Archive for July, 2014


Compose a Piano Song With Just 3 Chords & a Simple Tune

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
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Compose a Piano Song With Just 3 chords & a Simple Tune

Good morning, this is Duane. We are going to compose a piano song with just 3 chords and a simple tune. I’d like to talk about beginning improvisation using just an octave fifth. This is for people that are just beginning at the piano or maybe they’ve began a bit but certainly in the first year or so. What I’d like you to do is play an octave from A to A that’s an octave. Octavo, octopus eight notes, right? We’re going to play an octave and then we’re going to play the fifth that’s between the octave notes. That’s called the fifth because I’m playing the note that’s five notes higher than the original A. I’m playing root, octave fifth. Okay? Push down your damper pedals, you do that and do it again, do it again.

Nothing could be simpler, couldn’t it? Then the left hand we’re going to use just three chords, we’re going to use A minor chord which is like that, A, C, E, except we’re going to spread it out. We’re going to play it as an arpeggio. Okay? You’re simply taking the notes of the A minor chord and you’re starting on A and skip C because that’s too muddy down there. Skip C and go to E and then A, C, E. Let’s play it that far. See how that, that’s a nice sound isn’t it? It’s an empty, hollow sound, maybe a sad sound but I like it and maybe you do too. You play this three note and as you play the E, the middle note the E fifth then you play your left hand part. Here we go.

Now, I’m going to play the same thing on the right hand except I’m going to move to the D minor chord. D, F, A, and again instead of playing it there we’re going to arpeggi, break it up. We’re going to play, D, A, F, A, D. Let’s take it that far. First A, A minor, now D minor. Now, we’re going to play E minor, E, G, B. You see, they are all white keys. I’m not going to get in any black keys here so again we’re going to arpeggi that chord E, G, B down here E, B. Again we live out the G because that sounds too muddy down there. E, B, let’s say, E, G, B. It didn’t really matter as long as there are certain notes to that chord, okay? Let’s try that. See that? Okay, let’s try all three now.

Here’s A minor, D minor, E minor. Did you get that? A minor, D minor, and then we’re going to play this melody twice on E minor. Then back to A minor. Just by varying a little bit you see that’s one rhythm then the middle rhythm is … It just gives it a little variation but you’re still playing the same notes. Now, what I want to show you in the left hand is you’re playing the three primary chords and the key of A minor. That’s all that’s going on. The A minor chord, the D minor chord and the E minor chord. For those of you that know music theory, you know that the one, four, five chord are the family chords, thy are called primary chords, the family chords in any given key. It’s the simplest thing we can do. A minor, D minor, E minor and succession like that.

Okay? Then if I was building a song that’s a nice thing but if I was building a song then I would do something different for the middle part and then come back to this, this is the last part. A lot of songs are in a form called AABA. What we just learned was the A form. Maybe tomorrow we’ll learn it, maybe tomorrow we’ll learn, maybe tomorrow we’ll improvise the V form. Let’s do that tomorrow. Okay? Right now let’s just master the A form. Now, the A form is three quarters of any given song, okay. If you mastered this you got 3 quarters of the song and done. Here we go. A minor, D minor, E minor, A minor. Okay? Then that’s the A section and then we’d repeat it again.

Then tomorrow we’ll create a B section or release the contrast to that A section and then we’ll comeback to the A section again we finish off with that. If you’re a beginner you already have learn three quarters of a improvisation in A minor. Okay? If you enjoy this kind of thing, come on over to playpiano.com and be sure to sign up for my series of newsletters on chords and chord progressions and it’s all free, newsletter is. Come on over and sign up and we’ll see you there and we’ll see you also tomorrow as I continue this little series. Bye-bye for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZlCYMpFEj0
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What Is The Fastest Way For Adults Learning To Play The Piano?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
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What Is The Fastest Way For Adults Learning To Play The Piano?

If you have kids, by all means get them started taking piano lessons from the very best teacher you can find. Kids need a warm body along side them to help them focus, correct their fingering, help them learn to read, and methodically work through all the elements of piano playing. Make sure the teacher knows and teaches music theory too – you want your child to understand what he or she is playing, and to eventually be able to arrange songs and improvise.

For the adult who has the time and discipline to do so, I would recommend the same thing – find the best teacher you can and start from square one, learning to read music and proceed through all the standard piano literature. But for the busy adult who just wants to come home from work and play for their own enjoyment and relaxation and doesn’t have the desire or time for formal piano lessons, then the fastest way to start playing the songs you want to play is to learn chords and chord symbols.

This video is for those folks ONLY – not for others who have other goals in music. Over the years I have taught LOTS of those people – many doctors and professional people who have no time or energy other than to play for their own enjoyment. And lots of them have told me how relaxing it is to come home exhausted from a busy day at the hospital or office, kick off their shoes, and play some song that has been going through their mind that day. So this is the fastest and most fun way for adults learning to play the piano.

Please watch this video – I think you will be surprised and pleased!

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L2w3Hv0Xv8&feature=youtu.be
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Left Hand Piano Styles

Friday, July 25th, 2014
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Left Hand Piano Styles – Walking Bass

Good morning. This is Duane and today I’d like to talk about a very minor left hand piano styles that you might consider using.

Like I said, it’s not used very much. It used to be used more by jazz pianists but not so much anymore. What it is, it’s an imitation of a string bass. Your left hand is taking the place of the string bass and it basically plays through the chord.

If the chord is C, it would play kind of through the chord … like that on the beat or through the scale of the chord. In other words … Then when it changed to the F chord, then you … I goofed … You get the idea?

Now you can use it in the Blues or Rhythm and Blues, things like that, but you can also use it in song. Let me play an example here … Here what I’m doing is I’m playing the root and the fifth like a bass does.

You see you don’t have to use it all the time. You just kind of intersperse chords with that. Like I say, it’s not a very … I haven’t used that for years but it’s something I used to use and if you want to add that to your repertoire, it’s kind of a very minor style but one that you could think about adding to your toolbox.

Again whatever the chord is, like a C minor 7th, you can play through the chord itself, skip around if you want, or play through the scale of the chord … Or change … You see that.

Okay, that’s it for today. A very short video but if you enjoy this sort of thing, come over to PlayPiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips. Hope to see you there. Bye-bye for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVr9zO54UGc&feature=youtu.be
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Mozart Boy Genius

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
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One of the greatest composers of all time – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart boy genius

Here is a 3-minute video about his life. Some of the facts are still in dispute, but a helpful video nonetheless.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, on Jan. 27, 1756, his father a violinist and composer. Even with such an auspicious heritage, Mozart boy genius was soon discovered to be a musical prodigy.

He wrote his first composition at the age of five, had his first piece published when he was seven, and wrote his first opera at the age of 12. He was, by the age of six, an excellent pianist and expert violinist.

The Young Composer

While still 13 Mozart wrote his second opera, Mitridate, re di Ponto. Two other operas, Ascanio in alba and Lucio Silla, were penned in 1771 and 1772 respectively.
During an intense composing period that included symphonies, string quartets, sonatas, and operas, Mozart wrote all five of his violin concertos.

In 1776, he began writing piano concertos culminating with Piano Concerto Number 9 in E flat Major written in 1777. By then Mozart had just turned 21.

Off to Vienna

In 1779, Mozart wrote a series of church works including the Coronation Mass as well as the opera, Ideomeneo in 1781. Following a bitter quarrel with the Archbishop, Mozart was dismissed and left for Vienna where he became a freelance musician and composer.
Work was plentiful and he found himself writing for publication and playing almost constantly. Here he began writing the opera, Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.

Love and Marriage

While in Vienna Mozart fell in love with Fridolin Weber’s daughter, Constanze but did not marry initially due to objections by his father.
Eventually the two married and in time Mozart’s father, Leopold, gave his blessing. Wolfgang and Constanze had six children, although only two of them survived infancy.

Bach, Handel, and Haydn

In the period 1782-83 Mozart became entranced with the music of both J.S. Bach and George Frederic Handel. He began writing in a Baroque style, which influenced many later compositions including The Magic Flute and the finale to Symphony Number 41.
It was at this time Mozart also met Joseph Haydn and the two became friends. They often performed impromptu concerts together. Between 1782 and 1785, Mozart wrote six quartets, which he dedicated to Haydn.

Fame and Fortune

Toward the end of 1785, Mozart met the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, a Venetian composer and poet and together they collaborated on the opera The Marriage of Figaro. This triumph led to a second collaboration with Da Ponte on the opera Don Giovanni that premiered in 1787 in Prague.
Noted for their musical complexity, the two operas are among Mozart’s most important works and are standard operatic repertoire today.

Intense Production

Between 1790 and 1791, now in his mid-thirties, Mozart went through a period of great music productivity. Some of his most admired works — the opera The Magic Flute, the Piano Concerto in B-flat, the Clarinet Concerto in A minor, and the unfinished Requiem were written during this time.

Death and Legacy

Almost as quickly, Mozart became ill. He died on Dec. 5, 1791 at the age of 35. The most widely accepted cause of death hypothesis was acute rheumatic fever, a disease with which Mozart suffered throughout his life.
At the time of his death, Mozart was considered one of the greatest composers of all time. His work influenced many composers that followed, including Ludwig Van Beethoven.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh6kruE7IZ4
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The Alberti Bass Style Of Broken Chords………

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
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An easy way to break up chords: the Alberti Bass

Good morning. This is Duane. Today I’d like to talk about the simplest way to break up chords. It’s called the Alberti Bass. It goes like this. Whatever the chord is, I’m playing the C chord as you can see in root position. You play the bottom note, then the top note, then the middle note, then the top note again.

Bottom, top, middle, top, bottom, top, middle, top. If your chord was C minor, it would be bottom, top, middle, top, bottom, top, middle, top. If your chord was F, you could play it in root position, but I’m just going to play it in second inversion. Bottom, top … Bottom, top, middle, top. In other words, whatever the bottom of the chord is, whatever inversion you’re in, play that. Then the top note, then the middle note, then the top note again.

There are some variations to that. For example you could go … See that. There’s some variations. By the way, I just played the one, four, five chord. Here’s the one chord in the key of C. Here’s the four chord, which is F. You see I’m playing it in second inversion, which makes it a lot closer to the C chord. For beginners it’s easier to move, and it’s smoother too.

Then I played the five, seven chord. When you have a five, seven chord, you’ve got a four note chord. In Alberti Bass you just leave out the fifth or leave out any one of the notes, but usually the fifth is the best to leave out. You play bottom, top, middle, top, bottom, top, middle, top. That’s the one, four, five chord in the key of C.

If we were doing it in the key of F, it would be the one chord, the four chord, one chord, five, seven chord. You’ve probably heard this sort of thing. Something like that. I think it’s called Music Box Dancer, but it’s made out of that Alberti Bass. It’s a very simple way to break up any kind of chord.

Now if you want a music box effect, you just come high on the keyboard … Well, let’s try up here. I’ll play Brahm’s Lullaby. The music box runs down, so if you’re looking for a very simple way to break up chords, this is the way, the Alberti Bass.

By the way, it was name after a composer named Alberti who used this technique a lot. Other composers used it too, but Alberti probably used it a little too much. It came to be named after him.

That’s good for today. If you enjoy these free piano tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips if you haven’t already. Hope to see you there. Thanks. Bye-bye for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArE2GP3ArgE&feature=youtu.be
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