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Left Hand Chords by Paul Herrington

Paul Herrington

LEFT HAND ACMP ON ELECTRONIC KEYBOARDS (Playing Chords with Less Movement)


You might find yourself looking at a melody with added chords above looking like this

At this point it is worth pointing out that your keyboard ‘fingering type’ should be set to FINGERED on BASS (if you have that facility!)

Let’s analyse what is being asked for in the chords above.

Bar 1: C = the Root Chord of C major – CEG; G/B = the FIRST Inversion of G major (GBD) with B at the bottom – BDG;

Bar 2: Am = the Root chord of A minor – ACE; Am7/G = the LAST inversion of A minor, with added 7th (ACEG) therefore G at the bottom.

Bar 3: F = the Root Chord of F major – FAC; D9/F# = the FIRST inversion of Dmajor with added 9th (DF# ACE) with F# at the bottom

Bar4: G=theRootChordofGmajor-GBD.

THE ROOT is always the note that gives the CHORD it’s name!

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From the given Chords, a Bass Guitarist would play these notes (reading BASS CLEF)


Obviously, a knowledge of chord structures is going to assist in ensuring that the Left Hand is not overworked and being hampered by the stress of ‘will I make it to the next chord so that I play the correct chord with the right melody note! – especially if all that is used are the root positions.

Often in ‘keyboard’ books, you will find diagrams that show you where to finger chords and more often than not the notes they show are not ‘Root’ positions. There are books available that go through all the chords in all keys and show their Inversions and other interesting added on notes (eg. 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, b5ths, #3rds……..etc)

Even when you are playing Chords where the Keyboard is set to ‘Fingered’, I would encourage the use of Inversion positions of Chords to ensure a smooth movement of the Left Hand. In ‘fingered’ setting, whatever chord inversion you use, the keyboard will give you the ROOT accompaniment.

Try this scale passage (use any Voice, Style with the tempo suited to the Left Hand changes). You may need to work out the Bass Clef notes First! BUT all the Chords will produce ROOT Chords. Remember to use ‘Fingered’ setting for the ACMP. ENJOY!

If you have any queries regarding this article or want clarification, please write to me at this e-mail address: pamadama@btopenworld.com

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Paul Herrington
Music Teacher FVCM: LRAM; ALCM; AVCM; Cert Ed. FRSA

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