Archive for April, 2011

A friend got a reaction from his father to my post on learning piano chords:

Thanks, but all that does is confuse me and I couldn’t play if I had to analyze it all that way! I know what I want to hear and I find the chord that I know will fit. 90% of them now come to me “automatically” and with a little work, I usually find the correct ones for the other 10%. I know when I’m hitting a correct chord and when the chord is wrong. I guess that’s what playing “by ear” means.

My friend’s dad has been playing jazz, so he’s doing pretty well with his own system.

I’ll admit my explanation was rather condensed. It really needs figures and some more explanation. I’ve found similar explanations in a couple of older piano books. The approach makes things so clear — I’m surprised it isn’t more widely known.

Learning chords this way is easier than learning the multiplication tables.

A realization ….

As I said, it is easiest to learn major and minor chords in groups:

  • White keys (C, F, G)
  • White keys with sharps (D, E, A)
  • Black keys with naturals (D-flat, E-flat, A-flat)
  • The two B’s (B and B-flat)
  • Black keys (F-sharp)

I would also recommend using the same groups for learning the other chords (dominant 7, inversions, augmented, etc.). For example, white keys C, F and G all have the same hand position for their inversions.

Perhaps I’ll draw a chart to show how logical the grouping is.

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