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.
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.
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!
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
“Fourth chords” are chords built as a “stack of fourths,” rather than as a “stack of thirds.”An example of a “stack of fourths” would be: D, G, C, and F, where D is the lowest pitch, and the rest make up a series of fourths above that.
The greatest thing about these stacks is that any given stack can be superimposed above multiple roots, to create a variety of voicings for various chord types.
Using the stack mentioned above as an example:
A “Dmin7” chord using the stack D, G, C, and F, results in a nice open-sounding voicing, with an added 11th (the “G” note is the 11th).
D, G, C and F also sounds great over a B-flat root, creating a “Bb69” sound! That is, a B-flat major chord, with an added 6th and 9th. (G is the 6th, and C is the 9th).
And so on…my video here explains this in depth. (Check back soon for Part Two, with more insights on this.)
NOTE: Website pianodrumteacher.com, mentioned in the video, is my older site, soon to be retired.
DESCRIPTION OF THIS VIDEO:
Piano and Music Theory – FOURTHS and FIFTHS – “Perfect and Not-so-perfect.” Essential knowledge for building chords without rote memorization, and for understanding chord progressions, plus understanding general music theory.
In order to understand tutorials on piano playing, it is essential that you know some basic terminology from the world of music theory. So here’s an important video on “major and minor thirds.”
If you aren’t clear about major and minor thirds, you might want to watch this. Afterward, you can read the rest of this article, using your newfound vocabulary!
Chords are often understood and learned as a series of “stacked thirds.” For example, a major seventh chord can be seen as the following stack:
Major third, Minor third, Major third.
Let’s look at the CMaj7 (C Major Seventh) chord as an example of stacking thirds to build a major seventh chord from any root. The notes of the CM7 chord are C, E, G, and B. Starting from the root C, we can stack thirds to create the chord. First we pile on the E, which is a major third above C. Then we put a G on top of the E. The musical distance (interval) from E to G is a minor third. Finally, we top off the stack with a B, which is a major third above the G. We now have a really tasty sandwich!
OK so here’s the vid with some tips on finding major and minor thirds on your keyboard, starting from any piano key.
Questions, comments? Please jump in. Let’s make this a community!
Essential information. And simple!
You can’t build scales or chords without knowing these two intervals.
Bottom line: The language of intervals is essential to learning all your scales and chords without resorting to the nearly-impossible task of rote memorization!
I’ve had lots of happy feedback about this lesson, ever since I first posted it on YouTube. People are basically saying that this is the easiest way they have found to learn the notes of all twelve major scales, quickly and painlessly. I learned about tetrachords in my college theory classes, and I have found them to be a little-known “secret” for organizing one’s thoughts about scales and modes. Let me know what you think!