Using Chords for Accompaniment

Piano Hands

 Using Chords for Accompaniment

The most common use of chords is as an accompaniment to a melody. The melody could be sung, played by another instrument or by the right hand on the keyboard. If you are playing the melody with your right hand, you can play chords with your left hand. To become a good keyboard player, you will need to be comfortable playing chords with either hand. When accompanying yourself, it is often necessary to find chord voicings which are close together. Have you struggled a bit with this? I know it's not easy grabbing 3 notes at the same time but practice these simple ones and in time, you'll get the hang of it. Be patient with yourself.

Chords can be arranged in many different ways. As long as the correct notes are contained in the chord, the notes can be arranged in any order. The order of the notes is often called an inversion or voicing. The following example shows the chords C, F, and G played by the left hand using inversions which are close together for ease of playing. The arrangement of notes in each chord is shown below.

               Notes in Chord               Voicing Used

C Chord:  C E G (1 3 5)                 C Chord: C E G (1 3 5)

F Chord: F A C (1 3 5)                   F Chord:  C F A (5 1 3)

G Chord: G B D (1 3 5)                  G Chord: B D G (3 5 1)

Practice playing these chords in the left hand:

C E G

C F A

C E G

B D G

C E G

C F A

B D G

C E G

So, here's an easy song to play with both hands: Banks of the Ohio (4/4 time signature)

C, C, E (single r.h. notes) /
CEG/ E (C chord) /
CEG/ C,C,D (single r.h. notes) /
BDG/ D (G chord) /

BDG/ D,D,E /
BDG/ F /
BDG/ F,G,G (r.h. single notes) /
CEG/ E /

CEG/ E, E, G (r.h. single notes) /
CEG/ G /
CEG/ E, F, G (r.h. single notes) /
CFA/ F (F chord) /

CFA/ C, C, D (r.h. single notes) /
CEG/ E (C chord) /
BDG/ D, D, D, (r.h. single notes) /
CEG/ C (C chord) /

For more information, you might want to read these articles,

 The-Three-Primary-Chords

Constructing-Simple-Chords

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"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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