Do You Know The PRIMARY CHORDS & The SECONDARY CHORDS In The Keys You Play In?

Friday, March 21st, 2014
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What are the Primary Chords & Secondary Chords In Your Favorite Keys?

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Here is a transcript of the video if you would like to follow along:

Good morning, this is Duane, and one of the most important things that any piano player can learn are the primary chords and the secondary chords in any key, the key they’re going to play in. In other words, you don’t need to play in all 12 keys. There’s 12 major keys you can play in, 12 minor keys you can play in, but you don’t necessarily need to know all those, although it would be helpful to do that.

But, let’s say that you play in a group, and your group plays in the key of F a lot. Well, it’s absolutely necessary for you to know what chords are going to occurs the most in the key of F. Doesn’t matter what the song is. If you take all the songs in the world and put them in a computer and blend them all together, you’ll find that in 90% of the cases, the most used chords in any key are the one-chord, the four-chord and the five-chord.

For example, if you’re playing in the key of C, since the key of C is based on the scale of C, isn’t it? So, the one-chord in the key of C, therefore it’d be built on the one degree of the scale, the first degree of the scale which is C, and a chord is made out the root, third, and fifth. That’s the most important chord by far in the key of C. It’s used more than any others. It usually starts and end a song. Okay? Doesn’t have to, a composer can do anything they want, but usually it is. That’s the most used chord in any key, I mean the key of C.

What’s the next most used chord? Well, it’s probably the five-chord. One, two, three, four, five. The second most used chord is the five-chord, followed by the four-chord, and those are all major chords. In fact, they’re the only three chords that are organically major in the key of C, that is without adding any accidentals. So, in the key of C, those are all white, aren’t they?

So, anything you want to play in the key of C … It’ll involve those three chords, or could involve those three chords. They’re the most likely to occur. But, then after those three chords, the next most likely after that are three minor chords. The two-chord, which is minor; the three-chord, which is minor; and the six-chord, one, two, three, four, five, six, which is minor.

Now, if you know all six of those chords, you’ve gone a long ways towards mastering tons of songs, because most songs will only have those three primary chords, one, four, and five, and some of the secondary chords, which are two, three, and six. So, master those six chords in the key that you want to play in. So, I just play in the key of C.

But, let’s say that the group that I play in likes to play in the key of F. That means that basically they’re playing on the scale of F, which goes like that. I won’t review why that … why the key of F has a B flat, but it does. So, the one chord in the key of F, therefore is F, isn’t it?

The five-chord in the key of F is what? One, two, three, four, five. C; and the four-chord is what? B flat, so again, most everything that I want to play in the key of F … involves one of those three chords. I’m playing the B flat now, [inaudible 03:29]. Now, C, F, I mean B flat, and then back to F. I was just playing the blues there, but you can play … most any song will include those three primary chords.

If I want to play in the key of G, if I want to master the key of G, then it’s based on the scale of G, and the primary chords are G, the one-chord; D, the five-chord; and C, the four-chord. So, G, C, and D. So, if I have a song in the key of G, it’s most likely going to have those three chords. G, C, D’s, G. G, C, D. Now, of course, it can have any other chords as well, but those are the ones that are going to occur the most.

What are the secondary chords then in the key of G? Well, if the primary chords are one, four, and five, then the secondary chords are two, which would be A minor, three, which would B minor, and six, which would be E minor. So, if I master those six chords in the key of G, I’ve got a huge handle on the key of G.

I didn’t cover the secondary chords in the key of F, did I? The primary chords are one, four, and five. F, B flat, and C. So, what are the secondary chords? They’re the two-chord, which is G minor, the three-chord, which is A minor, and the six-chord, which his D minor. So, whatever key you want to play in, master the one, four, and five chords first, and then the secondary chords, two, three and six.

Remember that the one-chord, four-chord, and five-chord are major. I’ll play in B flat now, and that’s the one-chord. Here’s the four-chord, E flat. Now, back to B flat. E flat. B flat, and now F. B flat, and then as you advance you’ll learn to put other notes in it. I was putting seventh-chords in the one, four, and five. You can do a lot of connective chords as well.

Let me just give you an example what I mean. I was playing the B flat chord, with the seventh in it. Then I was playing the E flat chord with the 7th in it. Then I was playing the F chord with a seventh in it; but it’s still one, four, and five, but it has a seventh in it.

Now, I think what I did is when I got to the four-chord, or when I got to the five-chord, I think I went down by half steps to the four-chord. Yeah, you hear people do that. They slide down between keys, but that’s just a connective chord. Okay, if this makes sense and you enjoy this kind of thing come over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free newsletter on tips, piano tips, because you get a lot of them. Something most every day like this. You can learn a lot over the course of time. Thanks, and we’ll see you there. Bye-bye for now.

Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_DLwBXUmcw&feature=youtu.be

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Piano Chords: Do I Really Need To Learn All Those Chords?

Friday, February 21st, 2014
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Piano Chords: Do I Really Need To Learn All Those Chords?

Good morning. This is Duane, and over the years, a lot of people have asked me something like, “How many piano chords do I really need to know?” I think couched in that question is a fear of, “Oh, wow! I don’t want to learn hundreds of chords, or thousands of chords.”

Well, the answer to that question is easier than you would suppose. The answer to that question, “How many chords do I really need to know?” is, “As many as you need.”

Now that may sound like a cop out but it’s absolutely true. You don’t need to learn chords that you’ll never use, okay, but you need to learn chords well on the chords you will use. For example, if you want to play complex jazz, then the answer to that is thousands and thousands and thousands of chords, because it’s not just the chord itself, but it’s voicing of the chord.

For example, here’s a G minor 7th (music), but jazz pianists often play (music) that kind of sound, okay? Now that involves thousands and thousands of chords in each octave, but only if you want to play that sort of thing. If you don’t … let’s say that you’re playing at a country church. Typically, you play three-note chords there. You’ll play (music) chords like that. (Music). Sometimes rhythmically, sometimes straight, and so on, but you don’t need a whole bunch of chords.

If you’re playing in a rock group, same thing there. They’ll have a certain chord (music). Certain chords you’ll need, but a lot of chords you won’t need, so the answer is, “As many as you need.”

Let me just go through the possibilities of chords so far. We haven’t gotten into extended chords at all. We haven’t learned about sixths or sevenths or ninths or 11ths or 13ths, or altered chords or anything like that. We’ve just been talking about the basic chords, so let me just walk you through the basic chords once more, and calculate how many chords we can come up with.

First of all, there’s seven octaves on the keyboard. (Music). One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. There’s seven octaves in which you can build chords, okay? All the chords you learn in that span … if you learn that chord (music), that applies to that octave, and that octave, and every other octave, so, when you learn a chord, you’ve already learned seven more because they’re playable in any other octave. You got that? Okay.

We learn the 12 major chords and we said that three major chords were all white (music), C, F and G, and then three major chords had a black third (music), D, E and A. If you’re not up to speed on that, look up some of my other videos on the basic major chords. Three chords were black on the outside, white on the inside, like an Oreo cookie. (Music), D-flat, E-flat and A-flat. One’s black and, that’s G-flat, and one is … two are counted left over. The B chord, which is white, black, black and the B-flat chord, which is black, white, white.

We learn those 12 chords (music), and we’re able to play those fairly rapidly. Then we said that to make a minor chord, all you do is you lower the third, so in any minor chord, just lower the third of a major chord, whatever it is, okay? So, you learn 12 chords and suddenly you’ve got, what, 24 chords because you’ve learned to change a major into a minor, so there’s 24 different chords.

Then you learned diminished chords, and that was made out of a lower third and a lowered fifth, so you can add another 12 to that. We were at 24, that’s 36, and then you learn augmented chords, which were you raise the fifth a half step and that takes you to 48 chords. Forty-eight basic chords. Major, minor, diminished, augmented. Major, minor, diminished, augmented. Major, minor, diminished, augmented. Major, minor, diminished, augmented, and so on. Those are 48 basic chords, but, you can turn each chord upside down three times, can’t you? In other words, three positions of each chord.

The root position of a chord (music), that’s root position of the C chord, now I’m going to turn it upside. I’m taking the C off the bottom, putting it up on the top, so that’s the same chord, but it’s inverted. (Music). That’s the first inversion of the C chord. I can do it again. I can turn it upside down (music), and that gives me a new voicing of C. It’s called “second inversion,” all right? If I turn it upside down again, I’m in the next octave, aren’t I?

Okay, so I can multiply those 48 chords times three inversions. That’s 140 … I mean that’s … yeah, 144 chords. We’re up to 12 dozen chords, 144 chords, okay? Now, each chord, each of those 144 chords, can be played in each octave, so I can play them here (music), here (music), here (music), here (music), here (music), here (music), here (music), okay? All over the keyboard, so, suddenly, I’ve multiplied the 144 times the seven octaves and I come out with something a little over a thousand, maybe 1,007, something like that, okay?

So, there’s way, way, lots of chords that are possible, but you don’t have to learn the ones you’re probably not going to use. It’s good if you do. I know a whole bunch of chords that I never use at all, and it’s good because then it gives you confidence that you could form them if you need to, all right, but you don’t have to. It depends on what kind of music you’re playing, and where you’re going to play at.
So, the answer to, “How many chords do I need to know?” The answer is, “As many as you need.” Now tomorrow we’re going to get into more complex chords. We’ve learned the major and minor, diminished and augmented, now we’re going to take up diminished seventh chords, and then seventh chords, and then major seventh chords, and augmented seventh chords, and minor seventh chords and diminished, half diminished seventh chords, and then major ninth chords and dominant ninth chords, and ninth chords with a flat. Flat nine in other words.

We’re going to learn an eleventh chord and a thirteenth chord and then we have to get into voicing, because all those chords can be played in different ways, right?

Okay, that’s it for today. Hope I’ve whetted your appetite a little bit for learning more chords, but if not, that’s fine. You’ll learn the chords you need to learn. Okay, that’s it for today, and if you enjoy this sort of thing, come on over to Play Piano and sign up for our free piano tips. You get something like this most every day, and if you like piano and music as much as I do, you’ll enjoy it. We’ll see you there. Bye-bye for now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaOLCsEzFOY&feature=youtu.be
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Major & Minor Intervals & The Chords They Form

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
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Major & Minor Intervals & The Chords They Form

Hi, this is Duane and no matter what kind of music you play, you play both balanced and unbalanced chords – Major & Minor Intervals & The Chords They Form. I’d like to talk a little bit about those two things, balanced and unbalanced chords. Have you ever thought about that? Here’s a major chord. That’s the most common of all chords, it’s used in music may be 60, 70% of the time.

Twenty or 30% of the time minor chords are used. They’re far more used, major/minor chords are are far more used than augmented or diminished chords and I’d like to show you why, in case you don’t know, may be you do know why.

Major chords are unbalanced. Minor chords are unbalanced while augmented chords are unbalanced and diminished chords are unbalanced. Here’s why. A major chord is made out of a major third. A major third is the third note of the scale or you can count half steps. One, two, three, four. A major third is four half steps.

A minor third is three half steps. One, two, three. There’s a major third and there’s a minor third. Now let ask you a question, when you play the C chord, what are those two intervals? That’s the major third, obviously but what’s that? Is that a major third? Sounds very major, doesn’t it? That’s because your mind is filling in that note. After having played the C chord and then if I play just those two notes, your mind is filling in that note even though I’m not playing it.

I’ll prove it to you. If I play an E down there, now does it sound major? No, suddenly it sounds minor. Why? Because I’m emphasizing the E is the root, not C. If C was the root, it would sound like that. It would sound major but if I play E, it sounds minor, doesn’t it?

Here’s why, because between E and G is only a minor third. One, two, three. We have an unbalanced chord. We have a major third with a minor third on top of it, don’t we? A major third and a minor third. Unbalanced. We like the sound, we like the sound of unbalanced chords.

Now, what about minor. That’s unbalanced too, isn’t it? It’s a minor third with a major third on top. Just the opposite of a major chord. A major chord has a major third on the bottom, a minor third on top. While a minor chord has a minor third on the bottom, major third on top. Those are the two most used chords, major and minor. We hear that all the time in our playing.

Now a chord that’s used may be five or something like that percent of the time is a diminished chord. It goes like that. In fact, diminished chords are almost always including that note too. I’ll show you why in a minute. A diminished chord is balanced, isn’t it? Even though it sounds, we’re really not comfortable with leaving it.

If I played that note and told you to go to bed, played that chord and told you to go to bed, you’d want to get up and turn it off, wouldn’t you? Because it’s unbalanced. I mean it is balanced but it gives you an eerie feeling.

It’s a minor third followed by a minor third. Now the reason that that note is often included in that chord is because that’s a minor third too. Notice it’s a minor third up to the octave note. We have all minor thirds, very balanced.

Now, that’s called a diminished seventh chord. How many diminished seventh chords would there be, do you think? Do you think there’s 12 different diminished seventh chords like there’s 12 major chords and 12 minor chords? No, there’s only three diminished seventh chords. Why is that? Watch me go up a half step.

That’s a different diminished seventh chord and that’s a diminished seventh chord but now is that a diminished seventh chord? No, all I’ve done is taken the C off the bottom and put on top. That’s why it sounds that why because it’s totally balanced.

Now another chord that’s totally balanced is an augmented chord. Instead of making of being made up of all minor thirds like a diminished chord is, it’s made up of all major chords. I mean all major thirds. Major third, major third. From here up to the octave, what is it? Major thirds. It’s totally balanced. It’s totally balanced.

How many augmented chords do you think there’d be? Will there be 12 like major and minor or would there only be three like the diminished? How many notes are in it? Three. How far to the octave? Eight or 12 half steps. There is one, two, three. There’s only three, isn’t there? I mean there’s only four, isn’t there? Because when I get to that, that’s the same chord we started at, just inverted. You got that.

There’s four different augmented chords. One, two, three … One, two, three, four and then we come down to the same augmented chord that we started at just inverted, turned upside down.

The augmented chord, by the way, is based on the whole tones scale. The whole tone scale used nothing but whole tones and the augmented chords are based on that. You have that feeling of lightness or I don’t know, something, some feeling that’s created out of that chord.

Anyway, that’s the difference between balanced and unbalanced chords. I just thought you’d like to know that because your major and minor chords, you play more all the time are unbalanced. While the chords like diminished and augmented are totally balanced.

That’s it for today, if you enjoyed these kinds of tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips. We’ll see you there. Bye-bye for now.


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Diminished Chords: How Quickly Can You Learn All 12?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
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Diminished Chords: How Quickly Can You Learn All 12?

Good morning, this is Duane, and today I’d like to take a look at diminished chords, diminished triads. We’ve been taking a look at chord formations such as major chords, and minor chords, and augmented chords, and now I’d like to take the fourth kind of chord which is called a diminished chord, or a diminished triad, triad meaning a three note chord, like a tricycle. If a major chord is like that, and it is, the root, third, and fifth of a major scale; and if a minor chord is like that, by lowering the third, which it is; then a diminished chord or triad is like that. We lower not only the third, but the fifth as well, so the third and fifth are both lowered. You’ve heard this kind of thing. Well that’s a diminished chord going to a major chord, that kind of sequence. You hear that in boogie and so on, in ragtime, I think.

Major chord is root, third, and fifth, so a minor chord is root, flat third, and fifth, diminished triad is root, flat third, and flat fifth. Let’s go onto the F chord now. That’s the F major chord, that would be F minor, and F diminished you’d flat that C and call it C flat, you can’t call it B, you got to call it C flat for reasons of music theory. That’s the G major chord, G minor chord, G diminished chord. D major chord, D minor chord, D diminished chord. E major, E minor, E diminished. A major, A minor, A diminished. D flat major, D flat minor, remember we lower F to F flat, can’t call it E, got to call it F flat, and we lower A flat, the fifth, to what looks like G but we got to call it A double-flat, that’s A double flat, so that’s D flat-diminished.

E flat major, E flat minor, E flat diminished by lowering B flat to B double flat. A flat major, A flat minor, A flat diminished by lowering the E flat to E double flat. G flat major, G flat minor, G flat diminished by lowering D flat to D double flat. B major, B minor, B diminished. Now that’s the only diminished chord that’s all white. Can you remember that? B diminished is the only diminished chord that’s all while. Then B flat major, B flat minor, and B flat diminished. If you recall, when we covered major chords, there were three major chords that were all white. What were they? That’s right: C, F, and G. There was three minor chords that were all white: D minor, E minor, and A minor.

There’s no augmented chords that are all white, but there is one diminished chord that’s all white and that’s B diminished. We have 12 major chords, 12 minor chords, 12 diminished chords, and 12 augmented chords, so let’s go through those 48 chords. You know 48 chords, and of course you can play them all over the keyboard. Once you know C major you can play it here, upside down, you can break it up. Once you know C minor you can play it all over the keyboard. Once you know C diminished you can play it over the keyboard. Once you know C augmented you can play it all over the keyboard.

Let’s go through the 48 chords right now. C major, C minor, C diminished, C augmented. F major, F minor, F diminished, F augmented. G major, G minor, G diminished, G augmented. D major, D minor, D diminished, D augmented. E major, E minor, E diminished, E augmented. A major, minor, diminished, augmented. D flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. E flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. A flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. G flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. B major, minor, diminished, augmented. B flat major, minor, diminished, and augmented.

When I was teaching in my studio, I had little kids, young kids that could play all those 48 chords in just a matter of seconds. Maybe, I don’t remember what it is now, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, something like that, but they could whiz through them. They had better reactions than I did. They were going like this. I can’t even keep up with that, but they learned the chords. They got them under their fingers and then we broke them up into arpeggios like that and so on, so you can do the same by mastering chords. You don’t have to wonder about it your whole life. You know 48 chords now, so if you rehearse those 48 chords over and over again, you’re going to know those for a lifetime.

Tomorrow we’ll take up diminished seventh chords. That’s a different animal. It’s a diminished triad with a double flatted seventh, and that’s what it is. That’s an amazing chord that we’re going to take up tomorrow. It’s amazing because you can do so much with it. You can go many places with it, and we’ll cover those … I think there’s at least seven different things you can do with that chord, so we’ll talk about that tomorrow. If you like this kind of thing, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips. You get a tip like this most every day, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Bye-bye for now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkEnKNliTE&feature=youtu.be
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Learning Augmented Chords On The Piano Is Easy

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
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Learning Augmented Chords On The Piano Is Easy

Good morning, this is Duane. Today, I’d like to take a look at augmented chords. We’ve been looking at the chord formation, such as major chords and minor chords. The next in the series is augmented chords. An augmented chord is made up of a major third. In other words, one, two, three four half steps, from there to there, and then another major third, one, two, three, four.

C-augmented is like that. Notice, it’s easy because once you know a C-major chord you just raise the fifth a half step … whatever that position that chord is in though. In other words, it could be upside-down. You wouldn’t raise the top note. You would raise the fifth which is right there. That’s an inversion of that … or if you’re playing C up there, where would C-augmented be? Yes you’d raise the fifth. It’s always the fifth that is raised a half step no matter what inversion you’re in.

Let’s go through the 12 major chords and make each one of them augmented. C, C-augmented, F, F-augmented, G, G-augmented, D, D-augmented, E … now, where is E-augmented? There’s no black key to the right of B so we have to play what looks like a white key. It is a white key, but that’s known as B-sharp. You’re raising a half step from B to B-sharp. You can’t call it C. That would confuse other musicians. You’ve got to call it B-sharp.

Here’s the A-major chord. Where is A-augmented? Right, you raise E up to E-sharp. Not F, E-sharp. Here’s the E chord. How do you make that augmented? Sure raise the B up to C. I guess I already did that didn’t I? All right, the next chord is F-sharp major or you can call it G-flat major. That’s an inharmonic note. In other words, you call it F-sharp or G-flat. There’s the chord, the major chord.

To make it augmented, you raise the fifth a half step. You raise it from C-sharp to … What do you call that? You can’t call it D. What do you got to call it? You got to call it C-double sharp. If you’re not familiar with the notation for a double sharp, it’s like a fat X. You’ll see that in music sometimes a fat X. That is G-flat augmented. Here’s the B-major chord. You’d raise F-sharp up to … Is it G? No F-double sharp. Raise the fifth a half step … and you can’t call it G. You have to call it F-double sharp.

Finally, the B-flat chord … You raise F up a half step to F-sharp. This time, let’s go through it, and let’s play the major chord, the minor chord and the augmented chord. Remember, a major chord is a root third fifth of a major scale. To make it minor you lower the third. To make an augmented chord you raise the fifth.

I’m going to go through all 12 major chords now and do that. C-major, C-minor, C-augmented … F-major, F-minor, F-augmented … G-major, G-minor, G-augmented … D-major, D-minor, D-augmented … E-major, E-minor, E-augmented … A-major, A-minor, A-augmented … D-flat major, D-flat minor, D-flat augmented … E-flat major, E-flat minor, E-flat augmented … A-flat major, A-flat minor, A-flat augmented … G-flat major, G-flat minor, G-flat augmented … B-major, B-minor, B-augmented … B-flat major, B-flat minor, B-flat augmented.

There’s 12 major chords. There’s 12 minor chords because you make a minor chord out of a major chord. That’s 24. How many augmented chords are there? That’s right 12. 3 times 12 is what? 36 so we’ve learned 36 chords so far. Tomorrow, we’ll take up diminished triads and we’ll have 48 chords that should be under your belt. Practice those with your left hand as well as your right hand. Major, minor augmented, major, minor augmented, major, minor, augmented and so on. Just go through with hands alone and then hands together.

Okay, that’s it for today. If you enjoy these tips, come on over to Play Piano and sign up for our Play Piano tips. You get something like this every day. We’ll see you there I hope. Bye-bye for now. Thanks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4Rbra47jLA&feature=youtu.be

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