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a favorite pop pianobook or cd-rom?


Michiel

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As soon as I read the title of your post I thought: "Mark Harrison - Pop piano book". I just bought the book very recently (I ordered it through Amazon.com). I have just browsed through the book and it looks very interesting. It reviews many of the contemporary music styles: rock, pop, new age, hard rock, ballad, r'n'b, country and gospel. I don't really plan to go serious with this book until next year (I have other books to read first), but I was ordering other books and instead of paying shipping costs again a few months later, I rather ordered this book in the same shipment.

 

Anyway don't be fooled by the title "tag" -- in the cover under the title, it says "a complete method for playing piano and keyboards in contemporary styles". But it's not at all a "method" to play the keyboard step by step from scratch - it's by far more advanced than that. The book certainly reviews theory music concepts in a summarized fashion in the first hundred-something pages, but then it dives straight into playing in different styles. In fact, although you can read it from start to end, it is somehow organized in a manner that allows you to use the book as a "reference" manual for contemporary styles.

 

There are hundreds of examples (800, I think), and everything is analyzed in a detailed and methodical way. Don't expect pictures of pop stars or fancy pianos. It's just type (explanations) and staves in b/w... and that's all we need!

 

The only thing I would complain about is the fact that there are midi files of all the examples... but they have to be bought separately. I find it abusive and consider they should available for download from the author's web page, or included with the book on a CD. Of course I have not bought the midi's - if I ever feel the need to ensure I am playing some example the right way, I'll turn on my computer and transcribe the example into Sibelius, Finale, Mozart or any transcription program.

 

I recommend you to go to amazon.com and read some short reviews of the book by other people. If you haven't yet, you should also checkout www.markharrison.com - there are some samples of the book in pdf (a couple of pages) available for download. However I just checked the website and it seems to be offline or something (¿?).

 

Other than this book, I know some small books by Vinnie Martucci called "intro to rock for keyboards", idem for jazz and idem for blues. They are no big deal but I'm still reading the "intro to rock" (mostly examples with some comments) and I like it. Most of the examples (about 30 or 40) imitate some compositor/player style (Elton John, John Lennon, Van Morrison...) in a simplified way. But as the title says, it's just an Intro and never gets really deep into the explanations. It's useful for me but probably not for you or most of the "pros" at this forum.

 

I hope I helped you a bit.

 

 

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= blue =

 

 

This message has been edited by Blue on 10-18-2001 at 06:20 AM

= blue =
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Originally posted by Blue:

Anyway don't be fooled by the title "tag" -- in the cover under the title, it says "a complete method for playing piano and keyboards in contemporary styles". But it's not at all a "method" to play the keyboard step by step from scratch - it's by far more advanced than that. The book certainly reviews theory music concepts in a summarized fashion in the first hundred-something pages, but then it dives straight into playing in different styles. In fact, although you can read it from start to end, it is somehow organized in a manner that allows you to use the book as a "reference" manual for contemporary styles.

 

Gee, Blue, I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I've worked my way through about three-quarters of the book myself, and there's no doubt in my mind that it is indeed a method.

 

The second half of the book is dedicated to styles, true, but Harrison uses the styles as a vehicle for introducing the student to gradually more complex rythmic and harmonic principles while in the process familiarizing the student with the keyboard. Many of the styles build on the styles before them, e.g., the New Age chapter extends the Pop Ballad chapter. It may be possible to jump into the middle of the book, but that's not how the book was designed to be used.

 

That said, it's the best method I've ever used, and I've tried several. I highly recommend it.

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Hello postman,

 

Well, you probably know more about the book than me since I have just browsed through it. That's a fact. But what I meant was not that the book is not a "method" -- it is organized and progressive, so it can be considered a "method" strictly speaking. What I wanted to emphasize was that, as far as I can see, it's not a method in the traditional sense of a "piano method" which develops a whole family of technical and conceptual teaching. It's not "give me your hand and I'll take you from zero to intermediate-advanced level". If anybody with zero piano/keyboard background is able to buy that book and learn to play, he must be a genius (page 26 and you are already playing with both hands in Eb, using sixteenth notes, staccatos, seventh chords, silences, dots...). Anyway this is not a critic - if the book was 100% targetted to absolute beginners, it would not be able to cover the depth it reaches. I just wanted to avoid misunderstandings.

 

Anyway, if you still think it's a self-contained piano method... I don't know, maybe you're right. But my opinion was honest.

 

Regarding the book as a reference tool or not, I'll take your word for it. Probably I was wrong looking at it this way. At first glance, it seems to me like that, but if you have read 3/4 of it... well, yours is a qualified opinion.

 

 

Cheers,

 

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= blue =

= blue =
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Can a beginner use it? That's a tough question to answer. I was classically trained, so I came to this method with a certain level of facility at the keyboard ("chops" implies improv skill, right?). Nothing in the book has been technically difficult for me to play so far. I'd also played in bands quite a bit.

 

I've often wondered how a rank beginner would do with this method (I have kids I'd like to teach). On one hand, this improv method is completely chord based, so it doesn't require any finger speed per se. You're right that it does require the ability to read music. It also requires a fair amount of discipline: the first half of the book is nothing but drills and some of them are just plain tedious (but necessary nonetheless). That kind of discipline is developed in a musician; at least in most cases, I don't think it comes naturally.

 

So, no, I don't think it's for beginners. It think it'd work for an accomplished guitar player who wanted to cross over, though. Certainly anyone who is playing or has played keys in a band could benefit from it.

 

[Hey, this is my 100th post! Woo-hoo!]

 

 

This message has been edited by Postman on 10-18-2001 at 05:21 PM

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Congratulations on your 100th posts and thanks for answering my post. I think our disagreement on the "method" question was more etymological than practical http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif.

 

Regards,

 

 

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= blue =

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I have Mark's book and I like it a lot too. I got the midi files with it too which is nice.

 

I recently picked up two books, I think they were called Mastering Rock Keyboards. Not really a method, but there's some cool stuff there, good to get some ideas. They come with CDs that you can listen to before you try to figure out how to play it. I got the intermediate and the advanced one, I feel my technical level is somewhere between the two books.

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Here are some books I find useful.

 

Intermediate Blues Keyboard by Tricia Woods from Alfred Publshing (www.alfredpub.com). There is also a "mastering" volume in the same series

which is useful but does not contain a lot of new material over the intermediate and really does not get you to that stage (but then, probably nothing but a lot of listening and praticing really can)

 

Intermediate and Mastering Jazz Keyboard in the same series. By Noah Baerman.

 

R&B Soul Keyboards by Henry Brewer. (Hal Leonard)

 

All of these come with CDs, but no midi files. The examples in the Henry Brewer book are real useful if you are able to loop them in your computer so as to work on your groove.

 

I agree with the writer who does not consider Mark Harrison's book a method but rather a reference work. It does not really get into enough depth on any one subject to be considered a method.

 

Another text that is worth having is "Improvising Rock Piano" by Jeffrey Gutcheon. It contains a bunch of written out charts in diverse styles.

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Thanks Blue, postman, etc!!!

 

I forgot to tell you I'm looking for an (very)advanced book. It doesn't have to be a method. I just want to get to know more styles and play them well.

 

The masterclass section of Keyboardonline is pretty cool. I really enjoyed the "phisted" (clavinet) lessons. That lesson is from the book of Harisson... are all examples in this book as good as the "phisted" lesson?

 

I've just ordered the Jazz Piano book from Levine:

 

www.jazzutopia.com/bjazpnos.htm

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I thought you were interested in a rock/pop book... Anyway, for jazz, I think the Mark Levine book is the best and most comprehensive among the many I've read. For Rock, one of the best books around is "Improvising Rock Piano", by Jeffrey Gutcheon. It's quite old, so I don't know how easy will be to find it, but if you can read music well, it's full of wonderful pieces and in-depth discussions.

 

marino

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Hallå alla tangentkliare!

I just have to say that the Mark Harrison Book is the best book for the buck that I have ever bought. It´s packed with useful stuff and really explains everything. And I would indeed call it a method book because its teaches you how to create on the spot acompaniments in the above mentioned styles.

That´s what it did for me anyway so I highly recommend it.

If you wanna learn jazz or blues you have to go elsewhere.

I have worked my way through the Jeffrey Gutcheon book on rock piano too, lots of words of wisdom in that one: "In rock music the solo is an extension of the groove" is one that comes to mind.

 

I am a saxplayer who once upon a time thought it would be nice to learn a little blues piano but I got hooked and now I practice more on my keyboard than on my horn...so I guess you got to have some working knowledge of scales and cords before you start to digest the Harrison bible.

 

Jojje

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michielxp30,

 

a few books i've found useful as well:

 

"Improvising Rock Piano" by Jeffrey Gutcheon, as suggested by byrdman. this will show you some good blues rock etc. (learnt a lot about jerry lee lewis' playing from it....btw i do jll impersonations)

 

"Jazz Hanon" (can't be bothered walking downstairs and seeing who it's by - i've had too much to drink). it's good if you want to get a basic understanding of some jazz chords/scales/styles etc

 

i think there's another one called the jazz book or something similar and a few of my friends have told me it's really good.

 

that's all i can think of at the moment....off to bed. cheerio

"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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Originally posted by pete psingpy:

Regarding Harrison's "The Pop Piano Book", does he discuss 4th Chords in it at all? I noticed he has an article in the latest keyboard on 4th chords. Does anyone know if the material in the article is covered in the book?

thanks

 

Yes, 4th chords are covered in the book.

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