Here’s a quick tip that would make any church pianist sound much fuller when playing from the hymnal.
When improvising from the hymnal, the pianist can make the hymn sound fuller by playing 4 note chords in the right hand….allowing more space for the left hand to improvise.
“Like a River Glorious” is a great hymn to apply this idea…since the rhythm isn’t real busy…making it easier to maneuver.
The first two measures in the example below demonstrates the standard five-part style hymnplaying (3 notes in the right hand and 2 notes in the left hand).
The final two measures show the right hand playing an octave higher to allow room for the 4-note style in the right hand. One of my teachers from years back taught me the idea of playing a phrase in one general area and then gradually climbing back down or up (whichever the case may be) for variety.
Next time, I’ll show you a fun way the right hand can climb back down to the middle of the piano for the next phrase of “Like a River Glorious”.