Archive for August, 2015


Improvising On Piano Chords

Friday, August 28th, 2015
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Create a new tune by improvising on piano chords!

Our video today deals with improvising on piano chords to create a new melody of a song.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edH21ng_Wv4&feature=youtu.be

Good morning. This is Duane. This is the second part of a series we are doing on how to improvise using chords. Last time we said that improvisation, when you’re making up a new melody … and that’s what improvisation is, where you take a song and you keep the chord progressions but you make up a new melody. Now I realize there’s some free form improvisations where you just make up your own music and your own chords and so on. I could play like that. I could do something like that where there’s no reference to a song there. That’s fine, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about taking an existing song and then making up a new melody. For example, if we were playing “Moon River,” here’s a melody. If I improvised on it I would make a new melody like that.

Last time we took up “Blue Moon.” There’s only two ways to improvise. That is to make up a melody out of scale fragments or out of broken chords. There’s no other way. You either have a scale of some sort, a scale fragment … you don’t play a whole scale of course but a part of a scale, or part of a chord. You usually don’t play a whole chord. I could improvise on C using any part of the C scale or any passing tones I wanted to. Or I could do it by breaking up the chord.

Today we’re going to take this just a step further and I’m just going to play two chords. Well, I think I’ll take four chords. I’ll take the four chords of “Blue Moon.” We’ll call them C or C major 7th, A minor 7th, D minor 7th, and G 7th. You know the song. Take those four chords: C major 7th, A minor 7th, D minor 7th, and G 7th. Now what I’m going to do is just break up the chords this time. I’m not going to use any scales. See what I did? I took the C major 7th chord and went right up the chord. Syncopated it a little bit. Then I took the A minor 7th chord and came down on it. I went up on the C major 7th chord, came down on the A minor 7th chord, went up on the D minor 7th chord, came down on the G 7th chord. You could do it in any order of course. I could go … and anything like that.

That’s very, very simple, but that’s the way you start. I suggest to you if you’re a beginner, then you just take those four chords and work on that. Break those notes up somehow, the notes of the chord. I’m sorry. It’s best if you can make a rhythm pattern out of it too. If you don’t use the rhythm and melody, make up your own rhythm pattern. Notice I went da da da da da, da da da da. I imitated the rhythm that I did at first. See that? As you get more advanced you can use a lot of different variations of that. That’s the way to get started.

Now tomorrow I’ll show you how to use some passing tones, some scale notes with passing tones to make it more interesting so that you can do this kind of thing. That’s very simple to do using some passing tones. We’ll talk about that tomorrow as we continue our series on how to improvise using chords. We’ll see you then. If you are not already signed up for our newsletter, be sure and do that. You get free videos most every day. It’s all free, so hope you take advantage of that. Come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for that. We’ll 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

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edH21ng_Wv4&feature=youtu.be
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Play Hundreds Of Songs On The Piano By Learning 3 Primary Chords!

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
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3 Primary Chords Are The Keys To Playing Lots Of Songs!

If you learn 3 primary chords on the piano there are literally hundreds of songs you can play.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7q3TvYMaFQ&feature=youtu.be

Good morning. This is Duane and sometimes I have people come up to me and say, “Listen, I love to play the piano. Are there any songs I can play with just a couple of chords?” The answer is yes, there are, but better if you know 3 chords. If you know 3 chords, then you can play literally hundreds of songs. I have had a list in my possession in the past. I can’t find it right now but that showed several 100 songs you could just play with 3 chords.

Let me just illustrate. Let’s say I wanted to play “Amazing Grace.” I could play that with just 3 chords. I just used the C chord, the F chord, and the G chord. I could play “Silent Night” the same way. I could play “On Top of Old Smokey.” I could play “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and so on. I could play lots and lots of songs with just 3 chords.

The problem is how do you know which chords to learn? Well, there’s 3 chords … the answer is really quite easy … there are  3 chords that are called the 3 primary chords. That means main chords, homeboy chords. Like in your family you have a core family. There’s a Mom and a Dad and a child, let’s say. There could be several but there’s 3, a basic core. In music, it’s the same way. There’s 3 primary chords that are used way, way more than any others. If you learn those 3 chords, then you can get by with zillions of songs. “Happy Birthday.”

You may want to play more exciting than that and you can certainly learn to do that, but that’s a start, knowing what those chords are. Let’s take at the easiest key to play in. That’s the key of C. You see, there’s 12 possible keys I could play in. I could play in the key of C. I could play in the key of D flat. I could play in the key of D. I could play in the key of E flat, and so on, but it’s easy for a beginner to play in the key of C because all the notes are white keys. If you learn 3 chords in the key of C, you can get by. The I chord is the C chord, that’s the main home chord. It’s called the tonic chord, the home chord. That’s made up of every note up from C.

The next most important chord is the V chord. The V chord would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If I just come up here and build a chord using every other white key, that’s the V chord. The other chord is the IV chord, 1, 2, 3, 4. If I just learn the C chord, the F chord, and the G chord, I can play all those songs that I just played a minute ago plus hundreds of others.

I would start that way. You could start just by playing those 3 chords in root position. In other words, not upside down, but it’s easier once you know what they are to play them upside down. That way, you don’t move your hand that much. For example, I could play the C chord like that and I could play the F chord like that. Why do I say that? Well, that’s still the F chord. All I’ve taken is C off the top and put it on the bottom. That way, I can move easily from the C chord to the F chord.

Then, if I keep my hand frozen and just move up 1 whole white key on all those, I get to the G chord. There’s 3 chords, C, F, and G. With those 3, you can harmonize tons and tons of songs, playing the melody in your right hand and the chords in your left hand. You can start out like that. Then as you get better, you can start chording. Then you can start arpeggiating, and so on. You can take it step-by-step.

You can start out like that and get to, and then you could play a full style, but it all starts with learning those 3 basic chords. If you are anxious to start playing the piano with chords, then learn those 3 chords I just identified: the I chord, the IV chord, and the V chord.

That’s it for today. If you enjoyed these little tips, come on over to Play Piano and sign up for a whole series of tips. Hope to see you there. Bye-bye for now.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7q3TvYMaFQ&feature=youtu.be

***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

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Learn Piano Chords & What You Can Do With Them!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
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What Do You Do With Them After You Learn Piano Chords?

Today our video is about ways to manipulate them after you learn piano chords.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThKaVHBXszM&feature=youtu.be

Good morning. This is Duane. We’ve been doing a series on how to color on the piano without crayons. Various ways to add interest and color to our piano playing. Today I’d like to ask you a question, what can you do with one chord, what can you do with just the G7 chord? I’m going to pick G7 but it really applies to any chord. The fingering will be different and so on, but let’s look at the things you can do with the G7 chord.

First of all you can just play it like that, can’t you. G B D F, that’s obvious. You can play it, you can turn it upside down in first inversion, you can play the second inversion, you can play it in third inversion, and then of course you can play it in different octaves, can’t you. Just go up the keyboard higher and higher. And of course you can play it in the right hand as well as in the left hand. Either, or. For example you could play it the right hand without playing it on the left hand. The left hand could just play a G root, for example. Okay.

What else could you do with it? Well, you could break it up. You could take 3 notes, and then 1. Say, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1. Okay. Or you could play 2, 1, 2. Let’s do a straddle here, we could do a straddle. A straddle is where you leave one note out. So you play 2 of the 4 notes and then 2 of the 4 notes. Like so.

You could also run it up the keyboard – a piano run – couldn’t you, or back down. I’m just taking the 4 notes to the chord, I’m playing in a second inversion, and I’m playing D, F, G, B and then tucking my thumb under D, the same 4 notes D, F, G, B. Same 4 notes and then I can come back down the way I went up. Oops.

Then I could hesitate. I don’t have to go straight up, I could go … alternating between those 2 octaves. Okay. I could add a color tone to it, couldn’t I. I could play a third inversion like so, but add a ninth to is, so I got this sound. I could slide off a black key and give it a little bluesy sound. I can do that with the … I can do sort of the … If I want a bluesy sound.

I can do a twang if I want a western sound. There I’m turning around the note. A twang is where you do it quickly. Let me do it in G7, or G. But a turn is like where you do that slowly. Or.

Those are all varieties of the G7 chord. I’m just dealing with one chord, right? G7. I added a color tone, I just add one color tone. There’s other color tones you could add and so on. Just to give you an idea of what you can do with one single chord and you have almost an infinite number of chords to do that it. If you can do that to G7, you can do something E flat in seventh like that, can’t you. You could do it to A minor seventh. Same idea. Okay.

Get good at finding ways to manipulate chords, in other words, color without crayons, on the piano.

If you enjoy this series come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for a series. It’s free of course, I 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

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A Summary of “How To Find The Key Of a Song”

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
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“How To Find The Key Of a Song”

This is a combination video about how to find the key of a song. It covers major keys – both flat keys and sharp keys – and minor keys.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z2YVTKCgWY&feature=youtu.be

***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

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Adding 7th Chords To a Piano Song Through Voicing

Monday, August 24th, 2015
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7th chords Can Add a “Blues Sound” To Your Piano Playing

Our video today covers adding 7th chords to most any song.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4bNhgchNU8&feature=youtu.be

Good morning, this is Duane and we’ve been doing a series called How To Color On The Piano Without Crayons and we’ve been talking lately about improvising using chords and I use the tune Blue Moon just as kind of a model but what I’m demonstrating applies to all songs. The four chords that are in Blue Moon, playing in the key of C, one chord, the six chord, the two chord, and the five chord. Here’s the progression. We have the C chord, the A minor chord, the D minor chord, and the G seventh chord and we’ve been just improvising on those four chords and we said that we can start out with a single finger and just make up another melody to the same tune.

The tune goes, you know the tune of Blue Moon. Use the same rhythm as the tune but use different notes like so. We also talked about you can use thirds and you can use sixths and so on. We also talked about using blue notes. By sliding off some black keys we could use grace notes that way and then we talked about block chords, using block chords. Today I’d like to talk about adding a bluesy sound to it and we add a bluesy sound by simply adding 7th chords. On C I like to voice it kind of like that, hit a low C and then I play E, A, B flat, and D. There’s the seventh, but I also put the sixth and the ninth in it. It sounds like this.

I’m using the same four chords, C, A minor, D minor, and G but I’m voicing them differently. The C chord I’m voicing like that, the A seventh chord I’m voicing like this I think, instead of minor I use a major chord, major seventh and then on D I used a major chord and then on G I used a major chord. They’re all major in the sequence. Let me just improvise a little bit. Here are those four chords. Round and round and they’re all made of sevenths. Just an idea of how you can add a bluesy sound to any song just by adding seventh and voicing it a little different, with some color tones, primarily seventh but it doesn’t hurt if you add a sixth or a ninth or a flat sometimes, you get a lot of variety that way.

If you enjoy this kind of thing, come on over to PlayPiano.com and sign up for our entire video series. You’ll get a new one most everyday and over the course of time you can learn quite a bit. 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

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