On Friday’s post, I included the first four measures (after Johnson’s introduction) of “Carolina Shout”:
Harlem Stride piano employed a looping left-hand motion — from the lower register of the piano to its mid-range. James P. often played a single note in the bass on beat 1 (e.g. G2) and then a triad on the following beat. This pattern repeats for the remainder of the pulses, creating somewhat of a “oom-pah” or “boom-chic” effect.
Here’s the practice-version again for your reference:
Harmony: I – vii°7
Left Hand: G2 strides up to a root-position G triad, down to F#2 and up to F#min7b5. Take note of the voice-leading: the single notes on the strong beats are moving down by step, while the triads are voiced with as little movement as possible (a fine example of voice-leading). More specifically, G3 moves to F#3, B3 moves to A3, (the fifth of the chord is omitted), and D4 moves up to Eb4.
Harmony: vi – V7/IV
Left Hand: (On the downbeat) E2 strides up to a first inversion Emin triad and then down to D2. A root-position dominant-7th chord (with the omitted 5th) is the final chord of the measure. As in measure 1, the notes on the strong beats move down by step (E2 to D2) and the chord members one the weak beats follow the rules of proper voice-leading). In this case, two common-tones (G3 and B3) are shared, while E4 moves up by step to F4 (the seventh of the G7 chord).
Harmony: IV – V
Left Hand: Johnson creates a great rhythmic effect by playing C2 on the downbeat, but rather than striding up to a chord as is conventional, he only moves up by step to C#2! This rhythmic device, known as a backbeat, gives a propulsive, swinging effect that sets the rest of the measure off kilter! In fact, rather than playing a single note on the third beat, he strides up to the dominant triad. A leap down to C#2 concludes the measure.
Harmony: V7 – I
Left hand: The C#2 moves up by a half-step on the downbeat. The conventional stride pattern continues as the D2 strides to the D7 chord on beat 2, down to G2 and finally reaches the tonic triad on the final pulse.