The Chord Melody Style Of Piano Playing
Chord melody is a term used to describe a style of playing in which the melody is supported by chord tones directly beneath it. This is in contrast to playing a single-note melody with the right hand and accompanying that melody with chords being played with the left hand an octave or so lower.
I created an online tutorial especially dedicated to this concept since every piano stylist will eventually want to incorporate this strategy into his or her own playing. Why? Well, it really adds a whole new dimension to your playing. In addition to having chord tones close to the melody notes as strong supportive harmony, when you play both the melody and chord tones with your right hand, your left hand becomes free to play more creatively!
Think of it this way. Imagine that you are watching and listening to a small band up on stage. You have:
- A vocalist who is singing the melody
- A guitarist who is strumming the chords
- A bassist who is playing the bass lines
Now, imagine you being able to take on all three roles as one person at the piano!
In a sense, this is really what is possible when you take the chord melody approach. I like to refer to this technique as right hand chord piano, since the right hand is playing the chords as well as the melody.
In order to become confident with the right hand chord piano style, it will be very helpful to start familiarizing yourself with playing your chords with the right hand. This includes playing them in all the inversions. An example of what inversions look like, take notice of the illustration below. We see three different positions of the C Major triad:
We can see that each position of the same chord results in a different note of the chord being at the top (furthest to the right). Can you see how the Root position of C Major would nicely accommodate a melody note of G? The 1st Inversion of the chord would be the choice if the melody note was C. Likewise, if the melody note was E, the 2nd Inversion of C Major would suit us perfectly.
While playing both the melody and chord in this fashion, the left hand would be free to take on the role of that bassist! In addition, it could do more creative things, of course. Right Hand Chord Piano Made Easy is a very popular program that people have utilized to familiarize themselves with this chord melody strategy. This piano playing technique can be played at a number of different levels, too. It’s a really nice way for the beginning player to achieve a professional-like sound. More advanced players can certainly make of this strategy in more creative ways, too. So, you see, it is definitely a piano playing style that you can grow with and one that you will want to investigate further.
The program introduces and explains the chord melody approach to playing in a manner that beginners can understand, using excerpts from a few well-known songs that one can relate to. I hope you have a lot of fun with this one. Also, once you get the ball rolling, if you have any questions, I would love to hear from you!
PLAY WITH PASSION!