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Accompaniment Practice Pattern
s

Most pieces of music have a regular musical background which supports the melody. This background often repeats the notes of the chords in the chord sequence in regular rhythmic patterns.

The successful modern keyboard player needs to be able to devise left hand accompaniment patterns from chord symbols to provide this background in solo keyboard styles.

A four-note left hand chord accompaniment pattern is most likely to use the root (R), fifth (5), octave (8) and tenth (10 - third an octave higher) of the chord in use, ranged from the bottom up. This module give you the opportunity to learn and practice those notes on the Canon chord sequence in a methodical, productive way.

Some of this module duplicates parts of the Canon Project Modules Seven and Eight. Repeating the duplicated material will always be time well spent.

Naming the chord tones

Accompaniment patterns are usually made from the root, the third and the fifth (the chord tones) of the chord named in the chord symbol. You find them by counting scale tones (in this case, D major scale tones) up from the root/name-note of the chord, as shown in the next illustration. The root is number one – there is no zero in this kind of counting.

Find the notes and play-and-say them.

Same note, different names

See if you can follow this logic.

  • F# is the third of a D chord but the root of an F# minor chord.
  • A is the root of an A chord but the third of an F#m chord and the fifth of a D chord.
  • B is the third of a G chord but the root of a B minor chord.

Here are the chord tones of our five Canon chords, played and named from the D and C# below middle C.

Find and play the notes, saying the chord tone names.

Typical accompaniment patterns

We can make a four-note accompaniment pattern by playing another root note an octave above the first one. We call this second root note ‘the octave’ (8), to show it’s a different key on the keyboard. We say we have ‘doubled’ the root because we play the second root (the octave) as well as, not instead of, the first.

It’s essential going forward that you can find these notes with minimal delay for all five of the chords we are using. Copy the performance using two hands and be sure to say the chord tone names out loud.

When you are ready, go on to Page Two of this mini-series.


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