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A left-hand 9 pattern of varied rhythm chords.
Chapter 14: Great Grooves m
You can break up the chord monotony a little with a constant arpeggiated pattern in the left hand. For every chord symbol in Figure 14-2 (Track 66), use the 1st, 5th, and octave notes of the chord’s scale to form an up-and-down pattern throughout the song. This pattern can work for fast or slow songs.
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Arpeggios are great-sounding and easy patterns.
Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
Left-hand “chord picking” is a style best suited to country music (which you can read more about in Chapter 15). But even if you aren’t a fan of this genre, you can apply this pattern to just about any song you like.
Chapter 12 tells you that most chords are made up of a root note, a third interval, and a fifth interval. You need to know these three elements to be a successful chord picker.
To play this pattern, break a chord into two units: the root note and two top notes. Play the root note on beat 1 and the top two notes on beat 2. To make it sound even more impressive, do something a little different on beat 3: Play the top note of the chord by itself but one octave lower, as you see in Figure 14-3, which shows you four measures of this pattern with four different chords.
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You can try playing this pattern in “Picking and Grinning” (Track 67). After you get the feel of this bouncy rhythmic pattern, you won’t even need to look at your hands. Your pinky will find the two alternating bass notes because they’re always the same distance from the root note. Good luck!
Here’s an easy, but perhaps tiring, left-hander. This groove is really fun and easy if your right hand is just playing chords. But if you’re playing a melody or something other than chords with your right hand, this pattern probably won’t sound right.
To hammer out some octaves, you simply fix your left hand in a wide-spread “octave” position and jump around the keyboard playing the appropriate chord's root note. You can play the octaves at any speed that sounds good to you — try whole notes, half notes, even eighth notes, depending on the character of the song.
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Picking and Grinning
196 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
“Octaves in the Left” (Track 68) lets you try your hand« QT1 some octaves.
Octatfes in the Left
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As you become more familiar with harmony, try playing left-hand octaves built on different notes and intervals of the appropriate chord or scale. For example, the octaves in “Jumping Octaves" (Track 69) move from the root note to the 3rd interval note to the 5th interval note for each right-hand chord.
Chapter 14: Great Grooves 197
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In addition to slamming octaves, a nice rock ’n’ roll-sounding bass pattern may use notes from intervals of various sizes. (Chapter 10 explains intervals in great detail.)
198 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
You can create a great bass pattern using the octave, the 5th, and the 6th interval notes. Try this rockin’ accompaniment along with “Rockin’ Intervals” (Track 70). After a few times through, your hands will know what to do.
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Chaptar 14 Great Grooves 199
The great Chuck Berry made the locomotive-sounding pattern shown in “Berry-Style Blues” (Track 71) very popular on the guitar. It was only a matter of time before some trail-blazing pianist adapted this guitar sound to the piano. All you have to do is alternate between playing a 5th and a 6th on every beat.
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200 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
Melodic bass tines
Some left-hand patterns are so widely used that they are better known than the melodies they accompany. “Bum-Ba-Di-Da” (Track 72) is one such pattern that was made famous by Roy Rogers in his show-closing song “Happy Trails.” All you need are three notes from each chord’s scale: the root, 5th, and 6th. Play them back and forth, over and over. Have fun and happy trails.
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Another melodic left-hand pattern played by every pianist from novice to pro is the “boogie-woogie” bass line. It doesn’t even need a melody. This bass line uses notes from a major scale, but the seventh note of the scale is lowered a half-step (also called a flatted 7th) to give you that bluesy sound.