B Chapter 1: Introduction and Basics Learning about Chords, Scales, and Intervals.

Comments

Transcription

B Chapter 1: Introduction and Basics Learning about Chords, Scales, and Intervals.
Chapter 1: Introduction and
Basics
Learning about Chords, Scales, and Intervals.
B
efore we get into the system, you’ll need to know some basics of music theory. If you’ve
already studied music, you can glance over this chapter and then move right on to
chapter 2. If you’ve never studied music before, you might need to spend a little more
time on this chapter.
Chords
Chords are a group of notes played at the same
time that sound nice together.
rd
3
7th
They contain a root note and related notes above
that root note.
Root
On a piano a chord is laid out from left to right, from the root on the left to the related notes to
the right. Note: as you move to the left on a piano the pitch of the notes get deeper or lower. As you move to the
right the pitch of the notes get higher. Often you will hear someone say, “move down the keyboard”. This means to
the left. And if they say, “move up the keyboard”, they mean to the right.
7
R
3
Root Note
The root of the chord is the most
important pitch of the chord. It is the
bottom note and will be played in the left
hand (for now).
Related notes
These notes create different chord flavors depending
on their distance from the root and from each other.
They will be played with the right hand (for now).
1
Scales
Chords come from scales, a fascinating musical subject beyond the scope of this well organized
book. All you need to know is that different distances from the root create different flavors.
These distances are numbered 1-7 and go in either direction. That is, if you move one note to the
left of the root, it’s the 7th. If you move one note to the right it’s the 2nd.
Here’s the note C, which is the root of all C chords (in two places or octaves on the keyboard).
R
R
The note just to left of the Root is the 7th.
7th
2nd
The note just to the right of the Root is the 2nd.
If you continue on in either direction, you will get all the other notes of the scale (2-7) other than
the root. The root is both the 1st and the 8th scale degrees. (The eighth scale degree is basically a
higher pitched version of the 1st scale degree. It is called the octave).
Here are the notes of the C Major scale (the only major key that uses only white keys). Notice the
repetition of the scale degrees. This is important because we’ll be building the notes in the right
hand from the higher root and you’ll be counting both down (to the left on the keyboard) and up
(to the right on the keyboard) from the higher root.
C Major Scale
R
2 3 4 5 6 7
R
2 3 4 5 6 7
.
2
R
2 3 4 5 6 7
The notes of a C Major Chord will come from a C Major Scale. But you don’t need to know all
eight scale degrees in all seven octaves of the keyboard. We’ll be working with just two roots for
now, an octave apart. And then we’ll be moving a scale degree to the left and three scale degrees
to the right from the higher root. But you won’t have to do lots of complicated math. I’m going
to make it easy for you by teaching you some wonderful tricks.
C Major Scale
R
.
2 3 4 5 6 7
R
2 3 4 5 6 7
R
2 3 4 5 6 7
C Major 7th Chord
7
R
Just to the left of the higher root
(Well, it’s the 7th scale degree of a
major scale, but you don’t need to
know that!)
3
Just to the right of the higher
root. (Well, it’s the 3rd scale
degree of a major scale, but you
don’t need to know that!)
3
Visually mapping out the keyboard
Appalac
Rockies
Appalac
Rockies
Appalac
Rockies
Take a look at the piano above. You’ll notice there are groups of two black keys, and groups of
three black keys. In this book we’ll refer to the group of two black keys as the Appalachian
Mountains (smaller group of black keys) and the group of the three as the Rocky Mountains
(larger group of black keys). They will keep you from getting lost.
Learning the Note Names and Placement
The following diagram shows the 7 white keys and their names. I’ve also included memory tricks
to help you associate them to the keyboard.
Imagine that as you leave the
Appalachians to the right,
Elephants must be given the
right of way.
Imagine the Rocky Mountains
have a “Fjord” to the left of
them, called the “Left Rockies
Fjord”
C D E
Imagine the Appalachians
mountains have a “Sea” to
the left of them, called the
“Left Appalachian Sea”.
F G A
Imagine that deep
in a dungeon in the
middle of
Appalachians, there
are Appalachian
dancers dancing.
4
Imagine that as you leave the
Rockies to the right, Buffalo
must be given the right of
way.
B
Imagine that in the Rocky
Mountains, you can only find
two things, Guns and Ammo.
Learning the Sharp and Flat Note Names
The black keys are named two different ways, depending on how chords are spelled. They can
either take their name from the white key just below (to the left of them) or from the white key
just above (to the right).
If a black key takes its name from the white key just to the left of it, it is called the same name, but
“sharp” is added to the name: “C sharp, D sharp, etc.” The sharp symbol is the number sign:
“#”.
C#
D#
C D E
F#
G#
A#
F G A
B
If a black key takes its name from the white key just to the right of it, it is called the same name,
but “flat” is added to the name. “D flat, E flat”, etc. The flat symbol is like a cursive lowercase
“b”.
Db
Eb
C D E
Gb
Ab
F G A
Bb
B
Suppose I ask you to point out the note an octave above F#:
R
You’ll see that it’s on the left-most of the three black keys of the “Rocky Mountains”. So Find
the next “Rocky Mountains” to the right (that’s the “above” part), then find the left-most black of
the three black keys. That would be the octave of F#. Being able to find the octave of a note is
5
very important to the system! If you need to practice, find a note from either of the two charts
above, then practice find it in different octaves.
The distance between two pitches in music is called an interval. To understand “Nate’s Three
Finger Piano Method”, you will need to know 3 intervals.
Intervals you’ll need to know for the system
1. Half-steps are the smallest interval.
From one key to the next key on the
keyboard, regardless of color, is a half-step.
2. Whole-steps skip a key. Most of the time, they will move from a black key to a
black key, or a white key to a white key. When moving away from the mountain
ranges, they will start on a black key and end on a white key.
3. Fourths are the interval at the beginning of “Here comes the bride”. They are
important to “Nate’s Three Finger Piano Method”. The next two pages will
detail how to find fourths.
6
Fourths
Fourths between white keys have two white keys in between.
The exception is between B and F. This interval is not a 4th.
C# to F# or
Db to Gb
G# to C# or
Ab to Db
Skip one
black key
Skip one
black key
D# to G# or
Eb to Ab
Skip one
black key
Skip two
white keys
Skip two
white keys
Skip two
white keys
C to F
G to C
D to G
Exceptions
Not a
Fourth
Not a
Fourth
F to B
F to B
7
Fourths between black keys have one black key in between. The
exception is between Gb and Bb. This interval is not a 4th.
D# to G# or
Eb to Ab
A# to D# or
Bb to Eb
Skip one
black key
Skip one
black key
Skip two
white keys
Skip two
white keys
Skip two
white keys
D to G
A to D
E to A
F# to A# or
Gb to Bb
F# to A# or
Gb to Bb
Not a
Fourth
Not a
Fourth
8
Understanding Voicings
A voicing is a different arrangement of the notes in a chord.
One “Voicing” of C Major 7th
R
7
3
Another “Voicing” of C Major 7th
R
3
7
When you read a chord, there are many different creative options as far as voicing that chord.
Often the difference between a great sounding piano player and amateur sounding piano player is
his/her ability to think of creative voicings for a tune. This book will teach you the two most
fundamental voicings in four different qualities and how to move between them smoothly – the most
fundamental 96 chords.
9
The Four Qualities of Seventh Chords
rd
and high 7th scale degree.
rd
and low 7th scale degree.
Major Seventh Chords, use the Major scale and the high 3
R
3
7
Minor Seventh Chords, use the Minor scale and the low 3
3
7
R
Dominant Seventh Chords,
use what’s called the Mixolydian scale and the low 3rd and high 7th
scale degree.
7
R
3
Diminished Seventh Chords,
are unusual in that they are build entirely from minor 3rds, you’ll
notice that every note has two notes between it and the next note.
3
R
5
6
In Fake Books and in popular piano arrangements, you will see these qualities tagged onto note
names such as “C”. For example, you might see Cm7, CM7, C7 or Cdim7 (sometimes written
Co).
While there are many ways to play these chords, there are certain necessary elements to convey
the quality of the chord. You need the Root, the 3rd and the 7th. While these can technically be
10
played in any octave and any arrangement (voicing), there are common choices that are most
often used because they usually sound good. These common choices are the focus of “How to
Speed Read Piano Chord Symbols”. It’s not enough to simply play a C Major 7th. You want to
be able to play it using a voicing that sounds nice.
Spelling Chords
the use of a sharp (#) , which raise the pitch a half-step or a flat (b), which
lowers the pitch a half-step depends on how the chord is spelled. Remember how 4ths are
spelled using either sharps or flats, but not both?
In notating chords
For example, a fourth above D# is spelled G#, not Ab.
D# to G#
And a fourth down from Ab is spelled Eb, not D#.
Eb to Ab
11
Likewise in chords, you want to be consistent. Look at the following two chords:
Abm7
R
7
3
G#m7
R
7
3
While the notes are exactly the same on the keyboard, you can spell them two completely
different ways.
If you name the chord Abm7, the Root would be Ab, the 7th would be Gb and the 3rd would be
Cb!
If you name the chord G#m7, the Root would be G#, the 7th would be F# and the 3rd would be
B.
For consistency, the 3rd of any type of A or Ab chord, should be spelled C or Cb.
If you’ve learned to read music already, it may seem odd to call a note Cb instead of B – but this
spelling is important for the consistency of the chord spelling. After you get used to it, it will
seem less strange to call the 3rd of an a Abm7 chord Cb than to call it B, which would make the
awkward interval of an augmented second, rather than the appropriate interval of a minor 3rd
between the Root and 3rd of a minor 7th chord.
12
HOW CHORDS SYMBOLS ARE BUILT:
ROOT
QUALITY
EXTRA STUFF
F#m7b5
Root
The first part of any chord symbol is the going to be one of the twelve notes. It is called the Root
of the chord. We’ll use this note to find the other two notes.
Quality
The next part any chord symbol is the type or Quality of the chord. It will usually be one of our
four qualities of seventh chords discussed previously. The 3rd and 7th of a chord determine its
quality.
Extra Stuff
After the quality comes the extra stuff: alterations and add-ons. We’ll cover this in detail in
Chapter 6. At first you can just leave all of these out, and it should sound just fine. In other
words, as long as you’re using Nate’s Three Finger Piano Method, playing Cm7 instead of Cm7b5
will sound fine. (Until you have gotten to Chapter 6, leave out alterations and add-ons!)
Also, you will sometimes see a symbol that doesn’t have a quality written. It will just say “C” or
“Cm”. These chords are not seventh chords, so you can either leave out the Seventh and just play
the root and the 3rd at first, or you can substitute a seventh chord. Substituting richer chords will
be discussed in chapter 3. At first, it will be better to concentrate on 7th chords, because they’ll
teach you many principles of harmony on the keyboard that will come in handy when you play
more simple chords.
13

Similar documents