Archive for December, 2013


Start Out The New Year Right By Learning To Play “Auld Lang Syne” On The Piano!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
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Start Out The New Year Right By Learning To Play “Auld Lang Syne” On The Piano!

Good morning. This is Duane. Let’s Start Out The New Year Right By Learning To Play “Auld Lang Syne” On The Piano! Like many songs, you can play Auld Lang Syne with just three chords. So let’s play in the key of F, based on the scale of F, which of course has that one flat, B-flat.

The three primary chords in the key of F, just to review, are the 1 chord — the chord built on the first note of the scale — F; the 4 chord — the chord built on the fourth note of the scale — 1, 2, 3, 4 — B-flat; and the chord built on the fifth note of the scale, which is C. So, you can play that song, Auld Lang Syne, and thousands of songs actually, with just three chords or primary chords — 1, 4, and 5 — and you can do that in any key.

If you wanted to play it in the key of G instead, you could play it with those three chords — the 1 chord, the 4 chord, and the 5 chord. If you wanted to play in the key of E-flat — 1, 4, 5. If you wanted to play it in the key of F-sharp — 1, 4, 5. If you wanted to play it in D-flat — 1, 4, 5.

So you should get familiar with all 12 keys and the primary chords in those keys because that will open a whole world of songs to you because, like I say, you can play thousands of songs with just those three chords and thousands more if you know four.

But let’s get back to the key of F and Auld Lang Syne, and I’m just gonna play it through with those three chords, so … [while playing the Auld Lang Syne] that’s the F chord, C chord, F chord, that’s the B-flat chord, back to F, C, B-flat, C, F, C, F, C, F, B-flat, F, C, B-flat, C, F.

Now you can, but there’s no need to, because there’s a world of chords that you can use as substitutes; so I’m just going to pick out a few and walk you through them. I’m going to start out on the F chord, even though I don’t really have to. I could start out in D-flat, but I’m going to start out on F.

Then I’m going to go to D minor 7th, which is the relative minor to the key of F — so the D minor 7th chord is D, F, A, C. Now I’m going to go to G minor 7th and then C 7th. So what I did is I played this progression [while playing Blue Moon]. That’s right, that’s the Blue Moon chord progression isn’t it — or Heart and Soul chord progression — 1, 6, 2, 5 — it’s used in a zillion songs. That’s what I’m doing here . I’m playing — [while playing Auld Lang Syne] 1, 6, 2, 5, now back to 1, 1, 7. I picked the 7th of the F chord. Now B-flat. Now I’m going to go to B diminished 7th chord to add a little interest.

I’m going from B-flat to B diminished 7th which is B, D, F, A-flat, and now the F chord. Now I’m going to go to D minor 7th again. Now I’m going to throw a curve ball at you. I’m going to play A minor 7th, then B-Flat 7th, D minor 7th, A-flat, C 7th, F, A-flat, F, C 7th, F, D minor 7th, G minor 7th, C 7th. That’s F 7th, but the suspension is going to, of course take the place temporarily.

Now I can go to B-flat. I’m going to play B-flat major 7th and then have a passing tone in there. A minor 7th, D minor 7th, E minor 7th. Then I’ll go to A 7th with a flat 9th or I could go to E-flat 7th, either one. D minor 7th, A-flat, C 7th, and then I’m go to end it with D-flat, E-flat, F. Notice what I did. I just came up D-flat, E-flat, F. The melody is F. The last note is F in the melody so I’m playing the D-flat chord which is in F. Then I’m coming up to the E-flat chord, and then up to the F-chord.

Now I’m also putting in color tones. You probably have noticed. In other words, when I play the F-chord, I’m not just playing F. I’m playing F 2nd and sometimes F 6th. I’ve got D minor 7th, C minor 7th. That’s C 7th with suspension. That chord is C 7th. The melody, of course, is a 6th, but I’m flatting the 9th, so that’s C 7th flat 9. Now I’m playing F 7th here with a 6th in it.

Now I wouldn’t have to go to B-flat. I could go to B diminished 7th, B minor, B half diminished 7th, and then resolve … I could take a run up if I wanted to and then end up on E 7th, and then go back to A minor 7th, D minor 7th, E minor 7th, E-flat 7th, D minor 7th, A-flat, C 7th, and then the ending — D-flat, E-flat, F.

Now let me play that all the way through. Okay? And I won’t talk this time. [playing Auld Lang Syne] Okay. There’s just a couple ideas for arranging Auld Lang Syne. Remember, you don’t have to do what I do, but hopefully you’ll use this as an idea starter to find some substitutes of your own.

Again, Happy New Year, and we’ll see you next year. Bye Bye, for now.

Here is the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFm-opOmZFM

Here is an article from ABC news about the song and it’s meaning: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/auld-lang-syne-what-does-it-mean-again/
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How To Become One Of Duane’s Private Online Piano Students – PowerPoint Presentation

Friday, December 27th, 2013
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How To Become One Of Duane’s Private Online Piano Students – PowerPoint Presentation

To sign up please go to http://www.playpiano.com/musicalmap.htm

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The “Instant Piano Chord Finder” – Locate Any Chord Instantly

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
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The “Instant Piano Chord Finder” – Locate Any Chord Instantly

Instant Piano Chord Finder

Hi. I’d like to take you on a little tour of the Instant Piano Chord Finder. It’s very easy to understand. As you can see, I have it open on my desktop and a desktop is a good place to put it too, so you can always find it. Let me close that. After you download it, you’ll see a little icon like this and all you do is double click on that icon and you get the standard Microsoft message that says, “Do you trust this publisher?” You say Run and there it is. Very simple. Very innocuous and you’ll see it’s divided into three parts. There is the staff. There is the keyboard and then there are the buttons down here that you click on. For example, let’s say that we want the C chord. We would click on that C right there. It’s already clicked, so let me click on D. If I wanted the C chord, I’d click on C and the notes of the C chord appear in the treble clef and they appear on the keyboard and this shows where the root note of the key is. If you want to see what they look like on the bass clef, you just click this bass clef sign and there are the notes in the bass clef. C, E, G and there they are. You can tell this part of the keyboard is lit up, so it’s in the bass clef, but you toggle it back to the treble clef and you see that’s lit up. There are the notes in the treble clef and there are the notes of the C triad. If you want to see the notes of the C triad upside down, in other words, inverted, click on first inversion and you see now C has gone from the bottom note to the top note, but it’s still the C chord. If you want to know what the second inversion of the C chord is, you click on #2 and there is the C chord upside down the second time, called second inversion and there is the C in the middle. You want to take it back to root, collect that again.

That’s true for any chord. If you want to know what the F major chord is, just click on F. If you want to know what the D flat chord is, click on D flat. If you want to know what the B chord is, click on B. If you want to know what the A flat major chord is, click on A flat. Now, let’s say that we’re in the key of D and we want to know what the scale of D is. We come over here and we click on the scale and we have several scales to choose from. We can see the D major scale or the D minor harmonic, minor melodic and minor melodic down or the pentatonic and I encourage you to click through all of those, but I’ll just collect the major scale for now. I have selected it there and I’m going to click select. Now, we not only see the notes of the D chord, but we see all the notes of the D scale. That’s useful when you’re improvising to know what notes go with which chords. Okay? If I switch to G and I want to know the notes of the G scale, there they are. If I want to know what the notes of the G minor scale are, there is the G minor chord and there is the G minor scale. If I want to know what the notes of the A scale are, there is the A chord and there is the A scale.

Now, by the way, you can just put your mouse over any of those notes if you want to take off the gray for some reason or you can just hit clear and that makes it all go away. Okay? You can have the basic chords here and then the extended chords here. So far, we’ve just talked about major chords. Let’s come back to C and let’s say we want C seventh. There it is. C, E, G and B flat. C major seventh, C, E, G and B. Then again, we can turn these upside down if we want to. All of these can be inverted any way we would like. If we want to know what C minor is, there it is. There it is in second inversion. If we want to know what C minor seventh is, there it is, C minor sixth, C augmented, C diminished, C sus four, C seventh sus four, C sixth, C ninth, C eleventh, thirteenth and so on. You see, it’s very easy to understand. In five minutes, you’ll be as good at this as I am and there’s not much to be good about it. All you do is you point and click. That’s it for the Instant Chord Finder. It’s really … I would have given my left hand for this, no I wouldn’t have, because I play my chords with my left hand, but I would have given my left leg for this, back when I was in college, to have all this information. This is great music theory and it is all on a concise chart on your desktop. Of course, you can get it out of a book, but you cannot turn chords quickly upside down or determine what the scale is and the extensions and so on. It’s worth it’s weight in gold. There is a little tour of the Instant Chord Finder. Thanks for being with me. I’ll say goodbye for now. You can read all about the Instant Chord Finder at www.keyboardchords.com
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“What Child Is This?” For Piano – An Easy 4-Chord Progression

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
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“What Child Is This?” For Piano – An Easy 4-Chord Progression

Good morning and Merry Christmas. This is Duane. When you were a kid, did you ever play a chord sequence something like this? “What Child Is This?” For Piano – An Easy 4-Chord Progression. I did that way back when I was a little kid, maybe not in that key, maybe it was something like that, doesn’t matter. But, there is Christmas carol that’s made out of that very same progression that I’d like to cover that today. If you can learn those four chords which are D Minor, C Major, B Flat and A, then you can really play this Christmas carol quite easily. Actually, there is one more chord, there is the F chord, that’s very easy. There is only five chords, D Minor, C Major, B Flat Major and A Major and then F, F is in the bridge.

Okay, now, interestingly, how many major … how many minor chords are there? D Minor, C Major, E Flat Major, A Major and F Major. There is four major chords and one minor chord but guess what, it’s in the minor key, it’s in the key of D Minor, isn’t that strange, but that’s often true. When you are in a minor key, often they’ll be as many major chords or more in that minor key than there are minor chords. But you usually start in a minor key, started in a minor chord and end in a minor chord, okay, or you can end in a major chord and I’ll talk about that later, okay.

But let’s play … let’s take what Child Is This and do it with those four chords, okay? We’ll just pick out the melody. Started on D. D Minor, C Major, B Flat, A, D Minor, now we go up to F Major for the bridge and it looks like we are in the key of … or it looks like we are in the key of F. Now, there you have a choice to actually play in the key of F or you can use B natural, I like that myself, it’s use both ways but. Back to C, B Flat, A. Notice how often the melody just follows whatever the chord is. For example, right there the melody went E, C Sharp, A and that’s a very chord and play. It’s just A Major. And like that we do that to C don’t we. Right now the C chord. A, and then in D Minor, okay.

Now let me expand it just a little bit. I’m going to chord in I think it’s three four. Now, we are going to go up to F Major. And playing in 3rds. B Flat. Notice there on one A, I often use A7, okay, not just A but A7 and I’m playing it in a version of course. Now, let me expand a little more. Notice I ended it in D Major, not D Minor, okay. That’s often a traditional way to end a minor song in a major key, okay. You always have the option you will if ended in minor of course but we kind of like it. I think it freshens it up after you’ve been playing in minor to end it in major, and that’s your choice of course, okay.

Well, there’s just a few ideas and if you’d like an expanded version of this of course and I have a full course on arranging Christmas carols. Thanks for being with me and we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye for now.  For a complete course on playing Spectacularly Beautiful Christmas Carols on your piano for your family and friends this Christmas, click here to read all about it: http://www.playpiano.com/musical-courses/christmas-carols.htm

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD86K3yLWpA

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O Come All Ye Faithful For Piano – Some Arranging Ideas

Monday, December 23rd, 2013
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O Come All Ye Faithful For Piano – Some Arranging Ideas…

Good morning. Let’s take a look at O Come All Ye Faithful for piano today and we can do it in any key we want. Let’s do it in F and I’ll just kind of play it through and we’ll talk about what we could do, some of the arrangement techniques. (Jazzy contemporary rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful plays)

Okay, we did several different things. First of all I start out with the second. I use the F chord, but I put my thumb over not only A, the third and the second G, so we have a little more of a complex chord there. Here I used an ostinato. The chord is G minor 7th, but I used them over F and C, so it’s really two cords. That’s G7th again or a chord and a half-chord. Then I think I (striking chords), yeah F major 7th, G minor 7th F major 7th, G minor 7th and here I think I play E 11th I guess. Yeah, as a substitute. The [Inaudible 00:01:59] is A, so that would be the 11th at the E chord. So, is that right? That made suspension of the E chord. Okay.

Then, I have steps [Inaudible 00:02:13] to E flat 7th, E minor 7th, G7th. Now this is kind of traditional here. C, D minor 7th, C, F and each one of those has a major 7th in it of some sort. Like that C minor 7th, D minor 7th, E minor 7th, F minor 7th. That’s a C chord, but I’ve got some passing tones in it. See the passing tones going from the 2nd to the 3rd to the major 7th to the 6th. There’s a suspension on G7th, which I’ll resolve through a passing tone.

That’s a C7th, but I’m using the suspension first. Then, I put the 7th in the mix to get [Inaudible 00:03:07] some motion and then that’s the F chord and A is on the bottom of it and I’m using a passing [Inaudible 00:03:14]. C7th and a major 7th, short minor 7th, C7th, F7th, F9th. Actually, the F chord and a first inversion of the 9th and the second passing. B flat, G7th, B on the bottom, C7th. Now, I think I want up high. (Melody continues.) Left hand, I use to ostinato like this. (Melody continues.)

Now, here, where you can get to the traditional part, we can do that (melody) or I think I dropped it down to get a more traditional sound, nothing unusual there. B flat chord is the chord that’s written. I could change this to B flat minor or E flat 7th if you prefer. That’s the E flat 7th then the 9th and a 13 stuck in it. That’s the F chord and I’m using a passing tone 2nd [Inaudible 00:04:40] major 7th, 6th, C7th suspension, resolve with a passing tone and then home to F, but I could use an inside plagal cadence.

So, you see there are all kinds of things you could do to a song like that and the sky is the limit. So I encourage you to experiment around. Let me play it through once more just so you can watch it. (Oh Come All Ye Faithful melody) Those are passing tones. [Inaudible 00:05:26]. B flat, G7th, C7th. Now, I’m going higher just for contrast. And that’s the traditional plagal cadence at the end.

Now, if you wanted to do something a little more unusual, you might do something like this. Start out with the F and then go to C minor 7th or even a 9th then if you want. See, there’s just two chords there. There’s the F chord and with a 9th in it. C minor 7th, F major, C minor 7th, F major 7th, C minor 7th. See, there are just two chords. Watch again. (Contemporary version of O Come All Ye Faithful)

Now if you wanted to go to A minor 7th, you could do that instead of F. In other words, instead of F, go to A minor 7th and I just turn like that. That’s D minor 7th with a flat 9th. G minor 7th, D flat 7th, C7th, B flat, G7th. I think I lost my place, so I’m going back to C and then to the course. Now you don’t have to do it high, you can do it (melody continues).

Now all that was, was a delayed plagal cadence. In other words, I’m toggling back and forth between F and B flat. B flat is a [Inaudible 00:08:11]. Plagal cadence is where you go to the 4 chord to the 1 chord. It’s the traditional augmented cadence. So, I’m doing the same thing. Watch. Here’s the ending. Instead of going to F I go to B flat, F, B flat, F. So, it’s just kind of a delayed plagal cadence.

Well, there are a few ideas for you on O Come All Ye Faithful, so tune in again tomorrow and I’ll have another Christmas Carol waiting for you. For a complete course on playing Spectacularly Beautiful Christmas Carols on your piano for your family and friends this Christmas, click here to read all about it: http://www.playpiano.com/musical-courses/christmas-carols.htm

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oItDv0aSDk

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