Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Piano Stride

ADDPMP318
Piano Stride - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Stride jazz piano, often abbreviated to stride, is a jazz piano style that arose from ragtime players. Prominent stride pianists include James P. Johnson, Willie “the Lion” Smith, Fats Waller, and Luckey Roberts.

Stride employed left hand techniques from ragtime, wider use of the piano’s range, and quick tempos. Compositions were written but were also intended to be improvised.

The term “stride” comes from the idea of the pianist’s left hand leaping, or “striding”, across the piano. The left hand characteristically plays a four-beat pulse with a single bass note, octave, major seventh or major tenth interval on the first and third beats, and a chord on the second and fourth beats. Occasionally this pattern is reversed by placing the chord on the downbeat and bass notes on the upbeat. Unlike performers of the ragtime popularized by Scott Joplin, stride players’ left hands span greater distances on the keyboard.

Stride piano is highly rhythmic because of the alternating bass note and chord action of the left hand. In the left hand, the pianist usually plays a single bass note, or a bass octave or tenth, followed by a chord triad toward the center of the keyboard, while the right hand plays syncopated melody lines with harmonic and riff embellishments and fill patterns. Proper playing of stride jazz involves a subtle rhythmic tension between the left hand which is close to the established tempo, and the right hand, which is often slightly anticipatory.

Unlike ragtime pianists, stride pianists were not concerned with ragtime form and played pop songs of the day in the stride style. Ragtime was composed, but many stride pianists improvised. Some stride players didn’t read music. Stride used tension and release and dynamics. Stride can be played at all tempos, slow or fast depending on the underlying composition and treatment the pianist is performing. On occasion a good stride jazz pianist might have the left hand shift into double time.

Some younger pianists have transcribed display pieces note for note from early recordings. However this practice only illustrates a small part of stride jazz musical adventures.

Dictionary of the underworld - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP099
Dictionary of the underworld
14th Century Surgery - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP169
14th Century Surgery
Form Follows Function - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP288
Form Follows Function
HiRISE - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP271
HiRISE
Werner Herzog on Nature - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP182
Werner Herzog on Nature
Attacus Atlas - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP138
Attacus Atlas
The Mind's Eye - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP196
The Mind's Eye
Rogue Waves - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP060
Rogue Waves
Chicken Hypnosis - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP253
Chicken Hypnosis
Catwalk Fails - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP294
Catwalk Fails
3AM - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP013
3AM
Parental Advisory - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP416
Parental Advisory

You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.