Music Theory

Left hand funk bass technique on the piano – Excercises

Funk or funky music is an important style which derives from blues, rock and jazz. Many famous artist has recorded funk tracks: just think about Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Madonna and Robin Williams often record funky-dance songs. Miles Davis was one of the best funky artist: he mixed funk with jazz. Playing funk riffs, rhythms or funky solos at piano is very fun.
In this page, I propose some riffs or schemes to start playing this style.

Funk examples on the piano : bass line with left hand

Let us examine the first two examples:

  • In the first bar the notes played on C7 or C Min7 are the fundamental, the seventh minor (pay attention to the error of the picture: I forgot to indicate Bb for the fourth note and the fifth.
  • In the second example of the second bar, the notes are on a Dm7 chord and have these features: there are the fourth (G) and a triplet on the last quarter.


As you play these patterns with left hand, try to give them swing or groove stressing the upbeats as indicated.

Other example of a funk bass on the piano

This is another example in which the fifth and the seventh of the chord dominate. It is a Dm7 or D7 chord.

Remember that funky-bass and also the blues generally move by the fundamental, fifth and seventh of a chord. Sometimes the fourth and the third appear in some riffs. However, the choice of notes to be used in your music is up to you. Once you have understood the schemes of these styles, funky included, I suggest you to write them on a notebook to build a collection of your favorite bass riffs. In any case, you have to practice above all to obtain the ability to create, playing in real time.