Create Emotion With Only 4 Notes ✨ (Beginner Piano Lesson)

Lisa Witt  /  Improvisation / Dec 17

I love showing people they can create unique, beautiful music with just a handful of ingredients. Music is for everybody, not just the pros! And in this lesson, I’ll teach you how to create beautiful, emotional piano with just four notes. Then, I’ll show you how to accompany this simple riff with unique left hand choices so you can make this exercise your own. Get ready to get creative!

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The 4 Notes

We’ll be using the notes C, D, E, F.

If you play all the notes together at once…they don’t sound very good. But play it in this pattern, and you’ve got an otherworldly riff!

For an extra dreamy smoothness, use your sustain pedal to connect the notes. Now you sound like a pro!

Adding the Left Hand

The magic really happens when you add in the left hand!

Pretty much any white note will sound good with our four-note riff…except B. Try to avoid B.

Diagram showing green checkmarks on all keys of the keyboard except B, where there is an X.

For example, the first left hand accompaniment I explore is this one:

A > C > G > F

I played these notes in octaves, which give them a little more depth.

⬆️ ⬇️ Play higher…or lower

Speaking of octaves, you can play these patterns an octave higher or an octave lower for a different feel. Try it yourself!

5️⃣ Try fifths (solid and broken)

Another thing you can experiment with in your left hand is fifths. Try playing fifths, such as C-G or G-D either solid (together) or broken (apart). Hear how that sounds.

🌹 Use arpeggios

Arpeggios sound really nice with this pattern.

We have lots of lessons on arpeggios! But if you want to start with the one I play in the video, check out Pattern #2 in this lesson.

More Quick Lessons

You don’t need to have played piano for years to sound amazing.

Anyone — even beginners — can make gorgeous music on the piano. If you don’t believe us, here are more quick lessons perfect for beginners. No experience necessary!

Try them out. And now that you’re hooked on the piano, consider joining Pianote!


Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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