Sound “Pro” With This Left Hand Technique

Cocktail Piano Tips

Creating Momentum With The Left Hand

The illustration below is actually snapshot from 1-2-3 Cocktail Piano #2, which serves as a nice follow-up to
1-2-3 Cocktail Piano #1. Here we see the three chord tones from an E minor triad being played:


However, we opened up this three-note chord by taking the G out of the middle and placing it one octave higher. Thus, the order of the chord tones being played are (we are playing a 10th interval from the E to the G):


Cocktail Piano Tips - Left Hand Technique

In the video, we demonstrate this technique being used in two different ways, playing in a 4/4 meter:

1) Each chord tone being played as quarter notes (E-B-G back to B, for example)

2) Two of the chord tones being played as eighth notes and three of them being played as quarter notes (E-B as eight notes followed by G then B then E, each as quarter notes, for example).

Play around with the order of the chord tones. Mix it up! Yes, playing the Root first on beat one does set it up nicely. The following chord tones you play can be alternated. Also, if you happen to be playing a song in 3/4 time, playing each chord tone as quarter notes just once takes care of the measure, of course. That said, incorporating some eighth notes adds additional momentum. By the way, this works especially nicely when you alternate (play a measure or two as quarter notes followed by playing some eighth notes).

Depending on the size of your hand, this may come as more or less of a challenge if you are to have each of your fingers readily available on all three chord tones. However, allowing your arm and wrist to help makes this significantly easier. As a player with relatively short hands, I can confirm this : )

I would strongly encourage you to take any triad and apply this “rolling” technique, using it in the context of your favorite songs. As you become more and more comfortable with it, you will find that the technique becomes a natural part of your playing!






Cocktail Piano Tips - Dave

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