The Musicarta Canon Project Module Nine

Accompaniment with RH Triads

The next step in building your unique Canon performance – and your general keyboard expertise – is to learn to play the right hand triads over the left hand accompaniment. You are coached through a build-up to this performance:

It uses a right hand broken chord pattern you will recognise:

The Musicarta Canon Project is now available as an e-book digital download and on CD-ROM. These skeleton Canon Project web pages are being left on the internet as an expanded Table of Contents, so you can see how much you’ll benefit from purchasing the Canon Project.

To give you the best chance of evaluating the Musicarta Canon Project, you can download the MIDI files for these free-to-view Canon Project web pages. File reference numbers are shown, where applicable, in the right hand audio player table cells.

To play your MIDI files, download MidiPiano here. Learn more about MidiPiano on the Musicarta MidiPiano page. You can also play the MIDI files as basic audio in most media players.

Pachelbel’s Canon is in the key of D major scale. Click through here for a thorough D major refresher course.

This is a nice version and a good achievement, but the combination of left hand and right hand chord tones creates ‘bald spots’ where there are too many roots and fifths coming together, and the listener has to wait too long to hear the third/tenth (the ‘sweet’ note in a triad).

The solution is to re-order the chord tones in the left hand accompaniment pattern. Listen to this improved version:

CPM_M9_06

This is where your hard work drilling the accompaniment pattern chord tones pays off. If Musicarta had just let you learn ‘the accompaniment’ straight off, you’d be starting from scratch all over again.

Note that if you are an aspiring arranger (or have been thrown into the job), this attention to sound detail is vitally important. Practically all professionally produced music you hear has been ‘tweaked’ like this.

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Module Nine of the Canon Project develops the musical shorthand ideas, too. Here’s a totally non-conventional notation of the performance just above:

This is a sketch of how the creative musician maps out a performance in his or her head. You have a ‘template’ and you stick to it. Play the audio file as you look at it – can you see-and-hear how the sketch represents the music?

It looks complicated, but just ‘sitting with the idea’ of mapping out a performance this way develops the creative freedom of knowing what you’re doing, but being able to change it if you want.


Module Nine introduces you to transposing – taking a piece of music and playing it in another key so it sounds higher or lower.

Here is the Canon chord sequence in C major. Can you play it?

Transposing is perhaps the ultimate creative music skill, and sets the really proficient musician apart. Your familiarity with the Canon chord sequence offers a perfect opportunity to start learning to transpose – you know what the Canon chords sound like, so you will easily hear if you go wrong in another key.

There is an open transposing module on the Musicarta site – the Canon Project Transposing mini-series – but learning to transpose as part of your Canon Project study course has additional benefits, which the learning material focuses on. Transposing helps you ‘see’ right into the Canon chord sequence, which helps a lot when you start playing radically different versions of the Canon chord sequence later on.

You don’t have to feel intimidated by the Musicarta transposing material. You can work your way towards being able transpose in a purely practical way, simply by playing the Canon chord sequence repeatedly in, say, four different keys. This makes the ‘internal structure’ of the chord sequence very obvious – and that’s the thing you actually transpose.

Note that you can use MidiPiano (included in your download) to transpose all the Canon Project MIDI performances.

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