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Topic: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

  1. #1

    Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    Hello Everybody:

    Great job with the idea of teaching orchestration over the net in free online classes...

    I have been studying piano at college for quite a while, and while I seem to understand the importance of playing classical music, the part that I am really struggling to understand, is to learning how to play different bass styles/techniques for accompaniment, on the piano.

    Things like:
    -County Western; Bluegrass,
    -Rock; Ballads; Rock N' Roll; Pop,etc...all have different styles of playing and listening to cds, it seems like many are playing "perfect fifths" or walking basslines on the bass guitar...

    my question is: When I go and open up a fake-book, or original sheet-music, How can I learn to play many different musical styles/techniques for piano/accompaniment, so that what I am playing will be correct, in the correct music genre...like jazz, pop, countywestern, rock, ballads, blues...etc...

    I would also like to get into accompanying and arranging.... thanks to the new Principals of Orchestration!

    I would REALLY like to learn how to play different styles of bass technique playing on piano...cause where I live, there are no classes offering music arranging for different styles/instruments...

    BTW...in the introduction, under Prerequisites somebody wrote "There are excellent courses and books available if you required additional knowledge about the instruments of the orchestra...

    Does anybody have any books to read or websites to go visit to that teach you about music arranging, for different styles of music?

    Thank You For Reading This, and Most Grateful...

  2. #2

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    hey there-- for contemporary piano technique, one excellent resource is the pop piano book by mark harrison-- it is especially helpful if u read music, which i assume u do-- it is very detailed esp. on this kind of thing, he proper voicings for both hands in a variety of styles-- there are other books, some focusing specifically on the left hand for piano, check out the berklee website for their educational books-- also, check out dickgrove.com for top-notch courses in jazz piano and arranging-- they have the most extensive courses available for those not in music school, completely self-study but excellent courses ( the mark harrison book does not deal with jazz-- however, he has written other books which go into more detail for specific styles, do some google searches)-- hope that is helpful to u-- and as always, if u have some specific questions on piano technique and arranging, the knowledgeable people in this forum are usually very helpful

  3. #3

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    This book looks perfect for you:


  4. #4

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    Thank you for replying Sammy and Ron...

    I forgot to mention that I just finished recently ALL my eartraining and music theory courses at my community college...so I DO know how to read sheet music and analyze it!

  5. #5

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    As far as arranging goes, your college may have in its library a book called Instrumentally Speaking by Robert Russell Bennett (ISBN 9996455661). Bennett, of course, was the great orchestrator who did a lot of Rodgers & Hammerstein shows. Not surprisingly, his book is geared toward a Hollywood-musical style, which may not be what you're looking for, but it does provide some useful insight into a nonclassical style of orchestration and arrangement -- remember, this was in the era when the "composer" wrote 32 bars and the "orchestrator" did 90% of the actual composition. There are also a number of books on big-band arranging, though I can't think of any titles off the top of my head. I'm not sure what's been written about other styles.
    Marnen E. Laibow-Koser
    Composer / Web developer

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    Quote Originally Posted by MitchM2006
    my question is: When I go and open up a fake-book, or original sheet-music, How can I learn to play many different musical styles/techniques for piano/accompaniment, so that what I am playing will be correct, in the correct music genre...like jazz, pop, countywestern, rock, ballads, blues...etc...
    Books are great, and I always encourage people to read everything they can get their hands on about music.

    I think that the most targeted book you could read right now would be Dan Hearle's book, Jazz/Rock Voicings For the Contemporary Keyboard Player. Although the title sounds a bit stilted (it's been around a while), it is one of the most no-nonsense, simple books on playing style you can get.

    Next, listen, listen, listen, and listen. Start tuning into what great players are playing in every genre. Get some staff paper, and transcribe the piano parts and solos from as many great tunes as you can.

    I would say that transcription is the most valuable thing you can do, once you've gotten through the Hearle book, and know the basic do's and don'ts. It's the fastest way to start getting a repertoire of playing styles that are known to work.

  7. #7

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    Hi Mitch,

    Another jazz-specific book that several pianists I know seem to have got a lot out of is The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine (pub. Cher Music). I was working through it's non-instrument-specific counterpart The Jazz Theory Book, but had to leave it behind when I went travelling (would have added 5kg to my luggage!). It's full of info but easy-going in style for a theory book. The only theory book that's ever made me laugh!

    A personal note as a bass player is that a lot of pianists new to headsheets fall into the trap of playing the left hand the same with or without a band. Many's the time I've had to play almost nothing because the pianist's already doing a walking bassline! The piano has the potential to create very full textures on it's own, and often does so in solo situations, or when it is the only accompanying instrument, so playing in a band can require considerable restraint in order to leave space for the other instruments.

  8. #8

    Re: Music Arranging/Accompaniment

    Thank you all for your replies. Right now I am reading Musicianship In The Digital Age...one I am done with that book, I will read the others that you all suggested.

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