Piano Accompaniment Styles

Written by marianne carroll
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Piano Accompaniment Styles
There are several styles of piano accompaniment, but each pianist has a distinct sound. (piano image by Sergey Goruppa from Fotolia.com)

Piano accompaniment styles range from jazz to classical to pop and rock. Most styles require you to play a song's chords and bass line, rather than its melody. Voice-leading is a crucial skill for playing accompaniments.

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There are as many types of piano accompaniment styles as there are people to perform them, but they are generally grouped into the following categories: pop, rock, jazz, classical and theatrical. Most accompaniment styles require you to concentrate on the bass line and chords of a song, but not the melody. The exception to this rule is jazz, which does not call for the performance of a bass line.


Most pianists play from sheet music that is specially designed for accompaniments, but some are experienced enough to improvise based on the vocalist's cues. As John Axsom demonstrates on the Pianologist website, using a keyboard can help beginners keep time and identify the correct notes.

Expert Insight

According to Piano Clues, the most important prerequisite for playing piano accompaniments is the ability to do voice-leading, or to follow the vocalist rather than simply concentrating on sheet music.

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