Chord Symbols: add2 or add9? (includes my video on using added ninth to chords)

Hi everyone!  I received a question online today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, and one which is subject to debate.  The question is in response to one of my videos about using add9 chords on piano.  (A link to the video is included below.)

I thought I would share the thread here:

VIEWER: Isn’t the D in Cadd9 supposed to be an octave higher? I guess I’m just confused as to why it isn’t Add2 instead.

ME: Hi Jordan, this is a very good question, and one that is subject to debate. Technically, the voicing of these add9’s that I am using here are really “add2”. In general practice however, add9 is favored in chord symbols found in sheet music, and is meant to imply add2 or add9, depending on the voicing choice of the player. It’s interesting to note that add9 chords played on guitar have the ninth tone on top sometimes, and sometimes the 9th is not the highest tone, often depending on ease of finger positions. This is also true in a piano player’s choice of voicing. Again, to recap, add9 technically has the 9th as the highest tone in the voicing, as you indicated, but when using chord symbols, add9 is preferred for either one.

 VIEWER: That definitely makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification.
ME: Certainly, your question is much appreciated! Two other interesting points: A very popular, jazzy left-hand voicing for the MINOR 9th chord (as in Am9) — which, by the way, is NOT an add9 chord, because it also contains the 7th (I talk about that difference in the video) — is this, using Am9 as an example: G, B, C, E, where the root is implied, and can be played before or after the first cluster (or covered by the bass player). I bring this up because here you can see that the “9th” is not the top note in that particular voicing. (You might try that out, it sounds very cool!) Another thing: In my full two-handed voicings in the video, such as Cadd9, left hand plays C and G, and the right plays C-D-E-G. On close inspection you will note that the 9th (the D) is actually voiced far above the root (the left-hand C). But that is not mandatory to voice add9 that way, just a certain nice-sounding choice.
****
 Here is the video lesson which prompted the question:
 See ya soon!
Kent

Learn about the Major pentatonic scale, and its cousin, the “Relative Minor” pentatonic (video lesson)

Learn about the Major pentatonic scale, and its cousin, the “Relative Minor” pentatonic scale (a video lesson). The relationship between any major scale (or key) and its relative minor scale or key is explained here as well, in terms of traditional music theory.

Video: Pentatonic scales, Major and Minor

A Nice Technique for Smoother Scales

“SMOOTHER-SOUNDING SCALES” introduces a simple technique for making your scale passages sound more EVEN; that is, with a more consistent loudness across all the notes. The technique involves deliberately accenting certain notes, then removing the accents. The final result is a more even sounding scale!  Voila!

Video: Smoother Scales

See ya soon!

 

“A Study in Blues Piano” Course Coupon (starts now, offer expires 3/31/2018)

BLUES ALERT — PLEASE SHARE THIS!

Coupon Expires March 31, 2018: Here’s a handy dandy discount coupon for my “A Study in Blues Piano” on Udemy: Lifetime access for just $12.99. (List price is $29.99.)

The Course at $12.99 (coupon is automatic)

or use coupon code 88KENT when purchasing.

Please share this with your musical friends!

Expires March 31, 2018 so act now! 

 

MISSED THE SALE WINDOW?

If you miss the coupon window, the course can be accessed using the link below. Sometimes Udemy sets their own temporary discounts, so you could get lucky!

The course at regular price ($29.99)

 

Openings Now for 5 or 6 Piano Students (Private Lessons)

Hi folks, I have new slots for five or six students, in or near Huntington Beach, California.

I’m offering lessons in Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Folk, etc., piano or keyboards.  Sorry, no slots are currently open for classical piano, although if you want to learn to read music as part of your “pop” studies, we can do that.

Levels taught: Beginner, intermediate, advanced.

Lessons are 45-minutes, once per week.  In-home lessons are available.

Please call:

714.519.9920

for more information!

 

The notes to “Für Elise” on piano (by Beethoven, officially titled “Bagatelle in A minor”)

Annotated sheet music, plus a video

Below is a printable page of Fur Elise piano sheet music, which I’ve marked up for you, to include each note’s letter name (E, A, B, D#, etc.) .  I’ve used this method with many of my early piano students, allowing them to start playing great sounding pieces that are well beyond their current reading level. This approach is best for people with a general idea of how piano notation works, but who are weak on associating all those lines and spaces with the keys on the piano.

Note, this sheet music covers only the famous first section of the piece, the part most people have heard.

I left out various markings such as dynamics, crescendos, phrase markings, and pedal markings. This is so the inexperienced music reader can focus strictly on the keys to be played. The WAY they are played, and the RHYTHM in which they are played, can be gathered by listening to a good recording of Fur Elise, and/or by looking at the standard notation.  Regardless, I guess it almost goes without saying, the ideal way for an early/intermediate piano student to learn this piece is with a professional piano teacher, although not all people have that luxury!

Side laugh: I once had a young student who thought for a while that I was saying “Furry Lease” as the title. So cute!

Below that is a “slow-motion” video, showing the first section only (this is not a performance, just an audio/visual reference video, demonstrating  the notes played in order).

Für Elise Sheet with Note Names

Reference Video of Für Elise Notes

 

Beethoven’s Für Elise – Slow-motion video for reference

Here’s a slow-motion demonstration of the notes to Beethoven’s Für Elise.  Shown here is the most well-known first section of the piece.

This is not a performance video.  Meaning, you can’t take cues from this video on the phrasing, dynamics, tempo, pedaling, etc.  However, many people find it useful to have a reference like this, especially those who play by ear, and are simply trying to acquire the notes.

 

 

A Good Way to Learn All Your “Thirteenth” Chords (by Pattern, NOT by Rote)

Hello again, piano people!

Todays’ post is about learning “thirteenth chords” on piano. In this video, you will learn a good way to learn and retain all twelve of the standard 13th chords without resorting to rote memorization.  In my experience,  I discovered early on that learning scales and chords by rote — that is, note-by-note, without any understanding of the patterns they all have in common — is the worst way to go.  Learning the underlying patterns that consistently define all scales and chords is absolutely where it’s at!

 

Honky Tonk

 

via Daily Prompt: Honk

So I’m responding to a blogging “prompt” here on WordPress.com. The prompt for today is “Honk.”

Honk…Honky-tonk…Honky-tonk piano!  I knew I would get to the piano sooner or later.  In this case, two degrees of separation.  Musically speaking, two half-steps?

Since my blog is mostly for piano players, here’s something I composed for piano a few years back, while thinking of a honky-tonk in the Old West.  I didn’t actually have time to learn the piece, so I just wrote it down and then created a MIDI file from that.  This video is just an audio capture of the MIDI file being played back on my PC.  In other words, I did not physically perform this version. Give credit to robots when credit is due.

Doc Holliday’s Waltz

via Daily Prompt: Honk

More on “Fourth Chords”

Ain’t life grand? As in grand piano?

Here’s a follow up to my recent post about “Fourth Chords.” I made this second video to give more insight regarding how “fourth chord” shapes can be superimposed over various roots, to create refreshing voicings for standard chord types, such as major, minor and dominant seventh chords.  The goal here is to focus on the practical side of putting these shapes into use!

Video: Fourth Chords, Part Two