Nothing scares the hearts of piano players like the name of stride piano. This almost unlikely old style is like ragtime on steroids, driving pianists to the edge. The left hand alternates a deep rhythm, mostly played in tenths, with near middle chords, while the right hand supplies harmony, syncopations, notes, and runs. The total effect is an implacable eighth-note swing.
Simple Stride Exercise
What makes this method difficult is the need to leap a reasonable way to get from the bass note to the chord and back. And when you 're first practicing this method you want to minimise the gap you need to leap to minimise the difficulty of the chords. A good way to achieve so is by using tenth triads and direct tones. Choose a relatively simple song that uses a lot of 2-5's preferably when chords shift every half bar (like Satin Doll) and learn to play as follows:
For the chord play a broken 10th triad (root – 3rd & 5th)
Play root notes for the V7 chord and switch to direct tones (root-3rd & 7th)
8 Help you learn this tutorial.
1. I'm using rootless voicing chords. If you need more help in constructing these chords, test this entire tutorial on rootless piano chords.
2. A low bass note is struck on beats 1 and 3, and chords (toward the middle of the piano) are struck on beats 2 and 4.
3. You should apply the stride piano rhythmic pattern to virtually every jazz standard that's in 4/4.
4. This particular style will also fit well on other rock classics. Songs like The Beatles' "When I'm 64" or Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets."
5. To speed the tempo on the step piano and not drag, remember to keep your hands close to the keyboard.
In other words, don't make the jumps wider gestures than they ought to be. It's slow and force you to lose your pacing.
6. The last chord I play is a D7 chord. I'm using a flat nine as a top extension so you might use either reference as an altered scale extension.
7. If you need more help learning jazz piano, see this huge list of other jazz piano lessons.
8. For a pretty fantastic and killer stage proof, checking out this Errol Garner picture. It's kind of an older trend or “retro” tone but really fun none less and less!
Take a Listen to
Have some of the pianists below listened for inspiration. Just be aware that some of these guys are very quick.
James P. Johnson
Willie “The Lion” Smith
Mary Lou Williams