Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Playing legato and stabbed chords in different parts of the bar

We look at playing legato and stabbed chords in different parts of the bar.
In this session we are going to concentrate a bit more on the left hand and look at the 3 different ways you can use the left hand.
So far, we’ve met 2 of them: playing a chord legato - holding it down until it’s time to play another chord - and playing it stabbed - jumping off the keys as though they were hot.
We first of all played one to the bar. For example, in the case of legato,
if the time was 1,2,3,4: 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4.
Or, if we were using stabbed chords 1,2,3,4: 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. We’ve also looked at using 2 chords to the bar. We’ve played the chords on 1 and 3.
Legato 1,2,3,4: 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4.
Or, in the case of stabbed 1,2,3,4: 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. Now we can play in any of 8 positions in the bar. That is, we can play on beats 1, on beats 2, on beats 3 and on beats 4. And we can play on the and of beats 1,2,3 and 4 as well. And then we can combine them to one, two sometimes three chords in the bar. So there’s a lot of possibilities. What we need to do is to free up our left hand, is to do some exercises where we look at the various possibilities. For example, playing on the second beat of the bar with legato. 1,2,3,4: 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4.
Playing on beats 2 and 4: 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. Stabbed playing on beats 3. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. Playing on beats 2 and 4 stabbed. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. A little bit early there.
There’s also playing on the ands: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. In many ways playing on the ands gives - very often will produce -
a bigger rhythmic impulse: makes the right hand swing a bit more. We haven’t said much about swing, but swing is this rhythmic displacement which makes jazz a foot tapping experience, very often. Let’s try - just to give you an idea - on the ands of 1 and 3. So it’s going to be 1 and 2, 3 and 4. 1 and 2, 3 and 4. 1 and 2, 3 and 4. Let’s try stabs on the ands of 2 and 4. 1,2 and 3,4 and. 1,2 and 3,4 and. 1,2 and 3,4 and. So you can see that there are a lot of possibilities. Let’s try a few exercises with a playalong.
This article is from the free online

Learn jazz piano: Improvising on Jazz Standards

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education