Easy Rhythm Pattern For Accompanying Yourself (or Friend)

Do you long to accompany yourself on the piano but don’t know where to start? Well, here’s some great news. You don’t need to be able to read any music at all to do it! Really. You do need to understand how to play some basic chords. But once you know some major and minor chords, you can use this rhythm pattern with both hands to play lots of up- tempo songs. This is especially useful for old show tunes with a strong beat and traditional folk songs. I’ve even used this technique to play Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. So brush up on your major chords (let’s start there) and then apply this technique. It’s not hard to do and is fun to try. Now you can step out of that shower and sing while you play. Very impressive!

Here is the technique.  We are using the C Major triad as an example.  In 4/4 time with one chord per measure, you will play the root of the chord with the left hand on beat one. That’s low C. On beat two, play the C triad with the right hand. Use middle C as the root of the chord. On beat three, you will play the 5th of the chord with your left hand which is the G note. Go down to the G note which gives a nice bass quality. On beat four, you will play the C triad again with your right hand.

In 3/4 time, you will simply play the root of the chord with your left hand (C) on beat one. For beats two and three, you will play the C triad with the right hand.

This article written by Contributing Writer, Debbie Gruber B.M.,M.M. Debbie Gruber has a Master of Music degree, performs regularly at restaurants and is a private piano and voice teacher from Massachusetts. She is also the author of numerous books and DVDs on how to play popular piano and is the President of www.EasyPianoStyles.com where she teaches Skype pop/jazz piano lessons.


Debbie Gruber, B.M., M.M., is the President of www.EasyPianoStyles.com where she sends out free video piano lessons on playing pop/jazz piano. Debbie was a lecturer in jazz appreciation at Western Michigan University. She is also a piano and voice instructor and performs at many restaurants and parties in the Boston area.

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It would have been even more helpful if both hands are visible on the video! The camera is off centre so you can see the right hand just fine but the left hand is mainly playing out of sight. Not very helpful when you are a complete beginner. It also would have been useful to backtrack slightly more and explained the terms better. You have assumed a level of knowledge that I dont have ( I do know the names of the notes and which is which on the keyboard but not which notes make up the chord for example). You say “lets brush up on your chords (lets start there)” but then dont actually do it and go straight into the technique. Shame as it looks reasonably easy to follow if these things were addressed

Your teaching is very simple but excellent. Neew some advance lessons on this for playing melody in right hand chord in left hand. Thanks a lot for your lessons.

I found it difficult as the root wasn’t showing but watching it after a space of time and learning more in other places. I understand. I can write it now. it’s a cool accompaniment.

Wow from all the comments it’s amazing.
OK let’s see Ms Debbie please show me how to play and count with both hands and practice sheets thank you

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