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This is a blog post for pianoworks.co.uk. For more information about piano lessons in Highgate, Crouch End and surrounding areas, please visit the pianoworks.co.uk site by clicking here.

Left Hand Piano Accompaniments for Pop Music Covers

In most piano music the melody is played by the right hand while the left hand plays an accompanying pattern.

A popular accompaniment in Classical music was the Alberti bass, popularised by composers such as Domenico Alberti and later Mozart. The bottom, middle and top notes of a chord or its inversions were broken up and played in the following order: bottom, top, middle, top.

The Alberti bass is just one of many broken chord patterns still widely used today. Many of these patterns provide a flowing accompaniment to the melody line to sustain rhythmic interest.

Used in arrangements of pop music, however, a "flowing" broken chord accompaniment alters the character of the original song. This may not be an important consideration if the pianist is seeking to arrange the original melody to a new accompaniment, but pianists seeking to re-create the original sound have to seek different alternatives. When a pop song with a dance lilt, for example, is arranged with a "flowing" accompaniment, it loses the distinct percussive beat which gives it its character.


To re-create the original sound, the chords must be used to create a rhythmic pattern which closely matches the beat in the original song.

Take for example the 8-beat, a common accompaniment in pop music. The snare drum is accented on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar, while the bass drum is accented on the 1st and 3rd beats, as well as the quaver preceding the latter.

To recreate this beat on the piano, the bottom note of the chord should be played where the bass drum is normally sounded. A fuller chord can be played on the beats where the snare drum is played.

The level of difficulty can be tailored to the skill of the pianist; for more advanced players, octaves can be played as the "bass" while the snare drum chords can be made up of three or four notes. It is important, however, to consider the texture of the original music.


For more information about piano lessons in Highgate, Crouch End and surrounding areas, please visit the pianoworks.co.uk site by clicking here.