Keyboard/Piano Lessons Part 6

Keyboard/Piano Lessons Part 6

Adding Your Left Hand

Think of the left hand as providing the musical foundation that supports what the right hand is playing. This chapter is going to introduce you to the bass line in a piece of music and how to use your left hand to play it. Then you are going to put both hands together to play a short piece of music.

Playing a Bass Line

For the most part, the left hand plays the bass line in a piece of music, which provides harmony to the melody played with the right hand. In more advanced piano compositions, the left hand plays both bass lines and chords. This is the case with most of the piano sonatas. However, we're going to set the more advanced stuff aside for now and concentrate on using the left hand to play just the bass line.

Let's assign numbers to the fingers in your left hand. Your thumb is 1, index finger 2, middle finger 3, ring finger 4 and pinky is 5. Place the five fingers of your left hand above the following keys:

  • thumb - above middle C

  • index finger - above the B key

  • middle finger - above the A key

  • fore finger - above the G key

  • little finger - above the F key

When playing with your left hand, the corresponding notes are written on a staff using the bass clef.

bass clef

Starting with the top line and going down to the bottom line, the letter names of the lines of the bass staff are:

A, F, D, B, and G.

The letter names of the spaces from the top space to the bottom space are :

G, E, C and A.

The F line is between the two dots of the bass clef.

Middle C plays a very important role in tying together the bass clef and the treble clef. As you can see in example 11, one ledger line above the bass clef is middle C, which is the same middle C located one ledger line below the treble clef.

example 11

In example 11 the time signature is 2/4. This time signature tells you two things: The top number tells you how many beats there are per measure (two) and the bottom number tells you the quarter note gets the beat. As indicated in example 11, play the notes C, B, A, G and F with the corresponding fingers of your left hand.

In the next exercise, the fingering of the left hand starts on middle C in measure 5, the sequence begins with the thumb on A. And in measure 7, the sequence begins with the thumb on G.

The very last note in example 12 is C, which is one octave below middle C.

example 12

The first note in example 13 is C, located one octave below middle C. Place your fifth finger above the C key, fourth above the D key, third above the E key, second above the F key and your thumb above the G key. Keeping your fingers in this position, play example 13.

example 13

A few new symbols have been added to example 13. The word allegro indicates the tempo, which means 'fast'. The f dynamic marking, which represents forte, means 'loud'.

Start the exercise slowly. Once you have worked out the notes and rhythm, increase your speed and play the exercise loudly.

The first note in example 14 is A, located two keys below the last note C in example 13.

Starting with your fifth finger on the A key, play example 14.

example 14