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Piano for dummies - Blake N.

Blake N. Piano for dummies - IDG, 1996. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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As you read the following sections about playing notes off the beat, tap your foot along to the examples. That way, even when you don’t play a note right on the beat, you won’t lose the beat.
It’s pure coincidence that all three of these rhythmic variations — swing, shuffle, and syncopation — start with the letter “S.” As lyricist Ira Gershwin might say, “’swonderful, ’smarvelous.” You’ll feel the same way, too, after knowing these “fascinatin’ rhythms.”
SiVing and shuffle time
I could write paragraphs and paragraphs expounding the virtues of the swing beat. However, I’ll spare you (and my editor) that little treat; the best way to understand a swing beat is to hear it.
Figure 6-10 shows four measures of music. I play these four measures twice on Track 21. The first time, I play it as written — straight quarter and eighth notes. The second time, I play the rhythm with a swing beat. The notes are the same, but with a slightly different, swingin’ feel.
Figure 6-10:
Swinging a straight beat.
Instead of straight eighth notes played as “1-and, 2-and,” you hear a long-short, long-short rhythm. The real way to notate this long-short rhythm is with a quarter-eighth triplet. (See Chapter 5 for more on triplets.) But rather than write a ton of triplets, the composer gives you a big “heads up” on the first measure telling you to “Swing,” either in plain English or with a little symbol like the one in Figure 6-11.
Chapter 6: Changing the Beaten Path
Figure 6-11:
The symbol for a swing beat.
Swing (J"J = J J>)
Like I said, the best way to understand the swing beat is to hear it. So popular is this classic American rhythm that it has its own type of bands and dance moves. Ever seen the movie Swingers? Ever heard the band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies? Both feature tons of music in a swing beat.
Although swing music is extremely popular, some temperamental rock stars find it just too uncool to write a 1920s word like “swing” on their great heavy metal anthems. So, another name is given to the exact same rhythmic feel... but don’t tell the egomaniacs it’s the same beat. Shuffle feel has the same long-short feel as swing, but this beat is more readily associated with — and accepted by performers of — rock and blues-style music.
One of the most common forms of playing off the beat is a little rhythmic concept called syncopation. To understand syncopation, you first have to get to know downbeats and upbeats.
Start tapping your foot to any beat, and count eighth notes “1-and, 2-and, 3-and, 4-and.” Every time your foot goes down to the floor you say a number; when your foot goes up you say “and.” in this example, the numbers are downbeats while the “ands” are upbeats. Get it? Your foot goes down on the downbeats, up on the upbeats.
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
Track 22
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.
Part III
One Hand at a Time
The 5th Wave By Rich Tennant
"Harriet's Hreb Qri%
" C'moïi■ vivace'. Alle^m vivace! "Vle're.
selling 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.
Chapter 7
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).
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