Focus: Diminished Chords and Minor Keys
Week 45 begins with a song to show a new, but common, rhythm pattern in 2/4 time: a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth note. You'll learn how to count and play this pattern and practice it with a piece including a number of counter melodies. While walking you through the song as written, Duane explains the importance of moving tangentially through the chords to create a flowing, connected sound within every piece that you play. He then begins an arrangement that not only helps you review octaves and Alberti bass, but also teaches you to create your own counter melodies within a piece of music.
The lesson then moves on to a discussion of diminished chords; you'll learn what they are, how to play them and the pointer chord rule for creating them. You'll then begin work on an exercise practicing what you've just learned, one that also introduces the F-sharp diminished chord. Duane guides you through this piece step by step, pointing our the augmented and broken chords, before moving on to a quiz that tests your knowledge of notes and their values. You'll be asked to identify a number of notes, then to add notes that will complete a specific measure; it's essential practice in both note recognition and time signature.
Next you'll learn about minor keys and scales. Duane explains how to construct a harmonic minor scale and how to find the relative minors of any major before demonstrating the fingering used for the A minor scale. You'll then move on to a set of keyboard pointers intended to help you harmonize the A minor scale, play it with one hand and get acquainted with its family chords.
The lesson ends with two pieces, including the Russian folk song "Minka," to further exercise your understanding of A minor. As always, you'll play these songs both hands alone and hands together and also be introduced to the double sharp, a new musical notation device.
Review by Mollie Wells