D. If you have a bass and a guitar, you can get away with F Ab D or even Ab D. Those are the "colour" notes, 3 and 7. Bass will pick up the 1. The 5 will be implied even if the guitar player doesn't play it.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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I had a road traffic accident when i was six years old which left me with a head injury. My body tenses up due to my disability and i have use of my left hand but not full mobility of my hand. My left hand is tight, i can open it so far before it goes tight again. My first three fingers work better than the other two. Also my wrist is bent so i don't have a straight hand at the keyboard. I can easily play 5ths and 3rds, are those the notes i should play in a chord? I play midi files and play melody or bass to the midi file.
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Have you looked into alternative controllers that use a grid of buttons?

 

There's Roger Linn's "Linnstrument", which is a bit expensive, but Novation's "Launchpad Pro" is velocity sensitive and much cheaper.

 

In scale mode you might be able to reach much bigger intervals. You can specify different scales that might help your hand fit the chord better. The buttons even change color to help you identify where the root note is.

 

There are more "alternative controllers" that you might want to look into.

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Try these at the begininng. Optional note indicated in paratheses.

 

Cm - C Eb (G)

Bb7 - D (F) Ab

Eb - Eb G (Bb)

 

Eb - Eb G (Bb)

Gm - D G (Bb)

Ab - Ab C (Eb)

 

It won't sound right as a piano solo piece, but it should work in a band context. The bass player should pick up that left hand.

 

 

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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The tendency to tense up and trouble with mobility, makes me wonder if (as WesG) gets at, you simply need a different interface. I don't think this is a voicing issue, I think it's a compatibility issue.

 

This app for the ipad seems like it or something like it could be a decent compromise: tap on the chord name, and the app plays the chord for you. This would allow for proper execution even if your hands tensed, and let you focus on the timing of the chords, rather than the constant fight to sound the notes correctly: http://polychordapp.com/features.html

 

I don't think there's any reason to struggle with an interface that is almost fundamentally at odds with your disability. I think it would be better to find a way to let what's in your head and body, most directly come out of your fingers.

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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I would suggest looking at alternative interfaces as well. The novation launchpad also came to my mind.

 

I commend you for your persistence in spite of the disability. A lot of people who don't have any physical barriers don't try as hard. I tip my hat to you.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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I agree on the different interface. However, maybe you can do a combination if playing the piano keys in some situations is satisfying for you. Maybe something like this controller (AKAI mpk mini). You could play parts on the (mini) keys. When there are chords you can't reach for, you can put them under a pad. The number of pads is somewhat limited of course:

 

9349953_800.jpg

 

.

 

I commend you for your persistence in spite of the disability. A lot of people who don't have any physical barriers don't try as hard. I tip my hat to you.

 

Agree 100%!

Rudy

 

 

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I don't want extra bits like an interface really. I was told when i did a music course in college that i can just play 5ths instead of whole chords, the band would play the notes that i don't play. Is this what i should play rather than full chords? I don't play keyboard without having backing like midi files, so would 5ths work then too?
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I don't want extra bits like an interface really. I was told when i did a music course in college that i can just play 5ths instead of whole chords, the band would play the notes that i don't play. Is this what i should play rather than full chords? I don't play keyboard without having backing like midi files, so would 5ths work then too?

 

Playing only 5ths will not make any particular chords sound wrong. The only word of caution is that it won't always necessarily sound right, particularly if the guitar player is playing power chords as well (same as you--1, 5, and 8). If you had to choose any two notes to play, I would suggest perhaps the third and the 5th (or the root and the third) OR, for dom- or maj-7 chords, the third and 7th. That should give you a nice combination of ease and "color." And when in doubt, you can always pick just one chord tone--say, the third or the 7th--until the harmony gets back around to something that feels better under your hand.

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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I have had a go at playing 3rds to the song im having difficulty with which is called Killer Queen by Queen and the 3rds don't sound too bad, i played Eb G x2, D G x2, Db G x2, C Eb x2,

C Eb x2, B Eb x2, C Eb x2, Bb Eb x2, D F. I feel happier that these 2 note chords work although i haven't tried playing them with the midi file yet but i will later. Should i look for thirds in every song i want to play?

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You're having a small communication problem right now.

 

When people say "Play the third and the seventh", they don't mean (necessarily) to play intervals which are a third and a seventh wide. They mean to play the 3rd and the 7th of that chord.

 

So, for example, let's think about Cm7. This has the notes C, Eb, G, and Bb. The 3rd and the 7th are Eb and Bb. Someone who is telling you to "play 5ths" probably wants you to play C and G. That might be what you'd do if you were playing by yourself. But you have a band! There is a bass player and a guitar player playing those. Play the 3rd and the 7th - they are a perfect fifth apart, so if you can reach a fifth, you can reach them.

 

The chord voicings I suggested above are designed to carry the sonority of the chord while avoiding the need to stretch your hand.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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We posted at the same time. I'm glad the voicings with the 3rds worked out. I think they will sound fine in a larger context.

 

What I looked for when figuring those out was

 

- always play the third of the chord, this defines major or minor

- try to play the seventh if it is a 7th chord

- try to play the root if it isn't

- try to the 5th of the chord if you can, but that's not so important

 

So, you won't always play the same two notes for any given chord - you also need to consider how things fit together musically, and work with what you've got.

 

I think case, I looked at where the important musical movement was in the piece you were trying to play. There is a descending line when Freddie sings "A built-in remedy, for Kruschev and Kennedy" that needs to "pop", so I looked at the chords and made that specific note was on the bottom. Then I chose the common nnote between those two chords to keep constant, to help the descending line "pop".

 

I wish I had a piano here, I'd like to try what I've been suggesting. :)

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Sorry if I added to the confusion. In general, while most of us can conceive of which two notes we might play and offer informed suggestions, few of us have ever had to approach an entire song ONLY conceiving of one or two notes, on only one hand. I can only imagine how challenging that is, and frustrating this thread must be for you.

 

What Wes was getting at, was that while we can give general suggestions, you'll want to use your ears to decide what works best where.

 

Yes, as a generalization: play 1 and 3, or 3 and 5, for the major and minor chords. Play 3 and 7 for 7th chords of any kind.*

 

In straight rock, your original 1 and 5 can work fine as well.

 

You are always free to play a single note in the chord if you need time to regroup and get your hand comfortable again.

 

The take-away from that is, no one solution needs to cover it all. These are a couple of safe and reliable options to have in your arsenal as you work through parts, given your unique situation.

 

 

 

 

*(You can also play 5 and 7 for these, though if no one is playing the 3, this is going to suggest a major harmony, so use advisedly.)

 

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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I would look to multiple solutions to apply in different situations. Some of the instruments with minikeys are very playable (some are not). Some keyboards have chord functions, where you can assign a different chord to each key - play only 1 key to get a chord. Older Roland synths had "RPS" where one key can trigger a short phrase. You can get remapping software that allows you to map notes to other notes or to chords. Transpose can put a song into a key with easier reach. Use splits to have different tools like these in different key ranges. It can take a while to master all the available tools.

Mike Kent

- Chairman of MIDI 2.0 Working Group

- Co-Author of USB Device Class Definition for MIDI Devices 1.0 and 2.0

- Member of MIDI Association Technical Standards Board

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Hi im learning a song from this guy on youtube but im playing the chords with just two notes. They are a mixture of 1 3 and 3and 7. Some are 7 and 3 and 3 and 1. They sound ok but i feel they sound too low. The guy on you tube plays c minor to Bb 7, then he plays G7 from the f below mid C. I thought of playing from C minor, B and F as the B is next to mid C, would that sound ok? eventhough the guy on you tube doesnt play from B?
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Any combination of notes--or even single notes--from the chord in question, in any inversion, will sound fine, so absolutely use your ears and feel free to put them where they sound best. Then remember you'll need to do the same once you're playing with the band as well.

 

Shorter answer: Yes, you can invert the chords to play them higher.

 

 

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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Hi im learning a song from this guy on youtube but im playing the chords with just two notes. They are a mixture of 1 3 and 3and 7. Some are 7 and 3 and 3 and 1. They sound ok but i feel they sound too low. The guy on you tube plays c minor to Bb 7, then he plays G7 from the f below mid C. I thought of playing from C minor, B and F as the B is next to mid C, would that sound ok? eventhough the guy on you tube doesnt play from B?

 

A youtube video might be trying to teach you how to play a song for the case where you are the only player, or for the case where you are the only person playing the chords. But if you are playing in a covers band where a guitar player will be playing the chords, and a bass player is playing a low note (usually the root of the chord), this alters what would be the best thing for you to play.

 

There are many rock songs where you can play a keyboard part with two fingers and add value. I'll name 3 songs that all include a "chucka-chucka" piano part of repeated 8th notes in the chorus: China Grove (Doobie Brothers), Johnny B Goode, and Rock and Roll (Led Zep). These repeated 8th notes use either "E and B", "E and A", or "D and A". I am mainly a sax player, who plays keys as a secondary instrument. My weak keyboard skills have forced me to "pick my battles", and I consider my keys playing as something to enhance my band's overall sound, as opposed to something that would sound impressive on its own. There are some songs we would not be able to cover without me adding some piano sounds, even though my playing is basic.

 

I would suggest you also consider that if two instruments are playing chords in a rock band, you don't want those two instruments to muddy up the sound of each other. When I play chords or "chucka-chucka" 8th notes on a song, and our rhythm guitarist is the main chord player on the song, I play my 8th notes in an upper octave to allow both instruments to be heard.

 

Anyway, my main suggestion is to be the pickle, onion and ketchup instead of the burger.

 

 

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At the moment im playing 2 note chords with midi files which im enjoying but i feel i could play better or do something better. In theory the 2 note chords that i play should sound ok with the midi file playing the bass notes, what i play doesn't sound full compared to the chords this guy plays on youtube if you know what i mean? Because the chords move around quickly, my fingers won't move that fast so it's easier with two fingers. Here is the video im learning from.
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Try with the rest of the band. You will find that the need to sound full goes down tenfold.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Should i let the midi file play the chords and i'll play the bass guitar sound? im not in a band, the band that i saw asked me in passing, oh perhaps we can jam one day, i doubt itll happen. So ye Shall i play bass instead of chords? what do you think i could play on the keyboard?
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