Piano music for "For Free", Joni Mitchell
Transcribed for piano by Howard Wright
The left hand plays the usual root-5th-octave pattern that is common to most Joni piano songs. This pattern is used throughout the whole song, with a few small variations. The first few bars of the introduction above illustrate the basic left-hand pattern. Starting on F we have: F-C-F-C-F (root-5th-octave-5th-octave), using four 8th notes and one quarter note.
Sometimes an extra note (the 5th) is added at the end to make a six-note phrase, using all 8th notes. This tends to happen when the root bass note stays the same across several bars and the left hand doesn't have to change position. The first bars on page 2 show an example of this - the pattern here is C-G-C-G-C-G (root-5th-octave-5th-octave-5th).
Practice the basic left hand pattern to get it flowing smoothly, so that you can focus on the right hand changes while keeping the left hand going steadily. The first note (the root) is sometimes accented slightly to make it a little louder than the others.
The right hand part uses a lot of intervals of a 6th. Sometimes the two notes that make up the 6th are played together (e.g first two bars of the verse, page 2), and sometimes (e.g during the intro) the two notes are split - usually with the lower note coming first. When the two notes are split like this, make sure you sustain the first note so it overlaps and blends with the the second note.
It's interesting to hear how the chords and harmonies of nearly the whole song are sketched out using this 6th interval in the piano right hand. A simple idea, but it works very nicely!