Archive for January, 2007


Are there hundreds of chords? Thousands? Millions?

Saturday, January 20th, 2007
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An interesting experiment is to ask people how many chords there are in music. You’ll be surprised to find out that most musicians don’t do any better at answering that question than non-musicians.

Why do you suppose is that?

It is probably because it sounds like one of those questions such as “How many grains of sand on the seashore are there?”, or “How many stars are there in the sky?”

And in a sense it is, but in another sense, we can get a fairly accurate sense of chord population just by calculating all the chord types and then multiplying them by the number of inversions that are possible and the number of octaves that are possible on any given instrument.

Article continued at:

http://www.playpiano.com/Articles/29-howmanychords.htm

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Did you know that music is based on natural “laws” — like gravity?

Thursday, January 18th, 2007
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How many of these facts do you know about music & piano playing? Test yourself and then check the answers at the bottom of the page:
Did you know that by learning just 3 chords you can play hundreds of songs?
Did you know that there are only 12 major keys you can play in, but you only really have to master one key to play most popular songs?
Did you know that it is possible to easily match any melody note (tune) to a chord, so you can harmonize any note?
Did you know that Beethoven’s Fur Elise and the blues song “Summertime” uses the exact same chords for the theme of the song?
Did you know that it is quite possible to predict what chord comes next in a song with accuracy approaching 85%?
Did you know you can use the same chords to play boogie, blues, new age, gospel, pop, rock, jazz, country – anything except classical music? (And even some classics!)
Did you know that by coming in through the backdoor of piano playing — chords — you can start making wonderful and satisfying sounds on the piano in just a few days instead of a few years — even if you don’t know Middle C from Tweedle Dee?
Answers to piano playing music questions:

Please go to: http://www.playpiano.com/piano-lessons-for-adults.htm

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Music Notes — Pitch & Duration

Saturday, January 13th, 2007
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 Notes are the musical notation representing a fixed pitch. While the word strictly refers to the physical notation of a pitch, it’s more commonly used to refer to both the pitch and the notation.     Notes are named after the first seven letters in the alphabet — A, B, C, D, E, F, and G — and keep the same letter value as they are repeated up or down the keyboard or other musical instrument.

     But since there are twelve notes in a diatonic scale, the seven notes can be altered. To get the extra five notes,we sharp notes(raise by a half-step) and flat notes (lower by a half-step); the sharped and flatted notes are the black keys on a piano. All notes can be altered this way, but a C flat is enharmonic with B, a white key, and B sharp is enharmonic with C — a white key.Likewise E sharp is enharmonic with F — also a white key, and of course F flat is enharmonic with E, a white key.

     The types of notes and their values are based on the amount of time they take up in a song and are named in a hierarchy of values:

(Article continued at http://www.playpiano.com/Articles/27-musicnotes.htm )

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Make Sure To Learn Chords & Music Theory!

Thursday, January 4th, 2007
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Piano Lessons: Make Sure They Include
Chords & Music Theory!

Proper piano instruction is an element extremely vital to learning the instrument well. Though it’s very possible to be a self-taught piano player, piano lessons can really increase the speed and efficiency with which one learns the instrument. That’s not to say that great piano instruction makes great piano players overnight; even the most naturally talented pianists still play for years before they consider themselves advanced. But proper piano lesson instructions will maximize those years to the fullest and ensure that the student is learning the correct techniques.
Though teaching styles always vary from instructor to instructor, piano instruction generally covers the same basic areas: fingering, , music reading, scales, technique, and sight reading. The early lessons will cover fingering and posture, making sure the student knows how to hold his or her hands and where to put them on the keys; series of scales practiced repeatedly will be the basis of this area. Piano instruction will then move on to notation essentials, starting with the basics of notes and key signatures and time signatures and then moving forward to more advanced concepts in rhythm, tempo and dynamics.

Piano Lessons: Make Sure They Include

Chords & Music Theory!

    

Many of these concepts are introduced into the piano instruction while the student is learning to read music, a practice that runs through the entire course of the piano instruction. Teachers will assign short, easy pieces to kick start the student’s music reading knowledge and eventually move forward to more advanced pieces. Sight reading, the ability to play a piece of music without ever having seen it, is sometimes placed sporadically throughout the piano instruction, after a student is fairly well-versed in reading music.

One crucial element of piano playing that is often left out of traditional piano lessons is the study and practice of chords and music theory. To learn to read music without understanding the theory behind the music and the chords and chord progressions that form the music is almost like teaching a surgeon to cut without understanding the human anatomy and it’s interrelated parts. The student will be able to play the piano from a piece of sheet music, but take that music away or have it blow off the piano and he or she is immediately in big trouble.

There is a famous anecdote about a lady who was a concert pianist and could impress people with her playing, yet when asked to play “Happy Birthday” at a party had to decline with great embarrassment because she didn’t have sheet music for the song handy. To be tied to the written music is a shame, when learning chords and music theory adds so much to the value of piano instruction.

Given a healthy dose of music theory and chord instruction mixed in, all of the other elements of piano instruction eventually begin to work hand in hand. Piano instruction then becomes an intricate web of gaining bits of detailed knowledge little by little and understanding the music that’s being played without fully realizing that it’s being gained.

Having access to piano lesson videos greatly speeds up the learning curve, so whether you take private lessons or do it on your own, try to latch on to some piano lesson videos. They will save you lots of time and make fingering and chords much clearer.

Then playing the piano becomes more fun and a joyful event that can be shared with full understanding of the theory and form that lies behind each song.
Original article  at http://www.playpiano.com/Articles/26-musictheory&chords.htm

 

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Transposing and Modulation

Monday, January 1st, 2007
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 How do transposition and modulation relate? Are they the same? In this newsletter we’re going to take a look at both of them and see what makes them tick.

I’m sure that you have had the experience sometime in your piano-playing life when someone asks you to play a song — but in a different key than in which it is written. It might be a singer wanting you to lower the song a step so he/she doesn’t screech. It might be a song leader wanting you to play a song in a more comfortable keys for a congregation or group. It might be a trumpet player looking over your shoulder and wanting to play along with you — but when he/she plays the same note you are playing, it sure doesn’t sound the same!

So….it’s your job, as pianist, to get that song moved to a different key. That’s transposition — playing or writing a song in a different key than in which it was originally written.

    Modulation is similar but different — modulation means the process of getting from the old key to the new key. In other words, if I’m playing in the key of C, and then want to play in the key of Eb, I have to learn to modulate — move smoothly from one key to another without being too abrupt and jarring.

Continued at http://www.playpiano.com/Articles/25-transpose&modulate.htm

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