How to Simplify Arrangements – by ear

If you find any arrangement too difficult and complex for you to play smoothly, you can simplify it yourself. Here are some tips on how to do that:

1) Right Hand – only playing the melody notes in the right hand (that’s usually the top line of notes). Leave out any chord notes that you can’t read easily in time. You can add them in later when you’re better at it, if you want.

2) Left Hand – I always put chord symbols in my scores. That’s so that pianists (and guitarists or organists) can play the accompaniment that they want…without following mine.

You can play:
1. Just the single note shown in the chord (e.g. Cm – just play C note),

2. A block chord if you know the other notes ( Cm = C Eb G all at once)

3. Broken chords or arpeggios if you know how (search YouTube for “how to play arpeggios”)

3) Check out simple tutorials on YouTube for how to play the left hand accompaniment. It doesn’t need to be the song that you want to play. There aren’t that many left hand accompaniment patterns. You can learn to play them by ear 🙂


4 Replies to “How to Simplify Arrangements – by ear”

  1. Hi Joyce, thanks so much for your free downloads, you are a really talented arranger. In your post re left hand accompaniments you mention that there are only a few types. When you have time, It would be really helpful if you could expand on this, perhaps with some examples from your arrangements with some fingering – that’s the bit I really struggle with especially when there more than 4 notes in the arpeggios. I have recently started playing after a 25 year break and am really enjoying learning your pieces. Thanks


    1. You’re most welcome, Tony. Glad to know you’ve taken up playing your piano again. It’ll be a lovely gift you give yourself. Thanks for your suggestion. I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, search for videos on “fingering for piano”


  2. I don’t know if you do requests, but I was wondering if you could do one of these songs from the movie Joseph: King of Dreams….”Miracle Child”, “Marketplace”, “More Than You Take”…? 🙂


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