Posts Tagged ‘like a river glorious’

Hymnprovising Tip: Like a River Glorious (line two)

Monday, May 6th, 2013

If you read the previous article on “Like a River Glorious” then the following will make sense.

I’m sharing a way that the right hand can climb back down the ladder after playing an octave higher during the first sentence of “Like a River Glorious”.

To read the previous article, click HERE.


Hymnprovising Tip for Church Pianists

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

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”.




The Church Pianist: Free Hymn Piano Arrangement

Friday, April 30th, 2010

As promised, I’m offering a free hymn piano arrangement today for church pianists.  The title of the hymn is “Like a River Glorious”.

This free piano arrangement can be used for prelude, congregational singing or as an offertory.

As a church pianist, I would find this arrangement most suitable for congregational singing.

Like a River Glorious (free piano hymn arrangement)

The Church Pianist: Part One: My First Improvising Piano Lesson

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I was in fifth grade when I received my first improvising lesson from the hymnal.

The hymn I improvised was At Calvary.  It took me at least two months to learn the improvised style in a flowing rhythm.

Here are the first two improvising steps I learned to create a fuller sound in hymnplaying.

First, open a hymnal to the hymn: “Like a River Glorious”.  I chose this hymn because it is in an easy key and contains a simple rhythm.

Let me preface the lesson with the following clarification: The soprano is the top note on the treble staff; while the alto is under the soprano note.

The tenor note is the top note on the bass staff and the bass note is under the tenor note.

Step #1:  Add the tenor note to the right hand when feasible (right thumb plays this note).

You should be playing a total of three notes in the right hand. (tenor, alto and soprano)

Exception: Sometimes the tenor note fits better between the alto and soprano note.

This usually occurs when the alto and soprano have a greater distance between them; allowing room for

the tenor note to fit between them.

It is best to practice the right hand alone (with the added tenor) until a steady flow is maintained.

Expect to feel disoriented at first; having to add the tenor note to the right hand without it written that way.

Step #2: Double the bass note (left thumb is placed on the written bass note and duplicated an octave below with the pinky).

(Doubling the bass note is basically playing in octaves.) This second step really adds a deep, rich sound to the hymn.

Be prepared to slow down when adding the left hand to the right hand.

The following two step improvising lesson can be described as playing in five-part style:

Three notes in the right hand and two notes in the left hand.

Keep in mind, it took me two months to play one hymn with this two step improvising lesson.

Once you play one hymn this way, you can apply the same two step process to all other hymns.

Choose other hymns in easy keys with simple rhythms at first. Once you’ve gained some confidence,

you can move on to hymns in harder keys with more complex rhythms.

This two step improvising method will allow a pianist to sound full enough to support congregational singing.

Over time, more improvising skills can be obtained; adding life and fullness to hymnplaying.

Part two will contain a video demonstrating this two step improvising piano lesson along with a free pdf arrangement

of Like a River Glorious in five-part style.

Click here to see video of my first improvising lesson

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