Thursday, January 13, 2022

Easy Piano Improvisation inspiration from YouTube

When I discovered this energetic new music video from the Truman Brothers this morning I had the itch to play along on the piano.  While I don't have the music, I found it perfect as a "backing track" for a little A-flat improvisation.  It could even be used for scale practice although I find improvising much more exciting!

Steps for Pop Song Style Piano Improvisation

Identify the Key.  

This often can be done by matching the first or last pitch of the song on the piano.  "Higher"is in A-flat. To improvise, start simply by creating melodies using the notes from the Aflat pentascale (A flat, Bflat, C, Dflat, Eflat).  Later expand to include any note from the 1 octave scale.

Listen for repetitive elements in the song that you can incorporate in your own music.  

I love the frequent bass  IV-I Pattern from this song played in the intro.  The simplicity of primary chords (I, IV, and V) with an occasional vi chord is common for pop style songs. You could simply play a Db followed by Ab in the bass or play octaves for a richer sound. Add in a few V chords or octaves for variety. To create a pop or rock feel, play repetitive measure quarter notes in the left hand.

For example. Ab-Ab-Ab-Ab then Db Db Db Db or Eb Eb Eb Eb.

Match the mood.  

This pop style song has a steady drumming pulse that can be imitated by repetitive I, IV or V notes in the bass line with syncopated rhythms in the melody line. Choose a few of your favorite rhythm patterns in the song and imitate them as you improvise. 

In the key of A flat the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of scale are all you need in the bass line.

  • I-Aflat
  • IV=Dflat 
  • V= Eflat

Here's my brief unrehearsed piano improv in A flat Major... still in my pjs! Improvisation doesn't have to be perfect, but it can definitely be fun!

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