Hey gang, please give me your advice on this;
I have someone wanting to join the team & she play keys. She stated she can & normally plays the melody of the songs. (I'll be leading vocally & playing the acoustic guitar)
I don't believe I need a keyboard player playing the melody on the verses, chorus & bridges all the time
so what/how does a keyboardist play otherwise. Since I don't play keyboard I don't know how to relay this properly (hope this made since)
It can actually be quite nice with a keyboard playing melody as she'll usually be doing something else as well. I can't really explain it, but I have a keyboard player that does that exact thing and it really is integral to all we do. Hopefully a keyboardist will chime in.
We just had a woman volunteer to play keyboards with us (it's not going to work out for health issues), and I just explained to her that I didn't want the piano playing the melody, in fact I hoped that she'd be willing to do some organ / pad sounds on the synth keyboard for most of the songs. She was agreeable to the idea, and I wish it would have worked out, we need a little more "smooth" in our sound. We already have drums, guitar and bass doing "clicky" sounds, I wanted the keyboards to add something besides more clickety clack... even if all you have is a regular piano, it can be played to smooth things out.
Part of what I explained was that she would just be getting chord charts for the songs, not notated lead sheets.
What you might do is to pick out a few favorite songs (worship or otherwise) where there is a keyboard doing something other than melody and just send her the youtube links (or whatever), and say, "here, this is what I'm looking for."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU0UeVkMtNw is a version of "Gimme Some Lovin" by the Grateful Dead where the organ adds hugely to the song without playing the melody. The keyboards drop out for parts of the song which gives a real dynamic variation to the song, but they also have a riff they play that makes the song... I certainly agree that having the keys doing the melody all the way through is not how it oughta work in a "contemporary" band. Good luck!
Another Grateful Dead track - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l38YXrGJxx0 - this is on a piano, where the piano is doing its own little countermelodies and smoothing out the song without playing the melody.
Charles, great idea you suggested about sending her a youtube link of a song. Thanks
I agree that you don't need a keyboard playing the melody. Does she know how to play chords? If she can play chords or you're willing to teach her, she could start by playing pad type sounds or, if she reads music, some written string parts.
I think this is mostly a matter of training, where many keyboard players are taught to play 'the tune' first and then fit accompaniment around that. It my elp to encourage them to 'think like a guitarist' and use chord stabs for rhythm work or play chords as a rolling progression of single notes (like a guitarist picking).
I'm not a keyboard player either, but I have observed in the past what those who were did to play contemporary styles.
No problem after all. The other keyboard never showed up & the one who just started can't even play. The individual is still trying to learn all the chord patterns or positionings. Oh what joy it is.
Personnel - oh what fun.
Typically, a keyboardist in contemporary or traditional ensembles plays fill and obbligatto (Bach and Handel played fill and conducted from their keyboards, but also played bass, unlike the modern player, because today's basses have a "majority vote" due to their large volume).
To double the melody on keyboard is to court trouble -- it will force the singer to match the timing, and thus lose freedom of rhythm (or the keyboardist will get thrown off, trying to match the lead singer).
By "obbligatto" in this case I mean improvised figures that enhance the music -- bringing out the character of the various verses, or making counterpoint to what the guitars are doing. If guitars are just strumming, then a talented obbligatto player is a big plus. If the guitarists are already doing obbligatto, then you might have territorial issues. But on the good side, say, a keyboardist who can start out "I am Free" with the FECFECFECFECFECFEC figure (easy on the keyboard) frees everybody else to do less difficult figures.