Summertime Piano Accompaniment
Welcome to this accompaniment tutorial on the famous tune "Summertime".
"Summertime" is a favorite song amongst both singers and players. The form is nice and simple, and the lyrics are fantastic… particularly the 2nd verse. But the best thing about this tune is that audiences love it, it’s well-known and always a brilliant number to add to your set!
In this lesson, you can follow along as we build up an arrangement step-by-step from plain and simple, to complex and advanced.
If you have watched the PianoGroove solo piano tutorials on Summertime, you will remember that the tune is covered in the key of A Minor. For the purpose of this lesson, we will cover the tune in D Minor. I prefer to sing it in Dmin since it puts the melody range squarely in the sweet spot of my voice.
Start With Simple Triads
The first step is to strip down the harmony to triads. We simplify the chord changes to their absolute bare bones to help you understand and memorise the underbelly of the tune. There’s plenty of space for the singer’s melody and as well as hearing your own ideas.
Since the mechanics of playing it are easier, you will now have more capacity to work thru the baselines, voicings, a variety of tempos, and styles. In addition, you can even really listen to the message of the lyrics.
Basslines & 7th Chords
Start by playing just roots and 5ths in your left hand, then simple triads in roots and inversions. This great for a first run thru with a singer at a rehearsal or jazz jam, and when you are just getting know the tune. This could also be heard as a poppier version of this song.
When we do introduce basslines, we keep them simple. This is a nice to time to introduce 7th chords in your right hand, rather than just simple triads. However, notice that we are not yet included any of the upper extensions or alterations.
If you are not a singer, then partnering up with a singer is something you'll want to pursue.
It can be mutually beneficial for you both to experiment and collaborate on the music in a safe rehearsal environment.
Experimenting is important to hearing and deciding what sounds best to you.
- You'll know when you're hitting the mark because you'll love it, and you'll love to play it.
I’m enjoying your videos, well done. my question here is — does the melody note need to be in the chord some where? I understand the piano should not play the melody of the song, but should the note generally be in the chord that’s being played? e.g., at bar 14, you mention that the #5 is needed since the melody note is F, but at bar 7 (chord Bm7b5), the melody note is E which is not in that chord. thanks!Ask questions and get instant replies from our team of teachers. Get Started With PianoGroove Pro.