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How to Play a Simple Introduction

by Bruce Siegel on May 4th, 2016

When accompanying a singer, you’ll almost always need to play an introduction of some sort. It can be extremely basic, as long as it:

• Tells the singer when to start (so you’re both in synch).
• Helps the singer know what pitch to sing.
• Sets the tempo.

Listen to Billy Joel’s introduction for She’s Got a Way About Her.

It’s just a G chord (the 1 or tonic chord) in root position. He plays it above middle C, for two measures of four beats each. (At the end, his left hand repeats the note G at two different octave levels.) It could hardly be simpler, yet anyone who knows the song will then be able to sing the correct pitches, at the right time, at the right tempo.

Another approach is to play the entire progression of the verse, or part of it. You might play it using the same rhythmic style or pattern that you use for the verse, but perhaps at a higher octave, or with some other variation. That way, when the verse actually begins, what you play will sound fresh.

The possibilities are limitless, and a catchy or beautiful introduction is often a key part of a song’s appeal. So keep experimenting.

But to get started, just listen again to that classic Billy Joel intro. Oftentimes, simple is all you need.

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