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Need help!!! keyboard palyers out there pls


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I'm having a big problem playing... I use triads... But then, it doens't sound good... I don't know how to make it sound smooth and clean... I mean the way I play... I use chords... Purely chords... I don't know how to put adlib and other things that'll make it sound better...


please, anyone out there help me...


I would be very greatful... thanks!

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Have you had lessons? You can't JUST play chords. You need to do other things. If you can find a teacher who is any good, then try that. Otherwise, use the following as a start (something I've posted a few times). I teach a few students here and there, and this is how I get them started:


Think of the music as ALWAYS relating to chords. It is MUCH easier to remember a C chord as an entity than to think of a C chord as the notes C, E, G.


Number the keys, 1-8. Using the key of C as an example, each note in the scale has a number C=1, D=2; E=3; F=4; G=5; A=6; B=7; C=8 (an octave above the root C). The numbering system continues on from there even so that you can have D=9, E=10 and so on. The 9th, 11th, and 13th notes are used commonly in rock and popular music. If you ever are required to play a C9, you can do it like this C, D, E, G (throw the 7th in there if you want to be most accurate). You dont have to play the D in the 9 position (a note above the upper octave C). You can play it in the 2 position, right next to the root C. This is ALWAYS referred to as the 9th even though technically it is the 2nd.


Octaves. An octave is when you take a root note and then hit the same note the next time it appears either higher or lower. So, you can go down an octave or up an octave. There are 12 unique notes in an octave (all the notes from C to B for example including the sharps and flats).


Half Steps (HS) and Whole Steps (WS). Rock bands, and especially rock or blues guitarists learn to go up or down in terms of Half Steps or Whole Steps. A Half Step is when you go to the very next note (C to C# OR C to B for example). A Whole Step is when you go up or down TWO notes (C to D OR C to Bb for example).


Scales - In this point, use the abbreviations Half Steps (HS) and Whole Steps (WS). C scale - Root, WS, WS, HS, WH, WH, WH, HS(this is the Root an octave higher). If you know how a scale goes in one key, you can figure it out in any other key.


Triads (three-note chords) For C major chord. 1st, 3rd, 5th, so C, E, G. 1st inversion E, G, C. 2nd inversion G, C, E. Note that the inversions use the same notes, they are just played with a different note being the bass note from the original C major chord; its still a C major chord, just played in an inversion. Why play inversions? Because sometimes a different inversion sounds better, or because sometimes its easier to get to depending on where the previous chord was. This is where practice comes into play.


Base all learning off the C scale. Play a D chord and its 1st and 2nd inversions. Play an E chord and its 1st and 2nd inversions. Keep doing this for each note. If you know that a C chord is C, E, G, then just use math to figure out what all the other chords are. All the chords are relative to each other. To get from a C chord to a D chord, take each note of the C chord and move it up one whole step (two notes), so istead of C, E, G, you get D, F#, A. Use that same logic to find all the other major chords.


Left hand Root note © and then whole octave (use pinky and thumb to hit the octave). Notice the index finger falls right on the 5th of that root scale. Notice the middle finger falls right on the 3rd. Your fingers will fall in very similar positions for ALL keys this makes it VERY easy to play with the left hand in this style.


C, Cm, C7. Make a minor by flatting the third (instead of C, E, G, you flat the 3rd and play C, Eb, G). Make a 7th chord by adding the Dominant 7th note in the key of that chord (this is now a FOUR-NOTE CHORD). In the key of C, the Dominant 7th is Bb (one whole step down from the root an octave higher). A C7 does NOT include the 7th in the C scale (that would be B). It includes the note a half step LOWER than the 7th. Technically this is called the Dominant 7th but it is almost never referred to that way. Sometimes musicians will add the Dominant 7th while removing another note. Whatever is easiest, and as long as it sounds good, do it.


Play a song (and sing or get someone to sing). Start by just playing the chords with the right hand. When this becomes easy, add the left hand part. Use the left hand to ONLY hit the octaves and the fifth of the chord the right hand will play.



Trick No. 1 Play the piano like a guitar player plays guitar. Most of the time a rhythm guitarist doesnt just strum the guitar one time for each chord being played. He does it along with the beats. Do this with the chords in the right hand.


Trick No. 2 Play the chords in the right hand so that the most bass note plays singly and then the other two notes are played together along with the beat. This gives a fuller sound even though youre really just playing the chord, just not all the notes at the same time.


Trick No. 3 Play the notes of the chord in the right hand in arpeggio. This means NOT ALL AT THE SAME TIME JUST ONE AT A TIME. This has a similar effect to Trick No. 2 above. It sounds like youre doing a lot when all youre doing is playing the notes of the triad chords one at a time. The cool thing is that you can play the notes in ANY ORDER and as long as youre in the right chord, it will sound great.


Trick No. 4 Be creative with the left hand. Still just keep hitting the root and the octave higher note and the fifth. You can mix and match a lot and it will sound great as long as you hit the right chords with the right hand.


Trick No. 5 Add the 9th to your chords in the right hand. In the key of C, the 9th is D. You can play that key right next to the root or if your hand can stretch far enough, play it above the octave higher note. It doesnt matter. You can also invert the chord so that the 9th is played on top. Search for different voicings that sound good. If you play it right next to the root, it is technically called the 2nd, but NO ONE calls it that. It is the 9th. This makes for a very rich sound. You can add this 9th when you play in arpeggio too! It is easy to find the 9th in any key. The ninth is just a Whole Step up from the root of that chord, so the 9th of a C and a Cm is the SAME! It is D. If you use lead sheets, you may see this written as "Cadd9".


Trick No. 6 In the left hand, occasionally add the 3rd. Remember that if your hand is stretched to reach an octave, the third will be the key pretty much right where your middle finger is. Play that note, and if it doesnt sound right, use your math skills to find that 3rd!


Again, the stuff above includes just beginning tips. Depending on what kind of music you play, and who you play it with, some of the tips above will not apply. For example, if you are a solo piano player, typically you want to play chords with your left hand and melody with your right. If you sing though, you might want to play chords with your right and bass notes with your left. If you play with a band that has a bass player, you might want to play comp chords (lesson for another day) with your left hand and chords and fills\scale runs with your right. Sometimes if playing in a band, you just use the right hand if the bass player is taking care of the bass parts. Just depends on what the situation is.


Regarding scales, typically in blues and rock music, minor and major pentatonic scales and blues scales are used.


More stuff. Blues scales and minor pentatonic scales.


If you play blues or rock, you will hear (maybe you know this already) the term 1-4-5 (one, four, five). This means that the song is made up of three chords, the 1, 4, and 5. If you're playing a blues song in the key of E, those chords would be E, A, B. Sweet Home Alabama is a classic rock song that is 1-4-5. That song uses the D, C, G progression all throughout the song with no changes. So, basically the song is in the key of G, but it happens to start on the D. So, this song goes 5, 4, 1.


Typical Blues Progression:

1 (for 8 beats)

4 (for 4 beats)

1 (for 4 beats)

5 (for 2 beats)

4 (for 2 beats)

1 (for 4 beats) OR 1 (for 2 beats) and then 5 (for 2 beats)


REPEAT! Do this for the whole song.


Blues Scale (minor blues scale -- you can play this over any major or minor chord progression) in ANY KEY (6 notes) Root, +1 ½ steps, + 1 step, + ½ step, + ½ step, + 1 ½ steps. If playing blues in the key of E, these notes are: E, G, A, Bb, B, D. You can play this scale in any order and in any combination of notes while playing the blues progression with the left hand, and it will sound GREAT! Stay within these parameters and youll sound like a pro. The key then is to find certain riffs that sound great within the blues scale. Certainly some sound better than others, and you'll want to find enough different ones so that you don't keep playing the same ones over and over again. That=boring. [smile]


Minor Pentatonic Scale in ANY KEY (5 notes). This is the SAME as the blues scale except that you omit one note (sometimes referred to as the "blue" note). This scale is used in rock music and pop when you DONT want to sound bluesy. Asian music also uses this scale a lot. Heres the scale - Root, +1 ½ steps, + 1 step, + 1 step, + 1 ½ steps. In the key of E, these notes are: E, G, A, B, D.


Learn both of these scales in E and A and you can play solos over a ton of songs.


TIP 1! The blues and minor pentatonic scales in D, E, and A are very similar mechanically on a keyboard, so if you learn one, you can go to another and play it pretty easily.


TIP 2! - You can also play MAJOR pentatonic scales. In the key of C, the major pentatonic scale would be C, D, E, G, A. Transpose the logic to any other key.


TIP 3! - You can also play the MAJOR Blues scale which is the major pentatonic scale with an added note (a flatted third), so in the key of C, the major blues scale are these 6 notes - C, D, Eb, E, G, A (1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6). If you're playing a blues song in the key of C for example (C, F, G), then this scale sounds great.


That's a start for you. Practice. Play chords and sing along. You'll get better.


Good luck.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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thanks for the tips! wow...


i already know those things... the only thing is that I don't know how to polish the way I play. I mean, the sound.. Oh, i can't explain it well. It doesn't sound well. Uhm, compared to a friend of mine. You know, were both using purely chords, but he sounds good. Mine, well, it worst. huhuhu... Help me guys...


I really appreciated your replies and responses... thanks a lot...


I wanted to know how he puts adlibs and things that makes it sound good...



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A big part of playing is simply the way you join things together or how you detach them. If you play detached are you playing really short notes, or slightly longer ones. If you are playing long chords are you using the pedal to transition from one to the next?


Its amazing how much difference the separation or joining together of consecutive chords makes. It also works much better on a real piano than on most digitals.


The other thing you can control is the relative loudness of each note in a chord and from one chord to the next. Being able to do this well is the sign of an advanced player.


And all this is just while playing triads! In fact sometimes all you want to play is one note of a chord! You will hear jazz guys doing that frequently - usually in the bass.

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What you're getting at, as near as I can tell, is the desire to play MUSIC, rather than simply playing notes. In truth, that's a big leap, and there is simply not a roadmap to follow to get there. It is possible, however, to break down the elements and allow yourself to analyze what it is that creates the different results between you and your friend.


Music is a combination of the following, (perhaps not exclusively, but here are the main aspects).


Tones -- the specific notes you play, A,C,E, etc. This would include the use of different inversions of a given chord. (A,C,E does NOT sound the same as E,A,C -- even though they are, in fact the same chord).


Tempo -- not just the speed you're playing, but also how CONSISTENT the speed is. In some cases changes in tempo enhance music -- in others they destroy it.


Rhythm -- how long you play each note. This also includes all the times you are NOT playing notes, (silence is often a critical part of making good music).


Dynamics -- loudness and softness are just two aspects of dynamics. Also included are things like playing stacatto versus legato (short and quick with distinct notes as opposed to long and connected with notes gliding into each other).


Good music requires skill in EVERY area noted above. Unfortunately, many aspiring musicians think it's just about the notes -- and after learning to play the notes in order, they get frustrated because they can hear that what they're playing doesn't sound right - but they don't understand why.


All of these elements are interlinked. And simple things can make significant differences in perception.


The start to "Old Time Rock & Roll" is incredibly simple in terms of notes being played. But tempo, rhythm and dynamics make those first 8 notes much more than just 8 tones.


It's been my experience that the arena most novice pianists are weakest in is rhythm. It's not about playing robotically steady -- but in grasping the concept that to stay in tempo (especially with a band), if you play one note (or chord) a little long, then you HAVE to make up for it by playing a subsequent note a little shorter.


Typically, a novice pianist is concentrating so hard on getting the notes correct, they become almost completely unaware of how erratic their tempo and rhythms happen to be.


I would recommend recording yourself, (quality isn't an issue), as well as your friend. Then play the recordings back - so you can analyze the differences while you're not focused on whether your fingers are going to find the correct keys.


From a physical/technical aspect, teaching your fingers and mind to handle ALL those parts seamlessly is a massively difficult undertaking, and one that is (with rare exception), something that takes YEARS to master. In the end, making music is about tapping into emotion. One has to have the technical skill to play the notes, in tempo, in rhythm and with good dynamics - but music could be described simply as emotion in the form of sound. Getting that link between emotion and sound generation is in large part something that cannot be 'taught' per se.


Good luck with your musical endeavors.

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Originally posted by Clavinovaguyusa:

stepay, did you write all of that for this poster?...outstanding!!!!! :)

I've posted that in a couple different threads when it seems appropriate (beginning keyboard players). It's part of a "Learning to Play Keyboards in a Band" book I wrote for students of mine, so initially when I posted it here on this message board, I just cut and pasted it from the document on my hard drive.


I did write all of it though.


Most of the students I get either play classical music already and have a traditional background OR they play another instrument and want to now learn to play the keyboard. Most every city has tons of guitar teachers who will teach guitar in a similar method and no one blinks an eye. Trying to find a keyboard\piano teacher who teaches in the same style though is tough.


Anyway, I learn a lot by reading stuff here, and I post what I know when I think it can help others.





Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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I would if I really thought I could get a handle on which ones could benefit you the most. Maybe do a search for "beginner" or "beginning" and see what comes up? There is tons of great information in this message board, some of it in a style that I would recommend and some of it not -- you should read all of it an determine what's the best for you. Everyone has their own learning style and preference. Some here suggest traditional learning (learning to read sheet music) is the best way to go (and I agree in some circumstances with that), and others (like me) suggest that if you're going to play blues or rock or pop, and even standards, it's not necessary for you to learn to read sheet music. Kind of up to you as to how much time you want to put into it and what kind of music you want to play and how fast you want to be doing it.


Good luck.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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