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216 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
Part of Grieg's Piano Concerto.
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You can also achieve this sound with the popular song “Dixie” (Track 89). Get both hands locked in the octave position and fire away. I doubt Maestro Grieg even knew where Dixie was!
Dixie a la Grieg
Chapter 15: Penisinq the Aisle off Style 217
Rockin' around the Keys
Hop in your time capsule and travel to a time when Elvis was still king, The Beatles didn’t have solo careers, and avocado green was a popular appliance color. Rock ’n’ roll burst onto the music scene in the 1950s and 1960s with a pair of swinging hips and masses of screaming groupies.
Pull out your bag o’ tricks and find the following musical ingredients to make any song rock:
. Bouncy intervals: See Chapter 14.
J’ Glissandos: See Chapter 13.
J1 Chords: See Chapter 12.
. Lots and lots of pyrotechnics: You will need these for your elaborate
stage show. Visit a fireworks stand.
Slamming and jamming
Jerry Lee Lewis practically invented the classic rock piano sound. For this style, all you need is an opening glissando, fast chords, and lots of energy. You may also find the “Bouncy Intervals” section in Chapter 14 helpful. Figure 15-3 is a good example of this fast-paced, chord-slamming style.
Add a flair of the rock style to the popular song “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (Track 90). Play it with attitude and enough volume, and even Jerry Lee Lewis would be proud. Notice the glissando that ends the piece — this finish will leave them breathless.
218 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
Jerry Had a Little Lamb
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Chapter 15: Perusing the Aisle of Style
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Singing the Blues
The blues is a style of music all its own. Heck, it even has its own scale (which you can read about in Chapter 8). In this section, you won’t apply the blues style to an existing song. Instead, I take you a step farther — I show you how to create your own blues music from scratch. That’s right: You can be a composer.
You can play fast blues, slow blues, happy blues, and sad blues. Whether your dog left you or your boss done you wrong, playing the blues is as easy as counting to 12.
Clues for the blues
Two important elements in blues music are form and rhythm. When you have these down, add a few more essential musicalities, like grace notes and minor chords. Then you can sing the blues with any of your songs:
I* 12-bar form: See the next section, “12-bar ditties.”
• Shuffle rhythm: See Chapter 6.
220 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
12 Major and minor chords: See Chapter 12.
2 Grace notes: See Chapter 13.
2 Sad story to tell: Oh, just make something up.
Most blues music utilizes a widely recognized form called 12-bar form, aptly named because each musical “phrase” of the song is 12 measures (bars) long. The same 12-bar chord sequence repeats over and over, usually with different lyrics and perhaps a slightly different melody, until you genuinely feel sorry for the storyteller.
Melody notes, rhythms, and lyrics may differ from one 12-bar phrase to the next, but the chords usually stay the same. The chords most often used in the 12-bar form are the following:
12 Chords with the first scale note as their root note, called a I chord.
2 Chords with the fourth scale note as their root note, called a IV chord,
2 Chords with the fifth scale note as their root note, called a V chord.
These chords appear in the same order and for the same number of measures every time the 12-bar phrase is repeated.
Just follow these easy instructions, playing with either hand or both hands, and you can play your own blues. When you have the chord progression memorized, you can try playing these chords with the left hand while your right hand plays a simple melody, riff, or blues scale:
1. Play a I chord for four measures.
2. Play a IV chord for two measures.
3. Play a I chord for two measures.
4. Play a V chord for one measure.
5. Play a IV chord for one measure.
6. Play a I chord for two measures.
7. Repeat Steps 1 through 6 until you have your audience ringing with yon.
Chapter 15: Perusing the Aisle of Styls 221
Figure 15-4 shows an example of 12-bar blues, using chords only. They may be just chords, but try to play with conviction and an ever-present realization of how much you owe on your taxes — that’ll make you blue.
The 12-bar blues.
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222 Part V: Technique Counts for Everything
Chanqinq it up
All blues players realize that the same chords over and over can become quite dull, so they substitute other chords within the 12-bar form. For example, try a IV chord in measure 2 and make the last V chord a V7, as shown in Figure 15-5.