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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than others!,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pop Piano Book (Paperback)I have had some 20 years of piano lessons/experience. Unfortunately, like many, I was only taught classical music and every attempt of my teachers of young years to teach some "modern" music failt due to the necessity of having to learn about the theory behind. Years later I find myself wanting to improvise, and alas, there are not so many good books to learn from!
I already own a couple of books and recently bought this one. This finally bridges the gap which all the others could not! Harrison just tells you everything including some good tricks which would take some time for you to realise on your own! Ok, make yourself familiar with some basic theory first because I doubt you can find the necessary details here. Also, better get some technical skills, practise scales, Hanon, Czerny whatever. This remains important also in this genre! If you have the technical know-how you can really do without the MIDI files because you will be able to play it for yourself and get used to the sound he wants to create. Yes, and then it is totally up to you and make no mistake, this is serious brainjogging what you are asked to do! But I really think it is worth it and will give you some automatism later which will really pay off.
What I particularly like about this method is that Harrison teaches proper voiceleading which I am missing in nearly all the other books. If you are an experienced piano player, you feel there is something wrong without the correct voiceleading. Here this is not the case. It is hard work but good fun and will hopefully give some good sounding results and finally the ability to improvise in the near future.
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has more than meets the eye,
This review is from: The Pop Piano Book (Paperback)This could be a very good technique book as well for people who want to learn popular piano if it is read and used carefully.
He has an abundance of technical exercises in rhythm patterns, which is something that cannot be gained from Hanon, the king of technical exercise books.
Many teachers are not very good at teaching popular piano, instead preferring to reinterpret it as classical music (which is not appropriate given its different rhythm patters and key signatures--often less complicated than those in classical). This was written by a man who teaches popular piano and has a very clear idea of the rhythm patterns that make that unique. For example: He makes extensive use of the tie line and syncopation in his examples of R&B, which is what one finds in real music of this genre. But it is very hard to get that type of practice if learning classical songs.
As it has been noted before, the binding for this book sucks. But there are ways to get around that.
Also: This seems to encompass almost everything in other basic theory books that I have read/ own. It has actually obviated my other theory/ rhythm books. It will be a good saving of money to invest in this before any others.
Finally: The book CAN be used by beginners (in tandem with learning some scales) if it is used as he recommends. He says in the opening pages that it was written/ designed to be used by people at myriad levels.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on learning the patterns of each style,
This review is from: The Pop Piano Book (Paperback)I've been working out of this book for a few weeks now and it's excellent. I consider myself an intermediate at piano, I'm completely self-taught and never taken piano lessons. I just got fake books and taught myself. However this book fills in a huge whole (for me). It gives patterns in different styles. So after completing this book, when I read a fake book I'll have lots of patterns to chose from.
As the others said, this isn't a book for beginners. Someone with years of piano lessons can probably go right through it, whereas I spend 30 minutes just on a couple patterns. If you're a novice and don't mind spending a lot of time praticing, you can greatly benefit from this book as well.
Finally, I purchased the MIDI files from Mark Harrison's website. I strongly recommend these if you're not a really good piano player. I mute each hand while playing the other while learning each hand. It's very helpful.
4.0 out of 5 stars Advanced book for popular piano enthusiasts,
This review is from: The Pop Piano Book (Paperback)Keyboardists can use this book as well. The first part details basics (chords, scales, etc) real quickly (I guess experienced users wont need the basics in detail) The second part goes through genres specifically. (pop ballad, rock, r&b, gospel, country etc)
Parts are split up among accompanying and melody leading. A beginner with no background will have no idea how to use this book. It is not a manual, more of a reference book for popular piano styles. Not for beginners, for the experienced. There isn't too much text explaining things. More of it showing and the reader to understand, digest and improvise. So you need some prehand understanding.
Excellent book no doubt.
I do have complaints though. First the binding is terrible. My book's pages started falling apart very quickly. I needed to go to a publisher friend of mine who took it apart and rebinded it for me. I may have had to lose the pretty cover but now it is sturdy. Second the paper is made of somewhat heavy stock making the book itself very large and weighty. I'm sure this contributed to the book falling apart.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for various styles of music.,
This review is from: The Pop Piano Book (Paperback)This book is really a great ressource for musicians who want to improve their style in pop ballad, gospel, new age music, ... I would advise it to anyone who already has some basic notion of how to 'fake' a song = interpret a song based only on a lead sheet (melody + chords), and who wants to go further. The author gives lots of examples, breaking them down in basic components, and analysing them. He gives hundreds of patterns of accompaniment (arpeggios, chord voicings, rhythmic patterns).
A warning: the title 'The Pop Piano Book - A complete method for playing piano and keyboards in contemporary styles', is misleading. This book is definitely NOT intented for beginners. Rather for people who already have a few years of experience on the piano (correct fingering, and independance of hands), and preferably have some notion of note reading (although the purpose of the book is of course to be able to play music without having to read notes).
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable...,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pop Piano Book (Paperback)The bible of modern piano playing...like years of experience bound into a book.
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The Pop Piano Book by Mark Harrison (Paperback - Nov 1 1998)
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