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  #61  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

Can you tell the difference when a song is in major versus minor? As a musician, you will want to be able to. It will help you to figure out what key you are playing in from the key signature. For example, one flat in the key signature could mean the key of F Major or the key of D Minor.
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  #62  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:40 PM
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To better tell the difference between major and minor, listen to some songs that you have in a fake book. Then, look in the fake book at the chord symbols to see if you guessed correctly. In lieu of a fake book, you can find chord progressions to many popular songs online.
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  #63  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:42 PM
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How many scales do you know? Major? Natural Minor? Harmonic Minor? Melodic Minor? You've probably heard of those. What about Whole Tone scales, Diminished scales, or Dorian Minor scales? There are literally hundreds of scales to improve your playing an improvisation.
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  #64  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:44 PM
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Whether you play classical, jazz, rock, or whatever, here is a technique that will give you insight into the mind of the masters:

Take a recording of a renowned pianist playing a song you are learning or already know. Now, try to play along with the recording, EXACTLY as they play. You'll have to start and stop, listen and copy, before you can play the entire thing through with the recording.
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  #65  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:46 PM
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New to jazz charts and playing in a Big Band or combo for the first time? If you see "hash marks" or diagonal lines in the bar with chords above, it simply means to improvise the accompaniment based on the chords written. In a 4/4 measure, you will have 4 hash marks.
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  #66  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:47 PM
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Ever heard of the "two-five-one". It is often typed as ii - V - I. It is simply a chord progression that you will find in almost every jazz standard that is not a blues. In the key of C, the chords of a ii - V - I are D minor, G (or G7), and then C Major. There are many variations on the ii - V - I as well.
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  #67  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:49 PM
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Know the song "I've Got Rhythm" by George Gershwin? Know the chord changes? Well, if you do, you also know the basic chord changes of hundreds of jazz songs. Yes, hundreds, albeit with variations. Now, just learn the changes to "I've Got Rhythm" in each of the 12 keys.
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  #68  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:50 PM
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You'll need to learn ornaments if you'll be playing classical music. Know what a mordent is??? : )
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  #69  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:03 PM
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Being able to hear the distance between any two intervals in your mind before they are played can really open up the possibilities of improvisation. Theoretically if you know what note you just played (F, for example) and you can hear in your mind the interval you want to play in relation to that note ( up a minor 7th for example), then you can figure out what note to strike (Eb in this case).
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  #70  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:07 PM
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Even if you can hear and/ or sing an interval from a given note without it being played for you, you'll find that it gets a lot trickier when you have the key of a given song in your mind. For example, if you've been playing in C major and you hear an A, you may think you are hearing a G or a B. Don't necessarily rely on tunes ("Here Comes the Bride" = up a 4th) as they are tied to the tonality of a particular song.
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  #71  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

You may hear of playing "suspended" chords. This is simply a chord without a third, and possibly without a fifth. The typical "sus" chord consists of the root, fourth, and fifth, such as C, F, and G in the key of C.
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  #72  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:10 PM
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A "closed" voicing has no more chord tones that you could add between the ones you are already playing, while an "open" voicing does!
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  #73  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

A ninth chord typically adds the flat-seventh scale tone and the 9th degree scale tone to a major chord. In the key of C = C, E, G, Bb, D
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  #74  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:15 PM
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The most common chords used in popular music and classical music from the "Classical" era (not baroque, romantic, renaissance, post-modern, etc.) are the I, IV, and V chords (one, four, and five). In the key of C, these are C, F, and G.
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  #75  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:16 PM
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A harmonic interval are two different pitches played together. A melodic interval are two different pitches played separately
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  #76  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:19 PM
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If you hear a chord referred to as a "waterfall chord", it is simply an arpeggio being played from top to bottom, descending, over two or more octaves.
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  #77  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

Most times, when modulating to a new key, you must first make your way to the V or V7 chord of the key you want to end up in. Church organists are masters of this technique. Listen to a protestant church service to hear this technique in action. Most often, it will be done before the final verse of a hymn.
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  #78  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

Learning to transpose on the spot is a valuable tool. You never know when you may be playing with a singer or instrumentalist who can only play the song in a different key due to range or simply the way they learned it. Or, you could be in a group that plays a few songs in non-standard keys.
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  #79  
Old 10-23-2009, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

If you can find ways to enjoy the journey of the learning process, your ability will begin to increase exponentially, assuming you have the time to practice as much as you would like to.
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  #80  
Old 10-23-2009, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Piano Tips

There is nothing wrong with learning a simple riff, passage, or lick that you like. It is musical vocabulary that you can build on. At the same time, try to only use it in a fitting context when performing, even though it can be tempting to play that lick you know so well in Eb in the middle of a solo, even though the chord changes dictate you play in F# minor - it's just not the place for it. That is, unless it sounds right to you!
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