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.