Piano: Rhythm and Beat
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Piano: Rhythm and Beat

Why Rhythm and Beat is essential to the Piano.

 “The piano is a percussion instrument; like drum.You don’t strum a piano. You don’t bow a piano. You bang and strike a piano. You beat the s**t out of a piano.”

-Billy Joel

Piano Man Billy Joel

Playing the piano by means of chords makes a figure on your hand, like you are banging the piano. You just keep the hand position and keep on banging the piano. The banging you do needs rhythm to produce music.

Elton John Rocket Man

Billy Joel is a well known popular music piano player; he is called the “Piano Man” while his contemporary Elton John, another piano player is called the “Rocket Man”. Rhythm is very important for the piano especially on genres such as pop, rock, and ragtime. Classical somewhat overlooks rhythm because of the employment of rubato. Rubato simply means “free-style” in layman’s terms.

The piano acts like a percussion instrument in the band, it enforces and strengthens the wall of sound when playing. When the piano plays a solo it is only then it becomes an instrument of its own in pop music. The piano in classical music is either solo or an accompaniment for orchestras. It is a key instrument in classical music just like the violin.

Rhythm and Beat is very important in pop music, the piano acts like the second drums while filling the gaps between the chords. Rhythm and Beat makes the piano what it is in Blues Music. The 12 Bar Blues is essentially 12 Bars, the piano acts both the bass and the melody. The left hand needs a steady bass rhythm while the right hand tries to accompany it with a counter melody. Remember that in this case the piano is playing the roles of both the bass guitar (bass is technically a rhythm) and the electric guitar in a musical sense. This is usually attributed to the ability of the piano to play the notes in the Grand Staff.

The most popular way of playing chord is by bumping it in steady beats, after developing mastery on the instrument most people get a steady beat in their heads and can produce fills and melodies formed upon the chord while still having a beat to change chords.

The best way to develop this technique is by experimenting with the piano, producing music aided by your ears, creativity is required in this part but do not forget the beat. It is impossible to recreate a sound without the beat. Having the beat in your head will remove any chances of you playing the wrong note.

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Comments (2)

I have always wanted to learn to play an instrument, the guitar, but never had the patience to learn.

Well written and interesting.