Piano chords and chord progressions -- sampler tips for piano and keyboard chords....

 

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 " Secrets of Exciting Chords & Chord Progressions!"

You will be receiving an email from me each week starting tomorrow directing you to a web page such as this. Following is a "sampler" of what you will be learning in the weeks to come, just so you'll know what the format is and what is ahead. If this is not for you, please unsubscribe immediately! Thanks!

Duane

 

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" Secrets of Exciting Chords & Chord Progressions!"

 

 

piano lessons using chordsDuane Shinn at piano

 

- Week 31 -

 

Chord Progressions Part Twelve

"The '12 Bar Blues' Chord Progression"

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(Click on the left arrow above to listen to Duane if you have Windows Media Player)

If you don't already have one, you can download one free at:)

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     Far and away the most-used chord progression of all time in the world of jazz and blues and rhythm & blues (and even much of rock and fusion) is the 12-bar blues chord progression.

    The 12-bar blues is all-American. It developed right here, and until the last few years, it's main musicians were right here in the US. I had the privilege not long ago of standing on the corner of Bourbon St. and listening to the musicians in Preservation Hall play some of the most authentic blues I've heard.

     You simply play 12 measures of the same chord progression over and over, each time improvising some different melody on top of those changes. And those changes are:

The 12 Bar Blues Chord Progression

4 bars of the I chord

2 bars of the IV chord

2 bars of the I chord

1 bar of the V chord

1 bar of the IV chord

2 bars of the I chord

     The 7th is usually added to each chord -- so if the I chord is F, you would usually play F7 -- that is kind of assumed in the blues.

    Start by watching this 1-minute video of me playing the blues in the key of F at a moderately slow tempo:

 

     Now watch the next 1-minute video while I explain the structure of the 12 bar blues:

 

     As you can see, the structure of the 12 bar blues is very simple. And since it is fun, play it over and over again until you get the sounds you want!

      The "melody" of the 12-bar blues is something that each musician makes up as he/she goes along. It is based on the blues scale, which is a bit different than the regular diatonic scale we all grew up with -- it includes all those "regular" notes, but also uses the flat 3rd, the flat 5th, and the flat 7th degrees of the scale.

     Here is the blues scale in the key of C:

 The "blues scale" is really a combination of the major diatonic scale (the "regular" scale we all grew up with) plus three additional notes:

The flatted 3rd;

                                                    The flatted 5th (or sharp 4th -- same thing);

   The flatted 7th;

 

   

     So the blues scale really contains 11 notes -- the 8 of the normal diatonic scale -- and the 3 "blue notes". 

These are used in various combinations, as we shall see, to create a "bluesy sound".

     The blues started  not as a piano style, but as a vocal style, and of course the human voice can sing "in the cracks" between

the notes on the keyboard. So when we play blues on the keyboard, we try to imitate the human voice by playing BOTH the

3rd and the flat 3rd -- BOTH the 5th and the flat 5th -- BOTH the 7th and the flat 7th. We would play in the cracks if we could,

but we can't, so we do the best we can by combining the intervals to imitate the quarter steps that a human voice can sing. (Certain    

instruments can do that too -- for example, the trombone. Since it has a slide, it can hit an infinite number of tones between any

two keyboard notes.)

     Later we'll have a lesson on voicing the 12 bar blues, but for now, just learn the form and practice it in all the keys.

   

    For a complete course in the 12 bar blues, be sure and get "Playing Blues, Boogie And Rhythm & Blues!"Great course!

 

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" Secrets of Exciting Chords & Chord Progressions!"

 

piano lessons using chordsDuane Shinn at piano

 

Chord Progressions Part Two:

The Circle of Minor Keys

(Click on the left arrow above to listen to Duane if you have Windows Media Player)

If you don't already have one, you can download one free at:)

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp

 

      Last week we looked at the "circle of 4ths" or the "circle of 5ths", they are the same thing as the "circle of keys". It just depends on whether you're moving clockwise or counter-clockwise around the circle.  All the major keys that you can play in -- 12 of 'em -- are listed in this circle:


Major Keys:  
C     F    Bb    Eb    Ab    Db    Gb    B    E    A   D   G


     But there are also 12 minor keys in which songs can be written, so there must also be a circle of minor keys. It's not as well known as the circle of major keys, but it works the same way. Here it is:

 

    

     It works the same way as the major circle of keys, with one exception:

     When figuring the 3 most likely chords in any key, you still look left and look right, but because of the fact that most songs written in the western hemisphere use the harmonic minor scale instead of the natural minor scale (which is much too involved to get into here -- if you want to know about that in detail you'll need to get a course on scales), the chord to the left is usually a MAJOR chord instead of a minor chord.

     So in the key of Am, the 3 most likely chords would be Am, Dm, and E major -- not E minor! There are some exceptions to that, but not many.

    So what we come out with is this -- the most likely chords in each minor key:

    So -- to repeat what I said last week:

    Do you see what an enormous advantage this gives you? You have a highly educated guess what chords are going to occur in the song you are playing based on the key that the song is written in. Not only that, you now know that chords like to either move up a 4th or a 5th (or down a 4th or 5th -- same thing).

     And so as we begin learning chord progressions, this is the first step -- memorize the circle above until you can say it forward and backward and upside down and in your sleep! If I were you, I would print it out and stick it up on your piano or bathroom mirror or wherever you would see it often -- it's that important.

     That's all for this time.

     Next time we'll see how you can quickly tell what key a song is in, therefore telling you in advance what chords are the most likely! Is that important?

    It is huge -- monumental -- galactic! Don't miss it!

 

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     This is the GRATIS " Secrets of Exciting Chords & Chord Progressions!" newsletter that you (or someone using your E-mail address) signed up for when you visited our site. If you no longer want to receive these no-charge weekly E-mail piano lessons, toggle down to the bottom of this E-mail and you'll see where you can take yourself off the list. We take your privacy (and ours) very seriously, so we don't want anyone receiving our stuff who doesn't want it! ('cause thousands really do!).

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     This FREE newsletter is sponsored by PlayPiano.com -- the folks who made piano playing exciting, fun, and understandable! If you like what you see, go on over to our web site at www.playpiano.com and have a look around!

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