Piano Chords: The Ultimate Step
Whats up my piano friends! Today were going to go over my ultimate step-by-step simple version of chords on piano for beginners.
In this blog post Im going to simplify the process and give you a couple of easy step-by-step formulas for finding any major or minor piano chord. On top of that, Im even going to give you some downloadable PDF cheat sheets so you can check your answers and find any chord almost instantly. Then, youre going to learn an actual song using chords.
I looked up a lot of YouTube videos on how to learn chords and many of them talked about theory of chords but then they never showed you how to put these chords into a song you actually want to learn. So, were literally going to sit down and learn the song All of Me by John Legend by using chords, without reading sheet music and without playing by ear.
At the end of the blog post I have a little quiz for you just to make sure that you truly did learn everything Im talking about today and that you are mastering all of the chords.
Alright, lets get started!
How To Maintain & Improve Your Sight Reading Abilities
Once youve got the hang of reading music, its not enough to simply check the skill off your list. Learning an instrument means practicing and building muscle memory around your piano playing. After all, you dont want to just be able to read sheet music in your own living room. You want to be able to walk into a room of musicians and join a band practice, or to get up onstage and jam out with a bunch of pros.
To truly master your music reading skills, follow these steps:
- Create a daily practice routine where you warm up your fingers and hands with some simple scales, and play through some easy music
- Join a community choir, band, or orchestra where youll be challenged to sight read music regularly.
- Find a piano teacher who can help you close any gaps in your knowledge or correct your technique as you advance
- Take a music theory class. Music theory is the study of what actually goes into the music on the page and how it relates to the music you hear.
Working your new skill into your daily life, practicing, and learning from an expert are some proven ways to improve your music reading abilities.
What Are Sharps & Flats
Sharps and flats are the half tones in a traditional Western scale. A sharp is a half step higher than the natural tone, and a flat is a half step lower than the natural tone. Because of this, youll find some overlap in how specific tones are labeled. For example, an A# will also be a Bb, because its a half tone above an A natural, but also a half tone below a B natural.
It can be tempting to think of sharps and flats as the black keys on the piano. However, there are sharps and flats that are represented by white keys, too. For example, an E# is also an F natural, which is a white key. And a Cb is also a B natural, which is a white key.
The sharp sign looks like this:
A flat sign looks like this:
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Reading Music By Intervals
Knowing your way around the piano without having to constantly look down is a valuable skill to develop. You can support this skill by learning to read piano intervals. An interval is the distance between any two notes. Recognizing intervals is a quick and practical way to learn how to read sheet music because your fingers respond to the shape of the music. By recognizing common shapes and patterns, you will not have to think as much, and will therefore speed up your processing time, making you a faster reader.
What Is The Bass Staff
After youve memorized all of the letter names on the lines and spaces for your right hand , you can move on to reading piano notes on the bass clef, where the notes on the lines and spaces will usually be played with your left hand.
The bass clef symbol looks like this:
Youll notice that the bass clef symbol has two dots on either side of the F line. If you can remember that, youll always be able to figure out the rest of the lines and spaces on the staff.
Practice drawing the bass clef. Then with the spaces at the bottom of the page, name your spaces ACEGB . Next, name your lines starting at the bottom of the page GBDFA .
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Music Symbols And Their Meanings: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet
Join us as we dive into the depths of the different music symbols and their meanings.
When it comes to reading sheet music, there are hundreds of symbols that you need to learn before you can even think of playing off of it. All the different symbols used for various musical instruments also make it even more challenging.
Thats why we have committed a few days of our time to put together all the musical symbols you need to learn in one place.
In this article, youll learn musical symbols ranging from lines, clefs, rhythmic symbols, key signatures, and everything in between.
Lets dive right in.
Music Theory Cheat Sheet
Cant get enough music and hungry for more information? Luckily, we have the Internet! Tone Deaf Comics posted this wonderful music theory cheat sheet, which we believed deserved a share. It seems they have taken down the PDF file so we are resharing here for free.
Absorb this information and always seek out new things to learn. What chords make another note a tonic? You can find out from this sheet! This music theory poster has everything from inversions to modes to cycles of fifths to chord pitches and chord structures. While some items in here are more commonly known from basic beginner music classes, such as what a major / minor key is, key signatures, and music signs, there are some more complex topics to discover.
Everything that is essential and logical in music theory is in this PDF download. Use this sheet music cheat sheet and hang it on your wall as a reference to creating your next huge hit! You can even print this out and hang this up as music theory posters near your production work station.
Music Theory Cheat Sheet
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Reading Piano Sheet Music For Beginners
Learning how to read music as a beginner simply means learning what the symbols on the page are telling your hands to do. This includes knowing the names of the piano keys, the notes on the musical staff, time signatures, note values, and different musical symbols.
But, before we dive into basic music reading skills , youll want to make sure you have all the supplies you need. This means some blank staff paper, an erasable pencil , and a keyboard instrument of some kind. You dont need a Steinway to get started a small keyboard will do fine for learning the basics of music reading. You will, however, want at least 66 keys to play complete most pieces of music.
What Are Dynamic Marks
Dynamic marks are another important aspect of music reading skills. These are the musical terms and symbols that tell you the quality of each note or phrases of music. Dynamic marks can tell you to play very loud, very soft, or somewhere in between. They are usually written in Italian. We wont go into the details of dynamics marks, but you can find everything you need to know about them in the article below.
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Learning To Read Sheet Music With An Instructor
The best way to learn how to read music notes is by taking piano lessons. A professional piano teacher can walk you through these steps and ensure that youre building your skills on a solid foundation of music theory. With each lesson, your knowledge of the piano will grow and your music reading skills will develop. Lesson plans that are catered to your learning style and current skill level will help you stay motivated for the long term. You can always look up piano sheet music for beginners and practice your music reading skills. Once you have a handle on understanding piano with notes and reading music, the playing possibilities are endless!
With enough time, patience, and practice, you can develop into a well-skilled piano player. Obtaining a stable foundation in musical note reading will make your journey toward becoming a fine pianist an exciting and fun adventure.
Do you have a favorite technique for learning how to read sheet music? Let us know in the comments below!
Post Author: Liz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R& B, and Country.
Photo by Basheer Tome
What Is A 7 Piano Chord
7th piano chords, are what we call dominant chords. They are a major triad, with a minor 7th added on top, and are commonly used as a movement chord to inject, suspense, and colour into music.
Dominant 7 piano chords quick list:
- C dominant 7 C, E, G, Bb
- C# dominant 7 C#, E#, G#, B
- D dominant7 D, F#, A, C
- Eb dominant7 Eb, G, Bb, Db
- E dominant7 E, G#, B, D
- F dominant7 F, A, C, Eb
- F# dominant7 F#, A#, C#, E
- G dominant7 G, B, D, F
- Ab dominant7 Ab, C, Eb, Gb
- A dominant7 A, C#, E, G
- Bb dominant7 Bb, D, F, Ab
- B dominant 7 B, D#, F#, A
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What Are Sharps & Flats On The Piano
Sharps and flats on the piano are just a semi-tone difference between the current note you are playing. We have a total of 7 sharps and 7 flats in each octave. These repeat across different octaves at high or lower pitches.
The sharps on the piano are made up of: C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, & B#
The flats on the piano are made up of: Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb
You will have probably come across 5 of those sharps and flats. But there are 2 that you might have seen as a natural’ note on the piano. These are E# & B#, or Fb & Cb. These notes are just F, and C. They are called sharp or flat, depending on the key you are in.
If you are in C# major, it makes more sense when reading sheet music.
If we take a look at the C# major chord it also makes more sense in sheet music. Chords take up all the lines or the spaces. If you were to have an E, instead of an E#, it would look funny.
If you are a music producer, this is much less important to follow. But, if you are a live musician or come from an instrument background, then this is really important to grasp.
Some More Help On Music Theory
If youre still having some trouble comprehending all of the material, Dummies has a What is Music Theory article up for music dummies looking to learn more, which you can read here. The piece goes over how to read music, play scales, build chores, etc. After you know these basics, the article continues by going into chords, chord progressions, and chord pattern structure. It helps you build scales and chords with simple or compound intervals. It even goes more into blues music and niche items such as I chord signals, V chords, and common use of chord progressions for blues.
As a warning, it would be much easier to understand if you can already read sheet music. As Dummies.com shares, Reading musical notes on both the treble and bass clef staves as well as finding notes on the piano and guitar the two most common instruments on which people teach themselves to play are crucial to making and studying music. This for dummies music article will take you through the fundamentals and lessons music professionals use today.
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Understanding The F Clef
The bass clefor F Clef is called so because it shows us where the note F is. It begins on the fourth line of the staff, loops up and around, and is complete with two dots on either side of the fourth line. All this decoration around the fourth line lets us know that this line is F, specifically the F below middle C.
We can use the same strategies we used to learn the rest of the notes in bass clef. The most common mnemonic we use is probably Good Boys Do Fine Always, but again feel free to make up your own if it helps you to remember more efficiently. The most common mnemonic for the spaces of bass clef is probably All Cows Eat Grass. When looking at piano sheet music beginners will need to memorize these note names.
In Order To Properly Perform This Strategy And Learn How To Read Sheet Music For Piano Follow These Three Simple Steps:
With music, there are many different strategies that can help you move quickly to a better understanding. Everyone approaches music differently. Some beginners intuitively grasp complex concepts, others need a little help along the way. Some may even find this strategy more confusing than the standard approach.
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Auditory Methods To Memorize Sheet Music
Cant get songs out of your head? Good at imitating voices and making weird sounds? Know a few languages? You must be a solid audio learner most musicians are!
And yet, most of the music we listen to is the same twelve notes. This can create chaos in remembering melodies.
As a musician, youll need recipes for memorizing songs and distinguishing between similar pieces in your memory.
We will try to help with a few tips:
For Bowed String Instruments
These notations are specifically used in bowed-string instruments like violin, cello, and lyra. While some of these symbols are also applicable on several other instruments, they arent as universal as other music symbols.
Left-hand pizzicato or stopped note
A left-hand pizzicato is a note played by plucking the string with the left hand rather than the bow on a stringed instrument.
A snap pizzicato on a stringed instrument is a note played by pulling the string away from the instrument frame and letting it go thus, making the snap. Its also known as Bartók pizzicato.
Natural harmonic or open note
A natural harmonic is played by applying slight pressure with the finger on the various nodes of the open strings.
Up bow or Sullarco
A Sullarco note means that the note should be played while dragging the bow upward.
Down bow or Giù arco
Inversely, a Giu arco note means that the note should be played while dragging the bow downward.
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How Do You Play A Minor 6 Chord
To play an minor 6th chord on the piano, do this:
- Use the minor chord spelling 1, b3, 5, 6.
- Choose the root note you want your chord to start from .
- Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for C diminished chord.
- Count up 3 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
- Count up 5 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
- Count 6 notes up from the root.
- Play the root, flat 3rd , 5th, & 6th all together.
- Use this fingering: 1, 2, 3, 4 from the thumb on right hand.
What Are Intervals On The Piano
Intervals are the space between two different notes on a piano. They are measured in semi-tones or whole tones.
- Semi-tone: this is the distance from keys that are only 1 note apart. So from the C, to the C#, or the C# to the D. These are 1 note gaps.
- Whole-tone: this is a semi-tone x 2. A whole tone is made of 2 semi-tones.
Common intervals on the piano are major, minor and 5th intervals. You’ve probably heard of a major 3rd, minor 3rd or 5th. These are all what we call intervals.
- Major 3rd: the distance of 4 semi-tones from the root note of the scale.
- Minor 3rd: the distance of 3 semi-tones from the root note of the scale.
- 5th interval: the distance of 5 semi-tones from the root note of the scale
In chord spellings major 3rds are labelled like this: 1, 3, 5. Minor 3rds are labelled like this: 1, b3, 5
Intervals can be used harmonically, or melodically. All this means is you either play them together at the same time, or you play them separate from each other in a melody.
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