Practice the rhythms
of different types of tunes by clapping
your hands in time while you listen to
even use the piano at this point -- just
practice rhythm. Jigs are 6/8; reels
Learn the basic scales and chords that
apply to tunes in major and minor keys.
Familiarize yourself with the 1,4 and
5 chord of each key. These will correspond
with the first, fourth and fifth note
of the scale of the keys. You will play
the 1,4, and 5 chord most often.
Practice the scales
of the keys of D, G, and A; these are
very common fiddle tune keys.
Ask a fiddler
to record some tunes on tape for you
(preferably some that are familiar
to you), playing them over and over,
slowly at first, gradually building
up to speed. When you play them back
(to accompany them) you won’t have
to keep rewinding the tape. You can also
play along with commercial recordings.
If you are brand new to accompanying,
your success happens when you realize
you have played the WRONG chord. This
means your ears are working!!!
method is to play along and just play
the base note (in an octave if possible)
and don’t play any
chords. You will usually always play
two of the same note. For example, follow
this pattern: (in base notes) 11-44-11-55-11-44-1-5-11
(end of first part of tune, 16 bars).
This pattern applies to many jigs and
reels; try it first, but don't depend
on memorizing a pattern, try to use your
Use the most basic
is usually one base note in left hand,
one three-note chord in the right. After
you are comfortable making the chord
changes using this structure, add a base
note in the left hand, (making that an
octave) and add a fourth note to your
right-hand chord, so that the chord should
be (RH) 1-3-5-1 (notes).
of chords up and down the keyboard.
Start at or just above middle C. Play
the "1" chord (three-note
chord) inverting up as far as you can
go, then come down with the "4" chord,
back up again with the "5" chord,
back down again with the "1".
(Right hand only.)
in different positions on the keyboard;
don’t just "hover"
around middle C. Don’t play too
high up the keyboard either (right hand).
The piano is
also a percussion instrument. So, rhythm
is important--more important than the
correct chords. Pay attention to the
tempo of the main melody maker. Don’t be so wrapped up in playing
the correct chords that you forget. If
you don’t get a chord one time
around, don’t worry, you’ll
get it next time or the time after. NEVER
stop - keep going. Stopping can put you
and everyone else out of sync.
Monitor the volume of your playing.
NEVER be louder than the main melody
instrument, or in a band situation, the
rest of the instruments. The fiddle,
in particular, in a very small instrument
compared to a piano. If you are working
with sound equipment, ask the sound person
to adjust your volume so that you are
never louder than the rest. That way,
you can be comfortable. Do not play heavily
all the time--vary your touch.
Use the sustain
pedal moderately, but use it. Do not
carry chord sounds into one another
i.e. let up on the pedal after one
chord so that sound doesn’t
carry into the next different chord you