HOW TO PLAY PIANO CHORDS

You now understand your major scales; this means that you have done the hardest work in your process to learning to play the piano.

Major and minor piano chords are very predominant in all music, so we shall start with these.

Major chords

How do I form, for instance, a C major chord? Well, remember this:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7

C... D...E.....F....G... A....B

Now, the formula for a major chord is:

1 35 , translating that into notes we get,

CEG

That’s it! It does not get any easier than this my friend.

This chord above is a C major chord.

Here is another example, this time we will construct say, an F major chord.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7

F...G....A....Bb..C.....D....E

Formula,

135, write this in terms of notes we get:

FAC

Minor chords

The formula for a minor chord is: 1 – b3 – 5

So a C major chord will be: C – Eb – G

And an F major chord will be: F – Ab – C

CHORD FINGERING (How do I lay my hands down on the piano to play these chords?)

Let

· t=thumb

· i=index finger

· m=middle finger

· r=ring finger

· p=pinky

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

E

G

finger to use

t

m

p

This means that when you play a C major chord with your right hand, you are going to use your thumb to play C, middle finger to play E and your pinky to play the G note.

Another way to play the root of C major is this:

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

E

G

finger to use

t

i

r

Other fingerings:

FIRST INVERSION

chord

E

G

C

finger to use

t

i

p

SECOND INVERSION

chord

G

C

E

finger to use

t

i

r

Later we’ll do 4-fingered chords; this is how you will finger them:

Cmajor 7 chord,

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

E

G

B

finger to use

t

i

m

p

SECOND INVERSION

chord

G

B

C

E

finger to use

t

i

m

p

C add9 chord,

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

D

E

G

finger to use

t

r

m

p


Don’t worry concerning these chords; I will be explaining them as time goes on.

Note that you may come up with fingerings that are more convenient for you than the ones I’ve provided. If that’s the case, go ahead and use your own fingerings!

Playing piano chords: harmonically or melodically.

You can play piano chords either harmonically or melodically. Normally we play chords harmonically for fast songs and melodically for ballads, but this is not necessarily a rule because even for ballads pianists do play their chords harmonically a lot.

Let’s say we have C major chord: CEG

If I wanted to play the chord harmonically, I will play all of the notes of CM together, at the same time.

If I wanted to play the chord melodically, I will play the notes individually: C, E and then play G or I can go down with it, like this: play G, E and then C. If you want to you can even start on E, go to C and then play G, the choices are yours. Just experiment with different combinations and come up with your own style!

You can also mix the combination by playing the chord, first harmonically then melodically.

Try this for the CM chord(C-E-G)!

C-G → C-E → C-E-G

Try some of your own combinations and see what you can come with. To play piano, experimentation is what is going to take you to the next level and makes learning interesting and fun!

CIRCLE OF FIFTHS

Circle of Fourths diagram:

When you practice your scales, chords, etc on the piano, use the order of the above diagram, you go around it either clockwise or anti-clockwise. I prefer the anti-clockwise route, it is the most common in music..

Let us look at the key of C and F, don’t their scales look similar? The ONLY difference is that the key of F has got Bb instead of B.

The key of Bb is similar to the key of F, the only difference is that Bb has got and Eb instead of E. Hence, if you practice in this order C, F, Bb, Eb….etc. it would be much easier than playing in the order of C, Db, D. If you look at the table, the key of C has got no flats or sharps, but Db has 5 flats! So, very different from C making it ‘harder’ to practice in this order, that is, from C to D.

Memorize this circle, it is used commonly in many song progressions.

Jazz artist practice in the order of the circle of fifths.

Try and figure out these scales on your own, then come back to the table above to test yourself.

It is very important to learn and practice these scales until they are second nature to you.

Also, it is very important to know on which scale degree a particular note falls, for example, in the key of D, the G note falls on the 4th scale degree.

Maybe you didn’t hear, let me say it louder this time, and I quote myself: “It is very important to learn and practice these scales until they are second nature to you.

Also, it is very important to know on which scale degree a particular note falls, for example, in the key of D, the G note falls on the 4th scale degree.”

Knowing this information will help you play a song in different keys. More about this later.


click here for lesson 5

PLAYING MAJOR SCALES

How to practice the 12 scales on the piano.

Well in order to play them fairly fast, you have to learn the standard fingering, and they are as follows:

Let

· 1=thumb

· 2=index finger

· 3=middle finger

· 4=ring finger

· 5=pinky

· 6=sorry, I’m just pulling your leg!

FOR THE RIGHT HAND;

SCALE OF :

PLAY USING THIS FINGERING

C,D,E,G,A,B

1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5

F

1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4

Bb

2-1-2-3-1-2-3-4

Eb

2-1-2-3-4-1-2-3

Ab

2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3

Db

2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2

B

2-3-4-1-2-3-1-2

AND FOR THE DARING, TRY THE LEFT HAND ALSO:

SCALE OF :

PLAY USING THIS FINGERING

C,D,E,G,A

5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1

Bb,Eb,Ab,Db

3-2-1-4-3-2-1-3

Gb

4-3-2-1-3-2-1-2

B

4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1

When practicing your scales on the piano, practice with a metronome or a drum beat. Many keyboards have built-in drum kits. Start with a slow tempo that you are comfortable with. In my case, I play, for example, the scales with a tempo of 80 beats per minute today (BPM), the following day I would play the scale with a tempo of 81 and so forth. Make sure that you are accurate and even in your playing.


How to Form Minor Scales on piano

Well, that’s a peace of cake!

Let’s use the major key of C as an example:


Go to the sixth degree, there you will find the A.

The Aminor scale is the C major scale but starting on the 6th, it uses the same notes, therefore the Am scale= A B C D E F G A (C major scale rearranged).

Now you may ask, where am going with this?

Well let’s do 2 examples,

Let’s say someone asked you to give them a Bb minor scale, what would you do?

Remember our table of scales, yes, there is nothing new! Just find in which key is Bb a 6th scale degree on the table. Bb falls on the 6th scale degree in the key of Bb, therefore you would use the notes of the Db major scale to find the Bb minor scale which is:



Now, the Bb minor scale would use these notes but starting on the sixth, i.e.:

Bb C Db Eb F Gb Ab.

Congratulations for reaching this point!

I have spent a lot of time explaining piano SCALES. Once you master this concept of scales, learning to play the piano becomes easy, the only ingredient needed to succeed, would be your time, passion and patience.

Make sure you don’t do to the next section without understanding scales and knowing your scale degrees. It wouldn’t hurt to go through this section once again for the whole concept of scales to sink in.

Note: you don’t have to play your scales like a Mozart before you move to the next section; the most important thing is that you understand this concept of scales. You will master playing scales fast on your piano as you continue to practice.

SUMMARY:

1. There are 12 major and minor scales

2. There are 8 notes in each scale

3. RULE for forming major scales is this: when moving from the 3rd degree going the 4th and when moving from the 7th going to the 8th, you only move 1 half step, for the rest of the notes in that scale; you only move 2 half steps/whole steps between them.

4. Learn/practice scales using the order of the circle of fourths.


click here for fourth lesson

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