Chord System- Learning Piano




C- C#- D- Eb- E- F- F#- G- Ab- A- Bb- C


KEY C#- ( one note scale of the 12 )
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Root degrees C# Eb F F# Ab Bb C C#

The 3rd and 5th scale degrees are critical notes to chord types.
Chord Extension is the same chord types with notes added to change voicing- like adding the 7th.
Extensions never, ever, change types.........

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KEY C# -
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

(C#FAb) (EbF#Bb) (FAbC) (F#BbC#) (AbCEb) (BbC#F) (CebF#) (C#FAb)


EX: C#/C#FAb

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PROGRESSIONS - 4 basic progressions you need to know in every key scale.

Here is C# -

Eb/F#BbC#F____Ab/F#BbCEb___C#/FAbC# - 251
C/BbCEbF#____F/ACEbF_____Bb/AbCC#F - 736
A/F#BbBEb____C#/FBbBEb____F#/F#AbBbC# - 514
F/EbAbB_____Bb/AbC#DF#____Eb/F#BbC#F - 362

Now all these chords have names, and they consist of the different types, and extensions, as well as substitutes in some chords............these particular set of chords designed within this basic pattern of progressions are where we are going!

SUBSTITUTES - what makes a chord a substitute; is placement! The chord in and of itself is nothing more than one of the 4 types of chords. But as you move into putting chords and making progressions together, it’s hard to avoid subs.....subs enhance your playing....... all of this done in repetition will take you where you want to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are really two groups of piano players:

Those that play from a jam and do level of feeling and those that know all the rules and how they fit together.

Both musicians can arrive at the same point but they get there from different routes. That brings me to chord systems. Some players get these sounds naturally. Others need some guidance in order to get there.
There is no judgement here as to which is better. They are just different means to get to the same ends.

I wish I had a real intelligent answer as to what a chord system actually is but I don’t. So I will explain it this way… Let’s say you want to play chords in the left hand and solo in the right… there is a system of chords that facilitate this goal. Your left hand chords sound too muddy? Go to a system to show you how low certain formulas go.

You see a lot of complex chords but you don’t have enough fingers to play all the intervals. Systems offer a way to use your four or five fingers to play all the tensions… #11 b13 add 6 #9 b9 etc

You want to play bigger chords. How do you find which notes to add which ones to leave out?

Two hand voicing formulas are there for you.

You want to have real tight clusters. Again there are systems that deal with this.

In other words, whatever sound you want to have, there is a voicing system out there to help you achieve the sound you are looking for.

rootless left hand voicings
quartal voicings
lock hands voicings
open chord
These are all jazz systems that have been played in most contemporary styles.
If you want to add some polish to your chords or you want a more uniform sound, pick up a jazz book that deals with chord formulas and study them. The difference is not in how they look but how they are played. They all have the same keys and could all be played exactly the same way but if you did that you would not be getting the best out of all the instruments.

A piano uses hammers that strike strings which vibrate and resonate within the cabinet of the piano. Therefore you have to strike the keys firmly in order to produce good tone. Also because the strings vibrate, they create harmonic overtones that cannot be duplicated by an electronic instrument. If you are going to play piano, you have to have good technique because there are no string sounds or effects to cover up your mistakes.

Keyboards imitate other instruments like horns, pianos, organs, and strings. They are used to play everything from worship music to contemporary gospel. Musicians often layer bass guitar in their left hand while combining keys and horns or strings. Some keyboards have piano patches that sound almost as good as the real thing but overall if someone wants a keyboard player they want someone who can get the best out of a keyboard such as synthy sounds and layered sounds to emulate a band or a horn section.

This instrument has foot pedals so it is common to play the bass lines with your feet and chords with your left and right hands and sometimes solo with your right hand. They also have over a million possible sounds by combining the draw bars in different ways. All the sounds still sound like an organ but the organ sounds are different… flute like, string like, etc.
Although they all have the same keys, your approach is very different. They have different roles.
So, learn all you can with different chord voicings and systems.

Learn to Play those foot-stomping Praise Songs on the organ!

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Esbjörn Svensson Trio

My friend, Snevit, first introduced me to a really fantastic jazz trio from Sweden and recommended their song Seven Days Of Falling.

Swedish jazz piano trio consisting of Esbjörn Svensson (piano), Dan Berglund (double bass) and Magnus Öström (drums), inspired me greatly in my love for Jazz. You can read more about them here:

Critics and audiences world-wide agree:
E.S.T. was definitely one of the most innovative jazz bands ever. Tragically, Swedish jazz musician Esbjörn Svensson, 44 years old, died in a diving accident.
He will be missed, but his music will always be remembered.

In their music, you hear the unmistakable Nordic roots (elegiac, melancholy and folkloric) underlying a jazz syncopation twisted around a rock aesthetic, made for a unique and powerful sound.

The most important chord progression in jazz is the ii-V, which may or may not resolve to I. Most tunes will have ii-V progressions in several different keys sprinkled throughout. For example, consider the chord progression:

| Cmaj7 | Dm7 G7 | Em7 | A7 | Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7 |.

There are three ii-V progressions here. Bar two forms a ii-V in the key of C, although there is no actual C (I) chord in bar three. Bars three through five form a ii-V-I in the key of D minor, and bars five through seven form a ii-V-I in C again. There are many devices that can be used when playing over ii-V progressions. Some of these are described below.

* Major Keys
* Minor Keys

Major Keys
In a major key, the ii-V-I progression consists of a minor seventh chord, a dominant seventh chord, and a major seventh chord. The first scale choices you learned for these chords are dorian, mixolydian, and major. In the key of C, the chords are Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7, and the associated scales would thus be D dorian, G mixolydian, and C major. As you may have noticed, these are all modes of the same C major scale. Thus when you see a ii-V progression in a major key, you can play the major scale of the I chord for the whole progression. This makes it somewhat easier to construct lines that lead from one chord to the next, or transcend the individual chords. This type of progression, where the scales associated with each of the chords are all modes of each other, is called a diatonic progression. While diatonic progressions are easy to play over, they can quickly become boring, since you are playing the same seven notes for an extended period of time. You can add a little variety by using one of the other scales associated with each chord, such as D minor, G dominant bebop, C lydian.

The most common way to add interest to a ii-V progression is to alter the dominant (V) chord. Often the alteration will already be specified for you, but even when it is not, you generally have the freedom to add alterations to dominant chords. It helps if the soloist and the accompanists are playing the same alterations, but this is not always practical when improvising unless your accompanist has incredible ears and can hear the alterations you are making, and in any case it is not actually all that important.

In the key of C, you might replace the G7 chord with a G7#11, a G7alt, a G7b9b5, or a G7+ chord, all of which still fulfill the dominant function in C but imply different scales. For instance, if you choose G7#11, the progression then becomes D dorian, G lydian dominant, C major.

Another possible alteration to the dominant is called the tritone substitution. This means replacing the dominant chord with a dominant seventh chord a tritone away. In the key of C, this would mean replacing the G7 with a Db7. This may seem a strange thing to do, but there are some very good reasons why it works. The third and seventh of a chord are the two most important notes in defining the sound and function of the chord. If you look at a Db7 chord, you will see it contains Db, F, Ab, and B, which are respectively the b5, 7, b9, and 3 of a G7 chord. The third and seventh of the G7 chord (B and F) become the seventh and third of the Db7 chord. Thus, Db7 is very similar to a G7b9b5 chord in sound and function. Furthermore, the melodic resolution of Db to C in the bass is very strong, functioning almost as a passing tone.

Once you have made the chord substitution, you can then play any scale associated with the Db7 chord, for instance yielding a progression of D dorian, Db mixolydian, C major. Using a scale other than mixolydian will yield some surprising things. Try a Db lydian dominant scale, which implies a Db7#11 chord for the substitute dominant. Does this look or sound familiar? It should, because the Db lydian dominant and G altered scales are both modes of the same Ab melodic minor scale. When you play lines based on Db lydian dominant, you are playing lines that are also compatible with G altered. Conversely, Db altered and G lydian dominant are both modes of the same D melodic minor scale, and can be used interchangeably. Furthermore, the Db and G HW diminished scales are identical, as are the respective whole tone scales. These are other reasons the tritone substitution works so well.
Minor Keys
ii-V progressions in a minor key generally do not suffer the problem of sounding too diatonic. Since the harmonic minor is normally used to generate chord progressions in a minor key, a ii-V progression in A minor might consist of | Bm7b5 E7 | Am-maj7 |. If we try to build a ninth chord from the E7, we see the that the F natural in the key of A harmonic minor generates an E7b9 chord. Without any special alterations, this progression could imply B locrian, E HW diminished, and A melodic minor. These scales are sufficiently rich that further alterations are not necessary.

However, most of the same techniques from major keys can be used in a minor key as well. We can use the melodic or harmonic minor scales from the i chord, or the major bebop scale from its relative major, over the entire progression. We can use a different variation of the E7 chord such as E7alt or E7+, or even E7sus; we can make a tritone substitution to yield Bb7; and so on. We can also substitute for the ii chords, for example using the locrian #2 scale, or replacing the Bm7b5 with an ordinary Bm7 chord, where the F# comes from the key of A melodic rather than A harmonic minor. If we were to make a ninth chord, the C natural in the key of A melodic minor generates a Bm7b9 chord, which implies a B phrygian scale. We can even replace the ii Bm chord with a II B7 chord, especially a B7alt chord, which contains the D natural from the Bm chord. We can also alter the i chord, replacing it with a simple Am7 chord, and using any of the various possible scales associated with that chord such as A minor, A phrygian, A minor pentatonic, and so on.
The term "blues" is somewhat overloaded, describing a general style of music and a more specific category of chord progressions, as well as its colloquial meaning of a particular mood, as in the phrase "I've got the blues". The blues as a style has a rich history that is beyond the scope of this primer. The basic twelve bar blues form was mentioned earlier. In its original form, still played often in rock and R&B music, only three chords are used: the I chord, the IV chord, and the V chord. The basic blues progression is:

|| I | I | I | I | which, || F | F | F | F |
| IV | IV | I | I | in the key of F, | Bb | Bb | F | F |
| V | IV | I | I || yields: | C | Bb | F | F ||.

The chords are usually all played as dominant seventh chords, although they are not actually functioning as dominant chords in that they do not resolve to a tonic. The F blues scale can be played over this entire progression. While the blues progression can be played in any key, the most popular keys among jazz musicians seem to be F, Bb, and Eb, whereas rock musicians often prefer E, A, D, or G. This has a lot to do with the way instruments are tuned. Popular jazz instruments such as the trumpet and the various members of the saxophone family are usually tuned in Bb or Eb, meaning that the notated ``C'' played on these instruments actually sounds like a Bb or Eb respectively. Music written for these instruments is therefore transposed. The fingerings for the instruments favors playing in the key of C, which is actually Bb or Eb, depending on the instrument. Guitars tend to dominate rock music, and guitars are tuned to favor the keys containing sharps.

Playing the blues scale over the basic three chord blues progression in a jazz setting gets old very quickly. Starting around the swing era, and most notably in the bebop era, musicians began to make additions to this simple formula. One common adaptation of the blues progression, which is still considered the standard for jazz jam sessions, is:

|| F7 | Bb7 | F7 | F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | F7 | D7alt |
| Gm7 | C7 | F7 | C7 |.

This progression offers a wider range of scale possibilities than does the basic three chord blues. For example, bars 8 and 9 form a V-i in G minor, and bars 9-11 form a ii-V-I in F.

The idea of adding ii-V's to the blues progression yields more variations. For example, consider:

|| F7 | Bb7 | F7 | Cm7 F7 |
| Bb7 | Bdim | F7 | Am7b5 D7alt |
| Gm7 | C7alt | F7 D7alt | Gm7 C7alt |.

This particular progression is especially common in bebop and later styles. Note the substitution of a Bb ii-V-I in bars 4-5, a G minor ii-V-i in bars 8-9, and a G minor V-i in bars 11-12. Also note the diminished chord in bar 6. This diminished chord is serving as a substitute for the dominant seventh, since both Bdim and Bb7b9 share the same Bb HW (B WH) diminished scale. This same substitution can be made for the second half of bar 2.

Other variations can be made using tritone substitutions. For example, Ab7 can be played instead of D7alt in the second half of bar 8. You can also change the qualities of the chords, for instance replacing that Ab7 with an Abm7. Another common substitution is A7alt for the F7 in bar 11. This substitution works because the chords share several notes, including the tonic, F, and because the A7alt forms part of a G minor II-V-i progression with the D7alt and Gm7 that follow.

Charlie Parker carried these types of substitutions to an extreme in "Blues For Alice". The chord progression in that tune is:

|| Fmaj7 | Em7b5 A7b9 | Dm7 G7 | Cm7 F7 |
| Bb7 | Bbm7 Eb7 | Am7 D7 | Abm7 Db7 |
| Gm7 | C7 | Fmaj7 D7alt | Gm7 C7 |.

This uses most of the techniques described above. You may wish to play with this progression for a while.
Rhythm Changes
The George Gershwin song "I Got Rhythm" is the source for one of the most popular chord progressions of the bebop era, second only to the blues progression. This form is often called simply rhythm changes. As with the blues progression, there are many possible variations on rhythm changes. Most tunes based on rhythm changes are played in the key of Bb, and are played at very fast tempos, often well over 200 beats per minute. These songs have a 32 bar AABA form based on the chord progression:

A || Bbmaj7 G7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbmaj7 G7 | Cm7 F7 |
| Fm7 Bb7 | Ebmaj7 Ab7 | Dm7 G7 | Cm7 F7 ||

A || Bbmaj7 G7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbmaj7 G7 | Cm7 F7 |
| Fm7 Bb7 | Ebmaj7 Ab7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbmaj7 ||

B || Am7 | D7 | Dm7 | G7 |
| Gm7 | C7 | Cm7 | F7 ||

A || Bbmaj7 G7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbmaj7 G7 | Cm7 F7 |
| Fm7 Bb7 | Ebmaj7 Ab7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbmaj7 ||

This progression contains many ii-V progressions. Any of the standard alterations described under ii-V progressions above can be used when playing rhythm changes. Many tunes contain slight alterations to this basic progression, especially in the last four measures of the A sections. Some of the common alterations are to replace the second chord G7 with a diminished chord Bdim, or to replace the fifth chord Bbmaj7 with Dm7. The former substitution has already been described under the diminished scale. The latter replaces a I chord with a iii chord, which has three of four notes in common, and the respective scales differ by only one note. Furthermore, the Dm7 and following G7 form a ii-V in C minor, so this is an especially strong substitution harmonically.

The important characteristics of rhythm changes are the repeated I-VI-ii-V (or substitutes) in the first four bars of the A sections, and the basic tonality movements by fifths in the bridge, leading back to the original tonic in the last A section. If you intend to become an improvising musician, you should become fluent in the basic rhythm changes, particularly in the key of Bb, and become familiar with the particular variations associated with specific tunes. This is also a good opportunity to try out what you have learned about ii-V's, and to work on you up tempo playing.

Dodge the Dodo(Live)(Part 1/2)

When God Created The Coffee break (live)

Behind The Yashmak (live)

There's really nothing more to add... Svensson's music will be remembered! Have another listen and you decide.

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Understanding Jazz Chords

Learn Big, Rich Jazz Piano Chords

Understanding Jazz Chords

Jazz piano chords can sometimes be confusing at first glance. In this article, I am going to explain how jazz players usually interpret chords and pick tensions to create lush chords. Bear in mind, every musician has their own "tricks" that they use to form their chords. However, there are some basic harmonic concepts that you need to understand and I'll cover some of them in this article.

If you are looking for an instructional course on creating full chords at the piano, I'd suggest the Piano Chords bundle. This three-DVD set covers both basic seventh chords along with advanced quartal voicings, tensions, alterations, upper-structure triads, rootless voicings and more.

Learn more about Jazz Piano Chords

Let's begin with a basic seventh chord for D-7. Example A is what a typical voicing of a D-7 chord might look like.

Example A

O.K., that's pretty simple, right? Now take a look at example B. Does this still look like a D-7 to you?

Example B

Labeling Chords

You might look at this chord and think F Maj7 or D-9. We can rule out F Maj7 because the root is a D. However, why didn't I label this chord D-9?

I did not label the chord as D-9 because it is common for jazz players to automatically add tensions to the chords that they are playing. Jazz players know which available tensions each chord can utilize. Personally, I'd rather see a chord written as D-7 than D-9 or D-9 (add 11). I think that many (not all) pianists would agree with me because as jazz players, we are accustomed to working from a "shell".

Basically, when I see D-7, I already know that the 9th and 11th are probably available to me. When looking at a lead sheet, especially in a low-light gig situation, I want the lead sheet to be as un-cluttered as possible.

The "Right" Tensions

You might be wondering, which tensions are the "right" tensions for a particular chord? Well, let's go through the three basic chords: Major, minor and Dominant 7th chords.

Major 7th available tensions are: 9, #11 or 6 (usually replaces the 7th)
Minor 7th available tensions: 9 and 11. 6 would replace the 7th.
Dominant 7th available tensions: b9, 9, #9, #11, b13 and 13.

Chord Type Available Tensions
Major: 9, # 11 or 6 (usually replaces the 7th)
Minor: 9 and 11. 6 would replace the 7th
Dominant: b9, 9, # 9, #11, b13 and 13

So, looking back at the D-7 chord in example B, you'll notice that I am adding the 9th to the chord. This is just one of many different voicings that I cover in the Piano Chords bundle.

Dominant 7th Tensions

I want to draw your attention to the Dominant 7th available tensions. Once again, they are b9, 9, #9, #11, b13 and 13. Let's go through the notes for a C7 chord.

C7 chord tones are: C-E-G-Bb

Available tensions are: Db-D-D#-F#-Ab-A

You'll notice that the only two notes left that are not represented are F and B. F would be a sus4 and B would change the C7 to a C Maj7 chord.

I like to bring this up because remember, when you improvise, you can use any chord tones or available tensions in your solo. So, on a Dominant 7th chord, there are really only two notes that you would try to avoid. This also means that when you play a Dominant 7th chord, you can add almost any note as a tension. Well, let me put it this way, you have a 10 out of 12 chance of hitting the "right" note!

The Million Dollar Question, "Why 13 and not 6?"

I have been asked this question for years! It is a difficult question to answer because it is like asking why does 2+2=4? However, I do have my explanation. Let's take the C7 chord as an example again.

The chord tones (notes that are found in the chord and not tensions) are C-E-G-Bb for a C7 chord. The C is the root, E is the third, G is the fifth and Bb is the flatted 7th.

It is perfectly reasonable to think of D, F# and A as two, sharp four and six. However, we would call D the ninth, F# sharp eleven and A the thirteenth. You might be asking, "Why?"
Since chords are predominantly formed by "stacking" thirds, we would consider the D-F# and A as being "upper structures" of the chord.

Learn more about Jazz Piano Chords

For more information:

Willie Myette is a great teacher and I believe you will learn lots from him!

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Play Apologize by One Republic on Piano

I wasn't familiar with this song "Apologize" by One Republic until a piano student requested it. I did a Google search and I came up with this awesome video tutorial. What I especially like about the video is that the piano patterns are mapped out for you to play the song in both hands. It's a very nice piece and easy to play. Here's the vid, enjoy!

I can't get over how many young people are playing this song! His another video where he gives the fingering pattern:

This gentleman plays the same song on piano rather than keyboard, with much feeling expressed as an artist!

For those who read notes, take a peek inside for an easy arrangement of this song "Apologize"

A very nice piece and easy to play the progressions, whether you play by ear or need the notes!

For those who play by ear:

Am Fmaj13 C Em7/B Am Fmaj13 C Em7/B

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Norah Jones- The Nearness of You

Jones first album, Come Away With Me, became a multiple Grammy winner and multi-platinum seller, and it opened the door for her to perform around the world with her band. How do you like the sound of my old upright?lol
I'm playing one of my favorite songs, Nearness of You.

O.k. Here's the chord chart. Give it a try!
Cmaj7 Cmaj9 Gm7 C9 Fmaj7 Fdim

Its not the pale moon that excites me That thrills and delights me,

Em7 A7(b9) Dm7 G13(b9) Em7 A7(b9) Dm7 F/G G13(b9)
oh no Its just the nearness of you

Cmaj7 Cmaj9 Gm7 C9 Fmaj7 Fdim
It isnt your sweet conversation That brings this sensation,

Em7 A7(b9) Dm7 G13(b9) B/C C C
oh no Its just the nearness of you

Fm G+7(#9) Cmaj9 C9

When youre in my arms and I feel you so close to me

Fmaj7 Em7 A7(b9) Dm7 C/E F F#dim F/G G13(b9)
All my wildest dreams come true

Cmaj7 Dm7 D#m7 Em7 Gm7 C9

I need no soft lights to enchant me

Fmaj7 Fdim Em7 A7 Dm7

If youll only grant me the right

G7 Em7 A7(b9)
To hold you ever so tight

Dm7 C/E F F#dim F/G G13(b9) B/C C B/C C

And to feel in the night the nearness of you


Singer, composer and pianist Norah Jones was born on March 30, 1979, in New York City. But her musical life began in Grapevine, Tex. It was during her time there that she began singing in church choirs and taking piano lessons, even trying out the alto saxophone. Her earliest influences came from her mother's extensive LP collection and a Dallas oldies station. While listening to her mom's records, Jones fell in love with jazz by way of the Billie Holiday albums she'd play over and over again.

When she was 15, Jones moved to Dallas with her mother. She became a student at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Inspired by an Etta James recording of "I'll Be Seeing You," she performed her version at age 16 in a local coffeehouse during open-mic night. It was her first solo gig. While in high school, she played with a jazz-rock band and earned her first awards: the 1996 Downbeat Student Music Awards for "Best Jazz Vocalist" and "Best Original Composition." She won the Downbeat SMA for "Best Jazz Vocalist" again in 1997, and she later majored in jazz piano at the University of North Texas.

For more background reading, check out:

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How To Play By Ear- Mary's Lamb- Jazz Style

Mary Had A Little Lamb is a very easy song to play because you only need to know a few notes. If you read music, here are the right hand melody notes:

As I move deeper into discovering the authorship of this
English Folklore, I discovered Lowell Mason set the nursery rhyme to a melody in the 1830s, adding repetition in the verses.

In order to remember any tune, simple or complex, over a long period of time, you can do two things. Listen to it often, so that it becomes as familiar as Mary Had A Little Lamb. If you find a written version of a tune you would like to learn, make a tape of yourself playing it from the music. If you listen to it often enough, you'll know what it's supposed to sound like, and will be able to tell if you're hitting the right notes when you try to play it. Play the tune often enough, and your fingers will start falling into place automatically.
Mary had a little lamb
3 2 1 2 3 3 3
little lamb, little lamb
2 2 2 3 5 5
Mary had a little lamb
3 2 1 2 3 3 3
its fleece was white as snow
3 2 2 3 2 1
Awhile back, I wrote an article on Harmonizing The Melody. This particular song is a good example to practice grabbing those extra notes in your right hand to this very familiar melody line.

There are many different ways to alter and change the sounds of Mary Had A Little Lamb. One excellent example of incorporating the Lydian Scale
and adding G Diminished Arpeggio Chords

rworthy says: "If You Know Your Scales and Arpeggios, You Can Turn a Child's Nursery Rhyme into a Sonata." Listen to his beautiful style and enjoy!

How To Harmonize The Melody

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Hearing Piano Chords

After I worked through a music theory book, I started playing chords and listening to their sound. Here's what I discovered. There are four types of piano chord chords:

1. Major
2. Minor
3. Diminished
4. Augmented

Major and minor chords are the two most important chords
It is possible to play many popular tunes using only major and minor chords. Diminished and augmented chords are merely "salt" and "pepper" of music. They are used for passing from one major or minor chord to another. They are also known as the passing chords.

Formula Of Constructing A Chord Using Semitones:
A semitone (also called the half step) is the smallest possible distance on a piano/keyboard.

Major chord formula: 4-3 semitones
Major chord can also be called the pleasant or happy chord.

Minor chord formula: 3-4 semitones
This formula is the opposite of major chord. Using the formula, we can construct/form any minor chord easily. The minor chord can be called the moody chord or the sad chord.

Diminished chord formula: 3-3 semitones
As mentioned, this chord is used sparingly. The main reason is because this chord sound unstable. It is transitional and needs to be resolved to major/minor chord after used. The diminished chord can be
called the suspense chord.

I recommend you try out these chords and hear for yourself the different flavors associated with each types of chord. After some testing you will soon be able to identify each type of chord you come across.

Here's what Jermaine Griggs, the founder of HearandPlay says: "is it possible to build your ear skills and start recognizing chords and progressions in a matter of a couple of months??? --- sure thing. With 2 solid hours a day like (as you mentioned), that goal is very attainable. But it all depends on the person. I know some guys around here that just got one of the videos and had a "knack" for playing. They picked up the material fast... and was able to hear the same chords and progressions in other songs. It amazes me.

For others, it may not click right away. I guess you don't know until you actually take action. Sometimes, trying to analyze this and that holds us back from taking action and getting started."

One of the best audio resources that I listen to for learning how to form various types of chords is here:

I learned about 7 important piano chords from this video:

Chords make up progressions. In order to effectively play chord progressions, one must be able to instantaneously play the chords of progression without having to stop, think about what tones to play, while eventually proceeding on to finish the progression. This is definitely the case with many musicians as they feel that they must memorize every single chord in the book!
It's good to memorize chords; however, understanding how chords are formed will eventually allow you to play any chord you want without even thinking about it. For example, if you knew that a major chord consisted of a minor third on top of a major third, then you'd be able to apply this principle to any keynote.

For example, in C major, if I just combine a major and minor third interval, a C major chord is created. Contrary to that, if I combine a minor and major third interval, a C minor chord is created.

Major + Minor Third = Major Triad (chord)

Minor + Major Third = Minor Triad (chord)

Western harmony is built on fourths and fifths. If you study the overtone series you'll see how these most harmonious of intervals are the foundation of chords and chord theory. Finding fourths on the keyboard is not too difficult. Just skip four keys (The fourth -- isn't is ironic -- is the fifth key away from the root. )

You'll see fourths from the root of the chord down to the fifth of the chord. and you'll also see them between the 3rd and 6th of a chord, such as in 13th chords or 6/9 chords. Also you'll see fourths between the 7th and 3rd of both Major and Minor seventh chords.

There are only 12 different major chords:

3 of the major chords were made of all white keys: C F G.

3 of the major chords were made of white keys on the outside, with a black key in
the middle: D E A.
3 of the major chords were like an Oreo cookie? Black on the outside, white on the inside: Db Eb Ab.

That only leaves 3 major chords, one of which is all black, and one of which is white, black, black, and the other the reverse -- black, white, white. Gb (all black) B (white, black, black) Bb (black, white, white).

And that's it.

Here they are in that order:

Major chords composed of all white keys:

C major chord: C, E, G

F major chord: F, A, C

G major chord: G, B, D

Major chords composed of white keys on the outside with a black key in the center:

D major chord: D, F#, A

E major chord: E, G#, B

A major chord: A, C#, E

Major chords composed of black keys on the outside with a white key in the center: Db major chord:

Db, F, Ab

Eb major chord: Eb, G, Bb

Ab major chord: Ab, C, Eb

Major chords left over:

Gb major chord (all black keys): Gb, Bb, Db

Bb major chord: Bb,

D, F B major chord: B, D#, F#

All these chords shown above are in "root position"; that is, the root, or name of the
chord, is on the bottom of the chord. In a subsequent article we will take up the other
positions in which we can play chords: inversions.

So why do I need to learn the major chords?

The answer is simple: all other chords are formed by altering one or more notes of a major chord. So once you know major chords, it's easy to find minor, diminished, augmented, and extended chords.

So to find a minor chord, all we need to do is lower the 3rd of each chord 1/2 step. So to make the C major chord into a C minor chord, we just need to lower E (the 3rd of the chord) 1/2 step to Eb.

So C minor chord is C, Eb, G

Here are the rest of the minor chords:

F minor chord: F, Ab, C

G minor chord: G, Bb, D

D minor chord: D, F, A

E minor chord: E, G, B

A minor chord: A, C, E

Db minor chord: Db, Fb, Ab (Fb is the same as E)

Eb minor chord: Eb, Gb, Bb

Ab minor chord: Ab, Cb, Eb (Cb is the same as B)

Gb minor chord: Gb, Bbb, Db (Bbb is the same as A)

B minor chord: B, D, F#

Bb minor chord: Bb, Db, F

Learn them well, as you will be playing them all of your life in countless songs.

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Bamboo and A Boy in Beijing

In celebration of this years Summer Olympics, I wanted to embrace three special aspects of China:
1. The Panda
The giant panda is considered to be China's national
treasure and has become a symbol of conservation.
more about these special animals that look like a

Aren't these the cutest photos that you've ever seen?
2. Bamboo from the solo piano album Montana- A Love
Story by George Winston. Check his schedule on MySpace
and see if he'll be playing in your area:
I adore a
simple,peaceful melody like Bamboo. Want to learn the
song? Resources listed for you here below. Take a look
at this great video of Montana along with George
Winston music for your listening pleasure!

Look inside this title
George Winston Piano Solos - sheet music at
George Winston Piano Solos By George Winston. Songbook for solo piano. Exact transcriptions from the recordings, authorized by George Winston. 104 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (HL.306822)
See more info...

3. Guo Yue's Story
I love books because they take you anywhere in the
world! Watch and listen to "Little Leap Forward"
author Guo Yue share his story of growing up during
China's cultural revolution.

An interesting tidbit about this video: Guo Yue provides the beautiful flute music that accompanies his spoken account.
Little Leap Forward is Barefoot Books' very first Young Adult novel! It is beautiful story of friendship found and lost. Set in the time just before and during the Cultural Revolution, the Revolution does not dominate the story, making this book a great choice for young readers. The illustrations are beautiful and the descriptions of life in the hutongs vividly convey family life in the unique Beijing neighborhoods.
The afterward by Guo Yue provides excellent historical context for teachers who want to use this book as part of a unit on modern China or the Cultural Revolution. A refreshing addition to young adult literature of the Cultural Revolution! I hope you enjoy both the video and the book!

20% Off Standard Banner

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Piano -U2 -With or Without You

I've always loved this song and my students do, too. The guys like to play this song because of its driving bass and just a few chords...
D D/A Bm7 G/D

U2, the only band to have had an official iPod model made in its honor, wow!

On November 22,2004 U2 performed at Empire Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. and yes, MTV was filming the performance. U2 was one of my favorite bands of the 70's. When you visit this site, be sure and check out the E cards with their songs:

You'll find music resources here:
Digital Download:

14 of their finest from this decade: All I Want Is You + Angel of Harlem + Bad + Desire + I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For + I Will Follow + New Year's Day + Pride (In the Name of Love) + Sunday Bloody Sunday + Sweetest Thing + Unforgettable Fire + When Love Comes to Town + Where the Streets Have No Name + With or Without You. Includes photos of the band. (Hal Leonard Corporation)
Look inside this title
U2 - The Best of 1980-1990 - sheet music at
U2 - The Best of 1980-1990 By U2. Songbook for voice, piano and guitar (chords only). 104 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (HL.306650)
See more info...
And if you have the time, you'll find all the sites listed here for U2... have fun!,,504137,00.html

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