If you haven’t yet been able to read through my last article (Go Figure: Piano, Part 1) as well as play through the many examples I showed there, please do so now. In that article’s examples and those here, think of a steady stream of 8th notes that fill the bar. Like this:
With those 8th notes as your starting point, there is literally no end to the piano figures you could play. Using the chorus chord progression from “What A Beautiful Name” as I did in part 1, the following voicings can be adapted beyond what I presented in part 1 of this series.
These voicings have your right hand playing 2 or 3 notes together. Check out this next figure, where at times a single note is played in the right hand.
Notice that this figure has activity on almost every 8th note throughout the four measures. This contributes to the underlying energy of the figure but keeps the figure from being monotonous. I’ve made a slight change in this figure in example 4, and every 8th has activity.
There’s more than rhythmic activity to consider when creating a piano part. Anytime you’re playing a worship song, whether as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble, be sure that your activity is not competing with the melody of the song. Play this right hand figure while someone sings the first line of the chorus and I hope you’ll agree that it’s too busy and competes with the vocal melody.
If you’re playing an intro for a song or an interlude after a chorus, those are times you could create some more melodically significant material. As a rule, though, when a vocal is being sung, keep your figures simpler.
Consider playing other octaves of the notes of the basic voicings shown in figure 2. For example, the A below the staff could be played up an octave as well, making this figure possible:
You may notice that I introduced an E into the figure above. That E is the 2 of a D2 chord. That’s a commonly heard chord in modern worship, and the addition of that note to your options can result in lots of nice new figures. Also, in the 2nd bar I added an E that hadn’t been played in previous examples. That E is part of the Aadd4 chord but isn’t usually played if the C# and D are already being heard.
It’s probably obvious to you now that there are endless possibilities for creating piano figures. Creating is the operative word. Let yourself be creative. Soon you’ll find figures for yourself that work well for any section of any song. Have fun exploring the possibilities.