Archive for May, 2015


Modulation – Getting From One Key To Another Key

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
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Are Modulation & Transposition The Same?

Good morning. This is Duane and we’ve been doing a series on music theory titled “Good Stuff You Really Ought To Know About Music” and one thing you really ought to know about music is how to module from key to key.

Modulation means the process of getting to one key to another key. Transposing is the process of playing in another key. In other words, if you’re playing for a singer, say, and the music’s written in the key of C but she needs it in the key of E flat or the key of A flat or whatever key, you have to transpose it to that key. In other words, play all the notes in the new key. Modulate is a little different. It’s just the process of getting from one key to another.

Let’s say that you’re just ending a song, let me see, let’s say you’re playing “Auld Lang Syne” and I’m ending in the key of F. Now, if you wanted to play it in another key at the same time, in other words, modulate to another key, the key is to find the V7 chord of the new key. The new key, of course, would be home base. Let’s say you want to play it in the key of G. Well, we’re in the key of F so G is one above that. What’s the V7 chord of the key of G?

Well, G’s the one chord so we count 5 notes and the answer is D. It’s the D7th chord. That’s the chord that moves best, it wants to progress to the key of G. If I’m ending in the key of F, the chord I want to get to is D7th. I can play it in the new key.

Let’s say we wanted to play it, though, I’ll say in A flat. I’m ending in F, how would I get to A flat? Well, what’s the V7 chord in the key of A flat? E flat. E flat 7th, right? That’s the chord you want to get to. I just get to the V7 chord, play that and then move to the new key. That’s the easiest way to do it and the smoothest way to do it.

Now you can make it even smoother if you play the minor V7 of the V7. In other words, if I want to move to A flat, I know I’ve got to get to the E flat 7th chord, but it’s smoother if I move to the V7 chord of E flat 7th which is B flat and make it a minor 7th, and then to E flat. Listen. See it was smoother when I moved to the B flat minor 7th chord before I went to E flat. It makes it a nicer transition.

Just keep those two things in mind but the main point is get to the V7 chord of the new key and that’s the chord you want to modulate to the new key.

Okay, that’s it for today, the subject of modulation. I think tomorrow we’ll do transposition and just compare those side-by-side so to speak. Okay, well if you enjoy these little tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free series of free piano tips because they’re free and you learn a lot that way. Thanks. See you tomorrow. Bye-bye for now.

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ONYeqrgpjQ&feature=youtu.be

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What Is An Arpeggio?

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
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Arpeggio – Chords Broken Up

Good morning! This is Duane, and we’ve been doing a series of videos on music theory, and we’ve titled the series “Good Stuff You Really Ought To Know About Music!” One thing you really ought to know about music are arpeggios. Arpeggio – the word came from playing the harp, because as you strum the harp or play the harp you’re usually playing one note at a time. So an arpeggio is a series of notes made out of a chord of some sort. The simplest kind of arpeggio would be to take a chord like that and break it up (playing piano). That’s an arpeggio.

If you took piano lessons, you probably did this at first (playing piano), and then you went up an octave, and then you went up two octaves, and connected the left hand to the right hand, and so on. And you did that and hit the key of D, D flat and D, D flat and so on, and you learned how to play broken chords. The definition of an arpeggio is simply that it’s a broken chord.

Now in practical usage, though, I don’t think that’s too useful. I mean, it’s just an exercise, but you can use it in actual playing. Let’s say you’re playing the song “Laura,” and it starts in the A minor 7th chord with the 9th being the melody, so I can arpeggiate that- instead of just playing the block chord- instead of doing that I can go (playing piano demonstration).

Whoops! sorry. Those are all arpeggios, okay. They’re broken chords, so I’m taking the A minor 7th chord with the 9th (playing piano), and then just rolling it up the keyboard two or three octaves. Sometimes I’ll come back down like that. It depends how much time I have. Then I go to something else like- these are block chords here. When the note is held for two or more beats, I have time to do that (playing piano).

That’s terrible; I haven’t played that song in years. It’s a beautiful song! If you don’t know it, you gotta look it up. It’s called “Laura.”

Anyway, you can do it with the right hand, you can do it with the left hand. One simple way to do it in the left hand is to take a three-note chord like this (playing piano), and instead of playing it all at once, to arpeggiate it like that, make an arpeggio out of it and keep your damper pedal down. If you’re kind of a beginner at the piano, I advocate doing that, because you can use that on a lot of accompaniment.

See, that keeps the song flowing (playing piano). If you take any chord and stretch it out, take the 3rd out of the middle and play the root, the 5th and the 3rd and just keep on doing that. Or you can play- after you hit the low root, then you can play the 5th and the 3rd and just alternate if you want. Lots of things you can do with arpeggios, but you definitely ought to know about them! That’s just one good thing you really ought to know about music!

If you enjoyed this series, come on over to play piano and sign up for our entire series.

Hope to see you there! Bye bye for now.

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4OQkNsMpxs&feature=youtu.be

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What Is Syncopation?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
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Syncopation in Rhythm

Good morning. This is Duane, and today we’re taking a look at the subject of syncopation. We’ve been doing a series of videos about music theory, and we’ve titled it, “Good Stuff You Really Need To Know About Music.” One of the things you ought to know about music is syncopation.

Syncopation is kind of like humor in literature; it takes you by surprise. In other words, I grew up with a poem on the wall of my bedroom that my folks put there years ago by Joyce Kilmer called, “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a …” And you can probably complete the verse; it’s “tree,” isn’t it. What if somebody said, “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a cockroach.” It would be jarring, wouldn’t it? It would be unusual, it would throw you off. In a way, the same thing happens in music.

We all grew up hearing this sort of thing: (playing example of steady beat)

In other words, steady beats. All right? Whatever it is. But when we add this, what’s going on there? The accent’s on the “and” instead of “one.” If it’s in 4/4 time, normally the heavy beat’s on one and three. If you’re in 3/4 time, it’s on one. But in 4/4 time: one two three four, one two three four. The accents on one and three, isn’t it. But what if you have the accent on the “and?” (playing example of syncopation in rhythm).

So those are all “ands.” The accents are on the weak beats instead of where you would expect them to fall.

Okay? That’s a sense of surprise, and that’s all syncopation is. It’s where the accent falls on a beat you don’t expect it to. That’s really all you need to know about syncopation. Of course in each particular piece you need to practice it and work it out. That’s really the definition of syncopation, and that’s one of the many things you really need to know about music.

We’ll see you tomorrow with another idea like this.

Like these little videos? Come over to PlayPiano.com and sign up for entire series of video tips.

Hope to see you there. Bye bye for now.

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9QnepxnMNU&feature=youtu.be

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What Is The Melody Of A Song Made Of?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
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Melody Of A Song – How Is It Made?

Good morning. This is Duane and we’re doing a series called “Good Stuff You Really Ought to Know About Music,” all related to music theory. We’ve talked about the various kinds of scales, and today I’d like to point out the fact…it’s an obvious fact…but I think I didn’t get it for years but the melody of a song is made out of scales or scale fragments or broken chords of some sort.

Today, I’d like to look at songs that are just made out of scales. For example, let me take this blue tune…now, that was pretty awful but it’s made out of just nothing like the blues scale. That’s played over and over again. That’s all there is to it.

If you knows the blues scale, the blues scale uses not only the Major third but it uses a minor third too, and then it uses the flat fifth which, in the key of F, would be C flat. Then it uses a flat seventh. In a blues scale, you’re always looking for a flat third, a flat seventh and sometimes a flat fifth. That particular tune uses all of them.

Now, another tune that uses nothing but the C scale, listen…what tune is that? Did you recognize it? It’s just a C scale, isn’t it, but if I put rhythm in it, we have (playing “Joy to the World”). It’s nothing but the C scale from the top down. If I did it in the key that George Frederick Handel wrote it in, it would be nothing but D scale, right? If I played in E flat, nothing but the E flat scale, and so on.

I just want you to think about that. All songs are made out of scales or scale fragments, or broken chords. It’s breaking up the G chord, isn’t it? You’ve heard many songs that go like that, made out of broken chords. Just three possibilities then: scales, scale fragments, or broken chords.

That’s it, okay? If you enjoy these little music theory tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free newsletter. Hope to see you there. Bye-bye for now.

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHO2c9Nwu1o&feature=youtu.be

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4-Note Chords Stacked in 3rds

Monday, May 11th, 2015
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Parallel 4-Note Chords

Good morning. This is Duane and we’re involved in a series called “Good Stuff You Really Ought To Know About Music” that all has to do with music theory, various aspects of the guts of music, the forensics of music.

Today I’d like to talk about parallel stacked 3rd chords – 4-note chords composed of 3rds. You know what a 3rd is? It’s an interval of two notes. That’s a 3rd, 1, 2, 3, so if I play those 2 notes together, that’s called a 3rd.

If I play those 2 notes, it’s called a 3rd. If I play those 2 notes, it’s a called a 3rd also. A parallel stacked 3rd chord would be that. The human hand can easily play that. You have 1 finger here, okay? I usually use 1, 2, 3, and 5. If I move up to that, move up just a whole step, I have that sound. It’s still a parallel stacked 3rd chord. If I go up, it’s still a parallel stacked 3rd chord, isn’t it?

If I go up another one, it’s still a parallel stacked 3rd chord. If I go up another one, it’s the same thing. Go up another one, another one, another one.

Same thing is true in minor. If I play a C minor 7th, that’s a 3rd. It’s a minor 3rd but it’s still a 3rd. That’s a minor 3rd on top. If I went from C minor 7th to D minor 7th to E minor 7th, and I can come down with the black keys if I wanted to, like E-flat minor 7th and then D minor 7th. It works major or minor, it doesn’t matter.

You can mix them up as well. Let’s say that we have a song that goes like this. I can think of one, I can’t remember the name of it but…well, then we can harmonize it by doing that, couldn’t we? Oops. It makes for a nice, nice full sound. You can do the same thing with the left hand if you want. In fact, you can do hands together.

Whenever you see a melody that does something like that, try out a stacked 3rd chord and a stacked 3rd, a 7th chord, and see if it works and see if it fits. I think you’ll be delighted to discover that sometimes it does work. It doesn’t always work, of course, but sometimes it does.

By the way, you don’t have to play it as a block chord like that. You can go…you could even take it 2 octaves if you want.

That’s it for today…parallel stacked 3rd chords…four note chords. If you enjoy this sort of thing, come on over to Play Piano and sign up for our free newsletter. It teaches all about chords and things like this. Hope to see you there. Thanks for being with me and we’ll see you again tomorrow with another short video like this. Bye-bye for now.

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF_BfaQY5oU&feature=youtu.be

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