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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Piano playing fiddlers


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/54700

farmerjones - Posted - 02/07/2021:  18:05:19


I noticed a few from another recent thread. I'm just a self taught chord banger, but I have a great time. Especially now, where I can't play with others.
I learned fiddle first. Piano seemed to come easy. Not natural, but easy-er.
I'd like to hear other's thoughts on piano. There's really nothing I play on fiddle/violin that can move me like some songs I play on piano.

ChickenMan - Posted - 02/07/2021:  18:14:34


I too am a chord banger, essentially playing guitar on the piano laugh and have been doing it since I had access to a piano, high school I think.



My wife can sight read pretty much anything and we once had a neat old tabletop Fender Rhodes piano on loan for a year or two. She would bring home pop music books from the library and we'd sing and take turns playing the songs, things like "Top 20 from 1978," "Music from Little Shop of Horrors," "Steely Dan Greatest Hits" and the like.



She's been taking wistfully lately about getting an electric piano. 


Edited by - ChickenMan on 02/07/2021 18:16:54

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 02/07/2021:  18:51:31


I love piano. The non-electric kind. I have a baby grand Starck with a beautiful cabinet with claw foot legs sitting 20 feet away from where I'm typing this. It needs the technician/tuner because I haven't played it for a year. I've spent the last year building a country/bluegrass band repertoire and focusing on fiddle. I made a new year resolution to allocate some time to piano again, but here we are.



Mom is a classical pianist, music major and teacher. She taught all us kids thataway, too. But she still taught us songs that we liked to play. So, now (well, as of last year) I love playing not only Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, and all sorts of weepy Chopin preludes, but also Last Date, Wichita Lineman, Rhinestone Cowboy, and Linus & Lucy.



The only thing is, I never learned to comp much or play in any requested key on piano. Play off the sheet music and that's it. There's really no "pattern" to keyboard, so it's very difficult to change keys on request. The blue notes could be white or they could be black. Fiddle is pretty easy for that, though. Guitar? 3 chord forms. Somebody that can play runs on keyboard in any key is truly gifted.



Anyway, I've never took the time to get to the improv level on piano, though I have comped myself in church a little.



Sorry, I suppose this turned out to be a "hey, look at me" post, but I'm glad you're enjoying piano--it sure widens your field of view.  And great at pitching a new song for your vocals.


Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 02/07/2021 19:09:02

boxbow - Posted - 02/07/2021:  19:49:03


Strictly a noodler, myself. As in one hand at a time.

farmerjones - Posted - 02/07/2021:  20:19:58


I've got room for a big acoustic piano, but for now I have a Yamaha p95, digital piano. Always in tune, and has a volume control.
I guess I can play in C, D, & G. Recently I found the tune Shiek of Araby, in Bb. Thanks to a circle of 5ths diagram, I transcribed it into G. It's ruffly a ii, V, I, chord progression, so it was easy. I read notation too slowly. But even if I write down chords, it's interesting how hard it is to get away from paper. Lyrics sheets too. If I have a sheet I'll never memorize it. I don't want this to drift into paper vs. ear. I simply want to share/swap experiences.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/07/2021:  20:21:58


I took up the fiddle because my wife got sick of my relentless piano playing (Chopin, Bach, Mozart, rock, jazz, Floyd Cramer style country and, of course, the beginning pianist's best friend Muzio Clementi). I needed a musical instrument to drive myself crazy with that I could easily take into the backyard. I dare you to try that with a grand. Yeah, I already had a couple steel string acoustic guitars (the instrument with which I'm still by far the most proficient), but a guy has got to explore new territory if he's to stay sane.

Anyway, the Devil's box did its devilish work on me. It's now my favorite instrument by a good margin. As for the notion of getting an electric piano and using earphones...not a chance for this tweaky, deranged acoustic music buff. My electric guitars are in the closet, as well.

banjopaolo - Posted - 02/07/2021:  22:38:38


I do play some piano but not really, I mean I use piano to write music and arrangements, and I play it to comp my students doing lesson, but never played it in bands or concerts...
My wife is a professional piano player so if I need a pianist I know where to find it! :-)

DougD - Posted - 02/08/2021:  04:45:49


farmerjones - I'll pass along a tip given me by Little Brother Montgomery: If you play stride style piano (alternating bass notes and chords in the left hand) Bb and Eb are great because those black keys are standing out by themselves wth a big gap (two white keys) above them. Much easier to hit than white keys like G, D, or C that are buried among the other white keys. Useful for other styles too, like Chopin.

Swing - Posted - 02/08/2021:  04:49:47


I play back up piano for other fiddlers, while I am not all that good at finding all the chords I do have fun. There are a bunch of us who when we can get together swap off on tunes playing piano, fiddle guitar. It makes a jam session much more interesting and while being able to sit back and listen to others play is a pleasure in itself.

Play Happy

Swing

ChickenMan - Posted - 02/08/2021:  05:23:01


I have to add for Scott - there are definitely patterns on the piano, just like on fingerboard instruments; it is music after all and music has patterns.

DougBrock - Posted - 02/08/2021:  05:26:21


I started piano at 7 and was actually a piano major in college for three semesters before changing to electrical engineering. Piano is a wonderful instrument for a lot of reasons, but for one is a fabulous way to better understand music theory. The scales and chords are right there before your eyes.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 02/08/2021:  05:55:33


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I have to add for Scott - there are definitely patterns on the piano, just like on fingerboard instruments; it is music after all and music has patterns.






You are right, there are definitely similarities.  A 3rd is a 3rd.  And, between keys, a lick or run up the keyboard will "usually" involve the same sequence of thumb/fingers.  I guess what I meant was "visual shapes," like on string instruments--ie, go to this shape to play this lick, go to that shape to play that one, who cares what key you're in (closed pos).  The tactile and the shapes change on keyboard with change of key, and it's hard on the muscle memory.

bees - Posted - 02/08/2021:  11:10:24


I played accordion as a little kid so my right hand is still pretty good. I recently got a 2 octave midi keyboard that I use to record backup parts on fiddle tunes. I can add cellos, flutes, drums, etc. Sounds good.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 02/08/2021:  11:58:35


quote:

Originally posted by bees

I played accordion as a little kid so my right hand is still pretty good. I recently got a 2 octave midi keyboard that I use to record backup parts on fiddle tunes. I can add cellos, flutes, drums, etc. Sounds good.






I love to play fiddle with a box and maybe a tenor banjo for some punch

farmerjones - Posted - 02/08/2021:  13:41:21


quote:

Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I have to add for Scott - there are definitely patterns on the piano, just like on fingerboard instruments; it is music after all and music has patterns.






You are right, there are definitely similarities.  A 3rd is a 3rd.  And, between keys, a lick or run up the keyboard will "usually" involve the same sequence of thumb/fingers.  I guess what I meant was "visual shapes," like on string instruments--ie, go to this shape to play this lick, go to that shape to play that one, who cares what key you're in (closed pos).  The tactile and the shapes change on keyboard with change of key, and it's hard on the muscle memory.






I was paddling along as if I was a happy duck, with the root note on my leftest/lowest digit. Followed by the 3rd , and 5th. Then I somehow found out about chord inversions. So there's at least 3 voices for every chord. They had to stitch my wig back on. I understand their use, but honestly, I was happier when I was ignorant. I still would rather make big jumps, because that's how I learned, and think. I had a fool for a teacher.



Stride? I can't stride. I can comfortably reach octaves with my left, so that's my latest wrinkle.

RichJ - Posted - 02/08/2021:  13:46:42


Took piano lesion when I was 10 year, stopped around the age of 15. Latent ability to read notes for piano retained from this experience was immensely valuable in helping me learn to read notes and understanding keys on the fiddle. I now pretty much learn everything by ear, but every now and then go back to my understanding of the piano keyboard to work out things I'm trying to work out on the fiddle. A piano is the only musical instrument with ALL the notes (+/- 88) right there in front of the player. It's a very helpful tool to work out why certain notes sharp or flat in different keys. BTW, ever wonder why a piano doesn't have a black key between every white key?

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/08/2021:  15:37:24


quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

 BTW, ever wonder why a piano doesn't have a black key between every white key?






Because ya' wouldn't be able to figure out where you are in a million yearzzz.  The black keys are situated between the white keys in an extremely clever way that makes it easy for either your fingers or your eyes to exactly know where any individual pitch is located.  Even better, by just using the black keys you can instantly be playing music in a mellifluous, fool-proof pentatonic scale. 



The individual white keys, meantime, are also organized in a way that makes the pitches easy to spot.  You learn a few rules...such as the one where if you start a scale at a white key that is just south of a group of two black keys, you can play a perfect major scale by just consecutively going up or down the white keys in front of you.  Tunes quickly fall under the fingers.  What can I say?  The piano keyboard is sheer genius.

RichJ - Posted - 02/08/2021:  16:26:59


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

 BTW, ever wonder why a piano doesn't have a black key between every white key?






Because ya' wouldn't be able to figure out where you are in a million yearzzz.  The black keys are situated between the white keys in an extremely clever way that makes it easy for either your fingers or your eyes to exactly know where any individual pitch is located.  Even better, by just using the black keys you can instantly be playing music in a mellifluous, fool-proof pentatonic scale. 



The individual white keys, meantime, are also organized in a way that makes the pitches easy to spot.  You learn a few rules...such as the one where if you start a scale at a white key that is just south of a group of two black keys, you can play a perfect major scale by just consecutively going up or down the white keys in front of you.  Tunes quickly fall under the fingers.  What can I say?  The piano keyboard is sheer genius.






Hey Ed - Yes, all that may be true, but I think the real reason is related to tonal qualities of a western (non-oriental) seven note major scale: tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-tone-semitone. At least that is the way our western oriented ears wants to hear it played. On that basis the pitch difference between the notes E and F  and notes b and c will ALWAYS be a semitone. As long as you play western music there's no reason to squeeze a black note between the E and F or the B and C.

ChickenMan - Posted - 02/08/2021:  17:50:05


quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

 





You sir, are correct! The answer is: because Western music sez so. 

RinconMtnErnie - Posted - 02/08/2021:  18:55:02


My first instrument was piano. We own a nice Yamaha U1 upright that is pretty awesome. It does not get played enough. I can play surprisingly non-terribly considering that I don't practice at all. I'd like to put time into it, but it's all I can do to play fiddle.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 02/08/2021:  19:06:13


Steve, you've been playing different voicings on fiddle all this time--but just only two notes simultaneously



G maj root chord--GBD

G 1st inversion--BDG

G 2nd inversion--DGB



whole bunch of voicing combos in there on fiddle where you don't really know which inversion you're playing, but I've tried to narrow it down to: if the melody note is on bottom of the double-stop, or on top. I try to keep it there throughout the break if I can. The root doesn't even have to be in there sometimes.  Though if you're going off the reservation on your solo, none of this matters, as you know.  Adding layers of texture is not the fiddle's job.



On pianer, however, you can always have all three and if you're jazzy, add the b7th, 9th, and/or even the 11th/13th to the whole mess. Diminished, augmented, suspended2nd/4th. Whew. This is why I remained at the recitation level on pianer. I am a simple man.


Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 02/08/2021 19:10:46

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/08/2021:  19:35:46


RichJ -- My ears don't seem to care when the pitches employed by a Well Tempered Klavier might vary from what, say, brass instruments or fretless stringed instruments are able to convey. I let the various instruments color and present the music in their own pleasing ways. If things don't quite match when a bunch of instruments are playing in ensemble, it just adds spice & personality.

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 02/09/2021:  06:21:40


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I have to add for Scott - there are definitely patterns on the piano, just like on fingerboard instruments; it is music after all and music has patterns.






Here's where all the intervals are.


Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 02/09/2021:  18:44:02


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

 the pitches employed by a Well Tempered Klavier 






Prelude 1, as arranged by Gounod--one of the easiest pieces to make one weep...

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