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Downbeats are the beats that are normally emphasized in a song. But through the miracles of syncopation, you emphasize some (or all) of the upbeats instead. By “emphasize,” I mean to play those notes a little bit harder, or louder, than the others.
You can syncopate any melody. Listen to Track 22 while you follow along with the music to “The Kitchen Sync.” The first eight measures are played on the beat. The last eight measures are the same melody but with a syncopated rhythm. Keep your foot tapping the beat throughout the entire 16 measures and notice the emphasized notes on the upbeats (when your foot is up).
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
The Kitchen Sync
«hi J J 1^
ffTf r ir r t??^U-r J r lr-i
IP f P J f |pf p f 1|
Have I piqued your interest with this keen new syncopated rhythm? For more on syncopation, read Chapter 15, which explores various ways to make a plain vanilla melody into something special with this offbeat rhythm.
One Hand at a Time
The 5th Wave By Rich Tennant
"Harriet's Hreb Qri%
" C'mo?i? vivace'. Alle^m vivace! "Vle're.
sellii^ ice cream, not co??ine>! "
In this part...
Take off the training wheels and put the pedal to the metal. I show you how to play songs, real songs! You start with the right hand in Chapter 7.
In addition to melodies, scales are very important, so I devote Chapter 8 to them. In Chapter 9, you get to screw your left hand back on and play with both hands at once.
Playing a Melody
In This Chapter
^ Observing which fingers to use ^ Discovering song-playing hand positions ^ Moving your hands all over the keyboard
yl^elodies create a wonderful transformation in music: Melodies turn a # V Bwhole bunch of random notes into songs that entertain, please your ear, and sometimes get stuck in your head. It would be safe to say that you aren’t really playing music unless you’re playing a melody.
In order to really get the most out of this chapter about melodies, you need to have the following skills under your belt, er, fingers:
S Naming all the keys, both white and black (Chapter 3). j’ Naming all staff lines and spaces (Chapter 4).
S Counting rhythms from whole notes to sixteenth notes (Chapter 5).
S Recognizing rests, ties, and dots (Chapter 6).
If you are missing any of these key ingredients, please leave now and head to the store . . . that is, the first five or six chapters of this book. Without these fundamentals, attempting to play songs may lead to frustration.
Let Hour Fingers Do the Walking
In order to play a melody correctly, you need to control the way your hands make contact with the keyboard. If you don’t develop this control, you’ll find it hard to reach the notes you need to play — and your playing will look and sound more like the Keystone Cops than Chopin.
Think of your fingers as being numbered 1 through 5, with the thumbs being 1. In many chapters in this book, I refer to your fingers by number and to your hands by ultra-hip abbreviations: RH and LH. So, when I say RH 1, that means the thumb on your right hand.
Part III: One Hand at a Time
In Figure 7-1, RH 2 plays D. Notice the relaxed but arched position of the hand and fingers. See, too, how the other four fingers are poised and ready to play the next note, whatever it may be. Of course, because it’s a photo, these fingers will never, ever play another key. (Chapter 2 tells you more about how to hold your body and hands at the keyboard.)
Playing a key
With correct hand position and fingering, your fingers literally walk along the keys. Practice enables them to walk faster and faster and without much thought on your part.
As you play a melody, your fingers should travel gracefully up and down the keyboard. You aren’t typing a letter or playing video games, so don’t punch or slap the keys.
So, you’re at the keyboard, your back is straight, the lights are on, and the music’s waiting. Where does your hand go? Good question. You need to get into position.
Position is a common term you hear regarding any musical instrument. Several positions exist for each musical instrument, giving the player points of reference all along the body of the instrument. The keyboard is no exception.
Using positions diligently is vital to playing the keyboard well. From each designated position, you can easily access certain notes, groups of notes, chords, or even other positions.
When you sit down to play, survey the music and locate the first set of notes. After you find these, decide which of the following two positions is the more accommodating.
Chapter 7: Playing a Melody 83
Many tunes start at middle C or close to it, so you often find yourself in Cposition at the beginning of a song. To get to C position, put your thumb on middle C and place your fingers on the five successive white keys, as shown in Figure 7-2. That is, RH 1 should be on C and RH 5 on G with the other three fingers in the middle. If the other three aren’t in the middle, you’ve got something very amusing going on with your fingers.