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SostenutO
12-15-2006, 02:54 AM
Hey guys. I've been working on the "Super Mario World - Athletic Theme". It has a stride thing going in the left hand and I was wondering if anyone had any tips for practicing these kinds of pieces.

It's hard to practice for long amounts of time, I keep getting bad cramps in my left forearm and wrist, so I immedietly stop playing.

EDIT: Here's a link to the sheet music in case anyone didn't know what I meant with the left hand.

http://individual.utoronto.ca/auyeun/smwAthleticPiano.pdf

Thanks :)

The Doc
12-18-2006, 05:30 AM
Well the cramps are pretty natural. That just comes from the whole "freezing" concept. You're freezing your hands into the positions of the chords you are about to hit from your leaps. You have to get to the point where you can just land on them without having to freeze your hands. And when it comes to striding, the floppier your hands, the better. However, getting the floppy hands thing comes pretty much after you become familiar with what chords you're hitting.

Being successful with striding, you need to see where you are about to leap, and you should be leading with your thumbs. I got my skills from playing a lot of Ragtime.

joeyd929
12-18-2006, 09:36 AM
There is this piece of music called "Gymnopedies 1" by E.Satie. I attached a midi of it. My electric keyboard came with a book of sheet music and although this is not stride piano, the left hand has to do a majority of the work as you will hear.

My point is that this piece requires the left hand to hit a bass note, then jump up about an octave and play a chord..very slow piece but it gets the left hand used to that same sort of motion that stride piano ultimately requires..kind of that "back and foruth" motion..

I don't have any way of posting the sheet music, but I posted a midi so you can hear it. The sheet music is on line somewhere I'm sure.. But when you listen to the piece, it is obviously a good left hand work out. The right hand melody is very simple so it lets you focus on the left. Great piece for getting used to that concept of freezing the hand and reaching for the chord..heck, you know what I mean..check it out...

jade_bodhi
12-18-2006, 01:42 PM
And when it comes to striding, the floppier your hands, the better.

Floppy? Well, then maybe there is hope for my piano playing. I also play fumbly, faultily, and fallibly. Thanks for the encouragment!

jade

The Doc
12-18-2006, 06:45 PM
You're missing the point, Jade (either that or you're being facetious), when you keep your hands floppy when striding, they don't get tired, you don't get cramps, and you're not using up your stamina on stride passages.

jade_bodhi
12-19-2006, 01:17 PM
You're missing the point, Jade (either that or you're being facetious), when you keep your hands floppy when striding, they don't get tired, you don't get cramps, and you're not using up your stamina on stride passages.

I know what you mean, Doc. I was merely making light of my own ability. But to be serious for just a half a second, another benefit to the floppy style besides what you mentioned is that there is a certain kind of "readiness" in the floppy style, almost like you somehow fall naturally onto the (hopefully) right chord.

I still hit a lot of bad notes but the floppy hands style does help my fluidity. Maybe we should call them "loose hands." ;)

SostenutO
12-24-2006, 08:18 PM
I noticed the "floppiness" you are talking about when I watched this stride pianist in Disney World a few days ago (that's why I wasn't replying to this message, sorry lol)

Anyway, now I notice that my hands do "freeze" into the chord positions a lot. I'm very tight when I play with my left hand, I'll have to try and work on that. The "leading with your thumb" is helping me get out of the "freezing" thing - it's like I'm focusing on hitting the notes with my thumb and the other fingers just fall into place...does that sound right?

The Doc
12-28-2006, 05:05 PM
The "leading with your thumb" is helping me get out of the "freezing" thing - it's like I'm focusing on hitting the notes with my thumb and the other fingers just fall into place...does that sound right?

Sure does. Keep it up :)

jade_bodhi
12-30-2006, 12:35 AM
I thought I'd just throw this out here; it's probably not worth starting a new thread.

I've been a guitarist for many years, and my stylen of playing guitar is to pick the bass lines to accompany the chord changes. It's a bas(s)ic flat-picking style.

So now that I'm teaching myself piano (big mistake, I know) I have started to use the same method: I pick out (mostly) single-note bass lines with my left hand and do the chord changes (usually triads) with my right hand. I really am not ready or able to do any solo or leads with my right hand, but I do throw in flourishes with my right hand when I discover them.

I'm wondering what experienced keyboard players think of this method of learning. It does get boring pounding out chords with my right hand, but the bass lines can make it interesting (when I don't simply fall back on the alternating I and V note pattern). I'm wondering if I should start trying to chord with my left hand, and if I do, what will I do with my right hand? I sing so my voice carries the melody.

I'm sorry for all the parentheses. I am a beginner at the keyboard, and I want to learn correct techniques, but until I find a stride player who can teach me by ear, I'm forced to teach myself. But I want to teach myself correctly. Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you.

Jade

SostenutO
01-02-2007, 02:42 AM
This could have been a separate thread probably lol.

I'm pretty sure all beginning piano players play single bass notes over chords until they advance.

As for playing chords in the left hand, usually for rock piano you'd play a 5th chord in the left hand (leave out the middle note of the triad) or play the bass in octaves. What will you do with your right hand? Chords, solos, fills, melodies, whatever you want.

Can you be more specific on what style you are trying to play? Do you just want to learn to play backing chords for a band? or classical? or what?

Anyway, I don't think you should be trying to learn stride until you have a firm grasp on playing triads with the left hand.

jade_bodhi
01-03-2007, 01:47 AM
Can you be more specific on what style you are trying to play? Do you just want to learn to play backing chords for a band? or classical? or what?

Anyway, I don't think you should be trying to learn stride until you have a firm grasp on playing triads with the left hand.

Dear SostenutO: Thank you for asking the questions above. I hope my response will help you make some suggestions. I definitely won't be trying to learn classical music. I am ready to start playing backing chords for a band. I have played guitar with a number of groups for about 17 years, so I know how to accompany and jam. The style I usually play on guitar, and where I will likely concentrate my piano playing, is straight blues in major or minor keys and adding dominant seventh chords. I also play a wide variety of American folk music like Doc Watson, Gillian Welch, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and that kind of thing. Morever, at the moment I'm learning Duke Elllington's "Don't Get around Much Anymore," so I'm also interested in learning basic jazz compositions. My interpretation of these jazz tunes is very simplified.

As for learning stride piano: Maybe I don't know exactly what stride piano is. Is it the same as boogie woogie piano style? Boogie woogie is the style of piano I think I am suited best for at this point. I think I was assuming "stride" was something like "walking the bass line" but maybe I'm mistaken. Any suggestions you have are more than welcome.

Jade

The Doc
01-03-2007, 09:51 AM
I am ready to start playing backing chords for a band. I have played guitar with a number of groups for about 17 years, so I know how to accompany and jam.

You don't want to be learning stride piano if you're going that route. Being a backing pianist mean that you want to learn voicings for your chords. When you stride, your lower notes will be clashing with what the bass player is playing. It creates a lot of dissonance, steps over his "territory" and then you find the two of you duking it out in the parking lot. When you are playing in a band, the actual range of where you play is pretty small. Your range is from 1 octave below middle C to 2 octaves above it (or close to those where-abouts). When you are actually soloing, you can play anywhere.

Learning voicings is where things get interesting. It will vary from piece to piece, due to what kind of sound you want. Notes too clustered together or in too low of a register of the piano may sound muddy and just like wrong notes. Conversely, if your voicing is too high in the register or really spaced apart, it will have a really thin sound to it. Sometimes you want to produce something like that, generally you won't. Gotta start experimenting :)





As for learning stride piano: Maybe I don't know exactly what stride piano is. Is it the same as boogie woogie piano style? Boogie woogie is the style of piano I think I am suited best for at this point. I think I was assuming "stride" was something like "walking the bass line" but maybe I'm mistaken. Any suggestions you have are more than welcome.

Jade


I would say boogie woogie is more broken intervals than striding. Striding in a jazz sense was around when it was evolving from ragtime.

SostenutO
01-11-2007, 10:51 PM
I take this piano class in school now, and we use these roland digital pianos. It hurts when i play stride! The keys are sharp for some reason! This made me think: are the hands supposed to be jumping over the keys, or kind of sliding accross them...I kind of slide and bounce to the next chord, instead of taking my hold hand of the keys and pouncing on the next chord.

jade_bodhi
01-12-2007, 10:35 PM
I would say boogie woogie is more broken intervals than striding. Striding in a jazz sense was around when it was evolving from ragtime.


Thank you for the ideas. It does seem like I need to start experimenting. I appreciate the suggestion on finding the correct range to accompany others. You suggested not playing bass lines when playing with a bassist, and that makes sense. So what is the best strategy to accompany others. Would it be good to learn to play a tonic note with the left hand and then hit the rest of the triad an octave higher?

By the way, you mentioned that boogie woogie style is something like playing broken intervals. Is that same as a broken chord, which my piano teacher told me was simply omitting one note from a triad, if I understood her correctly.

The Doc
01-16-2007, 07:00 AM
Thank you for the ideas. It does seem like I need to start experimenting. I appreciate the suggestion on finding the correct range to accompany others. You suggested not playing bass lines when playing with a bassist, and that makes sense. So what is the best strategy to accompany others. Would it be good to learn to play a tonic note with the left hand and then hit the rest of the triad an octave higher?

Well not necessarily. Like I said, it's about voicing, and what sounds good relative to the piece. Playing tonic in the bass all the time can get pretty dry quickly. You just have to experiment. Eventually, you'll develop and ear for it.



By the way, you mentioned that boogie woogie style is something like playing broken intervals. Is that same as a broken chord, which my piano teacher told me was simply omitting one note from a triad, if I understood her correctly.

yeah, intervals are just 2 notes. while chords are 3+. Whether you're playing 1 or 2, the key being that they're broken.

vmix
03-08-2010, 04:24 PM
And when it comes to striding, the floppier your hands, the better. However, getting the floppy hands thing comes pretty much after you become familiar with what chords you're hitting.

Being successful with striding, you need to see where you are about to leap, and you should be leading with your thumbs. I got my skills from playing a lot of Ragtime.

There's a book called "Stride Piano Tricks" that talks extensively about stride piano technique. It's being sold at www.stridepianotricks.com (http://www.stridepianotricks.com). It has a section covering the necessary music theory background too.

ClashlandHands
03-10-2010, 11:09 AM
Thanks vmix, I'll check it out.

I've been reading out of these books:

Judy Carmichael's Intro to Stride Piano
http://www.musicbooksnow.com/971366.html

The Right Hand According to Tatum

Gershwin Plays Gershwin - The Piano Rolls
Some of these, like Sweet & Lowdown are arranged as duets, but they can be played by one person.

So, these are all arrangements, and don't explain any of the theory behind it. But, I've made my own walking 10ths exercises, and cliché/licks to learn in all 12 keys as something to finish out phrases or ends of sections like a punctuation mark.

Any Left-hand voicing can be used on 2 & 4 in Stride, but with really up-tempo, full-on stride, it's usually best to keep the voicings simpler than what you might ordinarily play in your LH.



There's a book called "Stride Piano Tricks" that talks extensively about stride piano technique. It's being sold at www.stridepianotricks.com (http://www.stridepianotricks.com). It has a section covering the necessary music theory background too.