Posts Tagged ‘improvising ideas’

How to Play Hymns & Gospel Songs in an Evangelistic Style

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

How to Play Hymns & Gospel Songs Instructional Book

Just discovered a practical instructional book on  improvising hymns found on Alfred Publishing’s site.

This book is a great starter for the intermediate pianist who wants to improvise from the church hymnal.  The pianist will learn how to do the following:

*Add tenor to the right hand

*Double the bass note

*A couple of easy-to-learn  left hand fill-in ideas

*PLUS…a collection of hymns already arranged for the intermediate church pianist using the improvising ideas that are taught in the book.

Click on the following book title to view the book and sample pages!

“How to Play Hymns & Gospel Songs in an Evangelistic Style”

Free Improvising Ideas: Count Your Blessings (congregational style)

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The hymn “Count Your Blessings” carries a great message in song but contains frequent repetitive notes providing a rather plain accompaniment for the average church pianist

Free Improvising Ideas for Count Your Blessings (congregational style)

Key of D Major

1. Use alternate bass movement (see measure #2) LH beat one…I played an ‘A’ rather than ‘D’

2. Measure #1 and #5, beat one ( no need to play every word) when playing congregational style; allows more ease of movement for the pianist.

3. The four note RH chords provide support to the singers.

4. Measure #6, notice the contrary octave movement between the hands for variety.

    *Contrary movement between both hands always adds a nice touch of spice 🙂

Click here to download Free Improvising Ideas for Count Your Blessings (congregational style)

Victory in Jesus (free improvising ideas)

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

One of my readers recently asked if I would share some improvising ideas for Victory in Jesus. Since this hymn is copyrighted, I’m limited to how much of the song I can share due to the “fair use” law for copyrighted music.  (Another interesting topic for a future article)  🙂

Editor’s Notes for the free handout of Victory in Jesus (improvising ideas): Click here for free handout. 

For time’s sake, I only entered the melody on the vocal score but the piano score utulizes the basic chord structure of the four voice parts from the hymnal.

Left hand accompaniment description for line one:  I used an alternate bass note (D) on the third beat for variety.  The note (D) fits in a “G” chord…therefore making it a good choice for an alternate bass note. 

LH accompaniment description for line two: I used the same alternate bass idea. The final measure contains a busy octave stepping pattern to fill-in three counts on the word “me”.   The dotted rhythm on the first two octaves adds an extra spice to the sound; making it more lively.

I know more visual examples of this hymn would be helpful but I’ve reached my limit of “fair use”.   Although, I can tell you in words… that I use the alternate bass idea on the chorus too.  Just look in a hymnal at the chorus.  See the words “Saviour” and “blood” ?  I play stepping octaves for these words with my left hand.

Just a peek at what can be done with this hymn but may provide a springboard to your own creativity!

The Church Pianist: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne (part two)

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Improving Ideas for Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne (part two)

The improvising ideas in this hymn are simplistic but are meant to add warmth to enhance the beautiful words of this old melody.

Improvising ideas for Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne: part one

*Keep in mind…the chords in the piano score will not match the four parts from the hymnal version.

The Church Pianist: Part One (Improvising “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne)

Friday, November 12th, 2010

“Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” is a beautiful hymn to use at Christmas time.  This particular hymn contains a lot of accidentals…creating awkward moves for the church pianist.  I will attempt to create smoother harmonic changes making it more user-friendly for the average church pianist.

Editor notes for Part One of “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”

Download the free pdf  example here to view as you read the information below.

1. I like to use a ‘G’ natural in place of the ‘G’ sharp on the last word of line one. I just think it sounds better.

2. Notice the chord number labels in line two. Whenever a I chord is lasting more than one beat and moving to a V chord…you can substitute a vi chord in place of the I chord before moving into the V chord.   The vi chord creates a warmer tone.

In plain English…a I chord in the key of D = DF#A and the V chord in the key of D = AC#E

I look forward to sharing more improvising ideas with the rest of “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” in part two.

*Keep in mind…the chords in the piano score will not match the four parts from the hymnal version.

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