Last week, at the end of the lesson, my friend, Kees, entered. He had a funny, little, accordion with him that could only play in the key G. So he started songs in G. I asked my course members if anyone could accompany him and it turned out that only 2 of the 15 people being present were capable to accompany Kees extempore, off the cuff, in key G.
This worried me as most of them were my course members for a long time already. Therefore I feel inspired to lay the accent in this lesson on improvising in key G. The problems that come up, applies improvising in every key.
When Kees starts a song in G, what is it then that the pianist does on his piano, if he is asked to accompany Kees?
- The pianist looks which 3 chords he has to use in G. He determines the root chord, the dominant seventh chord and the subdominant. If you have forgotten how this goes, study once again lessons http://www.improvise.nl/nedles05.html and http://www.improvise.nl/nedles11.html.
In the key G the root chord, dominant chord and subdominant chord are: G = d g b D7 = d f# a c C = e g c
- The trick is, to change in time of chord when you hear the melody (of the musician with whom you play to accompany him, and if you play alone, your own melody) and to choose the right chord (so root chord, dominant or subdominant) with what you hear.
You can train this changing trick, by often listening to music and by playing a lot, in particular with others. So you get, by lots playing, the right ears that intuitively hear when it is time to change to which cord with a given melody. That is also necessary, because the number of combinations is endless. After G you can have D7 or C or again G, after D7 you can have C or G, etcetera, etcetera. You get combination-schemes like this:
G D G C D C C D D G D C ... etcetera.
- A tip if you accompany someone's melody on the piano is to play for example 1 tone of the chord (root chord, dominant or subdominant) whose turn it is at that moment. Which tone of the root chord that is, does not matter then.
- What you can also do is think of a (counter) melody and play this (through the, by the other person played melody)