Welcome to Vol. 3 of piano lessons with GratuiTous!
If you’ve followed the other lessons, I discussed the basics of the piano in terms of keys, scales, and chords. But now I’m sure you’ve gotten to the point of trying to play with your left and right hand at the same time!
That’s tricky, but another thing that is tricky is knowing what and how you can play piano with your left hand! (In terms of what notes you can hit and when!)
So in Vol. 3, that’s what we cover. Using the left hand while playing piano.
Piano Lessons Vol. 3 Outline for Left-Hand
- Basic Block Chords
- Pulsing or Syncopating the Block Chords
- Applying Arpeggios to the Left Hand
- Adding Fillers for Left Hand Fullness!
Basic Block Chords
When playing your block chord (which is your basic triad), I actually tend to remove the middle finger when playing these chords.
I find the middle note can cause muddiness and clashing of notes. Whereas, if you just use your pinky and thumb, it gives you the fundamental note, and then the pleasing upper note which would be played with your thumb.
Pinky and Thumb on Chord:
However, if you just hit the chord once every bar, this can make your productions feel without much emotion.
We can add more excitement by playing the chord every beat, or even with syncopation! (Off beat)
Pulsing or Syncopation with Block Chords
When I say pulsing I mean pressing the chord down on every beat before changing to a new chord.
So if there’s 4 beats in 1 bar, you’d play the chord 4 times before changing to a new chord, which you’d again play 4 times for that bar, and switch up to a new chord. I usually find 4 chords is a good amount of chords to choose from.
At first this is fine, but you’ll get bored!
As you progress, you’ll eventually play the left hand chord in either a rhythmic way, or mix and match between the pulsing of the chord on every beat and playing the chord with syncopation. (Watch the video to see syncopation in action.)
Syncopation definitely gives your piano pieces a different feel to them.
Apply Arpeggios to the Left Hand
This is probably the most powerful tip in this lesson.
This arpeggio comes from a rocky-feel on the left hand. So you start at the bottom, and work your way to the top, and then back down. When playing block chords on every beat, or even with syncopation, there’s still a bit of emptiness between left hand notes – Not so much with arpeggios!
How I showed in this video was let’s say we’re playing a C Minor chord. So that’d be C, D# and G.
But what I like to do is remove the D#, and use C, G, and then use the next octave of C. And if you’re going to another chord, I just do the same thing.
I remove the middle finger, and just use the next octave of the first note played. (So if it’s a G chord, it’d be G, D, and next octave of G).
With your pinky, index finger, and thumb, I rock in between these, which adds huge fullness to your piano piece.
Again, this will be a big moment in your production career! You’ll really feel your piano pieces and productions are really taking off. But this can actually form a really bad habit! You want to try to spice things up to keep staying fresh in your productions. So you can change up the notes after the first note.
The first note is your fundamental note, so if you have other notes hitting C for the first beat, you probably want the first note of your arpeggio to be C. Otherwise, the first note could clash!
But after the first note of C, instead of going G, and next octave of C, you can for example go like C, G, next octave C, then on it’s next time around, go C, G, then A# to spice it up a bit!
Adding Fillers to Piano Pieces
These fillers are really tricky to figure out. And in all honesty, volume has an impact on this! (How loud you play certain notes.)
But a quick and easy way to add fillers is right before you change the chord, you can simply just play a few notes on the left hand of that same chord before going to the next chord.
At the end of the day, it’s all about practice. But being exposed to these left hand tips will really push your productions that much further.
Watch the video to see all of these tips mentioned for a better understanding!