Like the strum and pick patterns of a guitar, a piano/keyboard can be played with different rhythmic patterns. These patterns can help to establish the groove. Accents and dynamics play a large role in establishing groove. The ability to maintain a stable performance of repeated notes with little no dynamic variation may be desirable in some classical performance situations. However, in many other styles accents and dynamic contrast often add to the musicality of a groove. In the accompanying video, I demonstrate several examples of this on the piano.
Piano/keyboard players need to listen to the groove of the piece (and/or the other instruments) and perform in a style that fits that groove. Rhythmic patterns and performance details (such as dynamics, articulation and other forms of expression) that complement the other aspects of the groove should be accentuated in the piano/keyboard part. This includes the selection of register on which the performer chooses to play. Since the piano/keyboard has the largest range of all the instruments in the band (or other musical ensembles), we have the ability to select a register that will complement the overall orchestration of the song. We can avoid crowding registers that already contain a good deal of sonic information. We can also fill these areas in moments when the arrangement is sparse, or when we are called upon to take the forefront.
In the case of keyboard playing, different grooves and styles may also call for different sounds. Since this instrument has the ability to change its sonic character, why not use this to help complement the arrangement. Certain sounds will blend better with the other instruments in the arrangement. In addition, certain sounds will complement the groove of the song better than others. In the accompanying video, I demonstrate several examples of this on the keyboard.
This Learning Music With Ray video discusses the implementation of rhythmic patterns in worship piano playing. The concepts covered can actually be applied to any style of chord based piano playing. The main focus of the lesson is to provide a detailed understanding of the definition and function of groove within music. I discuss the difference between beat and groove. I also provide musical examples of a simple chord progression being played in different musical styles. With each example, I discuss the elements of the groove that help to determine which piano rhythmic patterns would complement the performance.