MUSICARTA CHORD FINDER PAGE
On this Musicarta Chord Finder page, you can find out how Musicarta can help you find and play chords on your piano/keyboard. Every modern keyboard player should be able to find and play chords as easily as a guitarist, and be as capable of playing an accompaniment or supporting a melody with the right inversions.
You will get advice on what you need to know and what to do first. But please go right ahead and click around to see what’s in store before you link through to the various modules and get to work!
Latest! Focus on SUSPENSIONS
Suspensions are a great way of getting more out of your chords, as well as being an attractive and unmistakeable component of a thousand pop hits.
Get the low down on the new Suspensions page. There's a temporary 'hot page' navbar tab for anywhere-anytime site access.
There are six new Mister Musicarta YouTube videos on the subject and a Suspensions YouTube Suspensions playlist has been created. Make suspensions your focus for a week (month!) or two, and your creative music-making is bound to take a great leap forward.
There are three simple triad shapes – root position, first inversion and second inversion. Bottom line: a good modern-styles musician, playing in a particular key, will be able to find these three shapes – using that key’s scale tones – either built on or hanging down from any of the key’s scale tones, ‘just like that’.
The triad shapes drill is the kind of exercise you would use to make sure you can do that. The challenge, initially, is simply to keep going and getting it right, but when you come to play the drill in the sharp and flat keys, it becomes much more about knowing your keys, and getting to the notes whatever it takes.
Anybody who aspires to ‘just sit down and play’ should work through this drill a few times. With enough work, you will hear the notes before you play them – the foundation of all playing by ear. Click through here to the Musicarta page (recommended – text plus embedded YouTube video); click through here straight to the YouTube video at Mister Musicarta YouTube.
NOTE: This drill is to be played in all keys! Traditional teaching assumes that,if you can play the scale of a key, you know it. But trying running this triad shapes drill in, say, E major (staple in the pop world), and see if you can get your fingers to the chords you need. If you use this drill enough, your FINGERS will know the keys!
This one-page standalone module, extracted from the Musicarta Canon Project (now available
as a digital download) but ‘public domain', like all the Canon Project Supplements, gives an in-a-nutshell explanation of major and minor triads.
If you’re self-directing or simply curious, this is a good place to start learning about chords. If you’re working through the Canon Project, you’ll find a version of this material in your PDF, where it complements and illuminates the chords of the Canon sequence. Also a useful off-the-shelf teaching module for teachers.
Keyboard musicians who aim to be able to ‘just sit down and play’ need to know this material inside out, and will find this module a good opportunity to refresh and consolidate their knowledge.
Click through here to the Major and Minor Chords module.
Accompaniment Practice Patterns
Most pieces of music have a musical ‘background’ which supports the melody. In solo keyboard styles, the left hand often supplies this supporting texture, and the successful modern keyboard player needs to be able to devise these accompaniment patterns, often from chord symbols alone – and ‘on the fly’!
Accompaniment patterns can easily be made from the root, the third and the fifth of the chord, but they have to practised until they’re ‘practically automatic’ and carry on coming regardless of what the right hand is playing. This Musicarta collection of accompaniment practice patterns will show you how to build them and practice them, using the chords of the Pachelbel Canon in D.
It’s a Musicarta adage that learning to be a really useful musician has more in common with going to the gym than we’d like to think. Click through to the new Accompaniment Practice Patterns module now, and get in training!
The Keyboard Chord Generator
The Musicarta Keyboard Chord Generator is a two-page visual chord dictionary which groups the 24 major and minor triads according to how they look, in terms of the black and white keys used.
This new approach helps fast-track you to ‘seeing’ the chords you need right there in the keyboard. Open the two-page pdf file for a taster and go to the Musicarta Keyboard Chord Generator page
for an explanation and ways of getting the most out of this great tool.
Chord Progressions - I, IV and V in Three Places
'One, Four and Five' (I, IV and V) - the three chords you really need to know in every key. C, F and G; E, A and B - these groups of three related chords form the basis of most popular music. Guitarists learn these groups of chords from the start - why not you?
Here's a short video demo of the 'Big Three' played on MidiPiano, Musicarta's recommended virtual keyboard. You're sure to recognise them!
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Click through to the Musicarta MidiPiano page here to find out how this simple free application can halve the time it takes to get to grips with chords at the keyboard.
- Chord Progressions (6) introduces the ‘relative minor’ chord “vi” ("Six”) – A minor in the key of C, E minor in key G. Another huge piece of the jigsaw falls into place! The series goes on to include all the KEY CHORDS you need to know to become a proficient modern keyboard player.
The Chord Progressions series also offers an easy introduction to the powerful Roman numeral system (RNS) of naming chords, which every serious popular music student should know.
Seventh chords make music sound interesting - jazz and all sophisticated popular music used them a lot. Whether you’re interested in music theory or not, you need to be able to find the five types of seventh chord from chord symbols, 'just like that'.
Seventh chords are not easy, but you can learn them if you're methodical. Musicarta's Seventh Chords page offers a drill which will set you on the right track.
Here's a sample of what you'll be doing:
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Not pretty, but practical! Click through to the Seventh Chords page and make a start on those seventh chords right away.
The Seventh Chords page has MIDI support. If you don't already know about it, click through to the Musicarta MidiPiano page here to find out how this simple free application can help you learn.
Even the most basic chord appears in three guises! It can be turned upside down ('inverted') so any of its three notes is at the top.
In popular music, the keyboard player often plays the melody note at the top of a three-note right hand chord (triad). These chords are more likely to be inversions then the basic easy-to-recognize root position chord - the other inversions are nicer on the ear.
So you need to be able to make inversions from the more familiar root position chord, from a chord symbol, and not on a 'wait a minute...' basis, but RIGHT NOW!
Here's a demonstration video of a simple Musicarta inversions drill which is guaranteed to get you there.
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The Musicarta Inversions series has MIDI support. If you don't already know about MIDI and Musicarta's recommended MidiPiano virtual keyboard, click through to the Musicarta MidiPiano page here to find out how this simple free application can help you learn. (The hands are even colour-coded!)
Click through to the first module in the Musicarta Inversions mini-series and discover the most efficient way to work towards lightning-fast triad mastery.
Broken chord patterns are where you practice your inversions. Your right hand climbs up and down the keyboard getting the feel of the inversions while your ear absorbs their sound.
Time spent practising broken chords is never wasted. Traditional piano lessons usually cover broken chord patterns but only as an exam requirement, and without really exploring how close broken chord pattern are to 'real music'.
Here's the inversions practice pattern from the video above played as a broken chord pattern, with a short example of how easily a broken chord pattern can become 'real music'.
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That's a pretty hectic 'example'! Click through to the first Musicarta Broken Chords page for a much gentler introduction and some basic broken chord practice patterns to get started with.
The Roman numeral system of naming chords takes you to the heart of how music works. It lays bare the mechanics of harmony, since it talks about chords ‘in all keys at once’. The Roman numeral system is simple and logical and not too difficult for beginner-to-intermediate pupils.
Because the Roman numeral system designates ‘the chords in all keys’, it is central to the business of transposing (changing the key of a piece of music to raise or lower its pitch). You will find Musicarta’s description of the Roman numeral system of naming chords in Part One of the Musicarta Canon Project ‘Transposing’ mini-series
To help familiarise you with the Roman numeral system (RNS), the Musicarta Chord Progressions series is written using both RNS and conventional chord symbols. Link through for a look at the series here.
Transposing (changing the key of a piece of music in your head) is a key professional musical skill. Transposing is easier than you might think, and younger pupils’ ability to learn to transpose is generally underestimated. The spin-off in general musicality of regular practise in transposing is significant.
The familiar and well-loved Canon chord sequence offers an ideal opportunity for learning to transpose, and Musicarta’s transposing material focuses on the Canon chord sequence. The Roman numeral system of naming chords, also, is central to learning to transpose, and is covered in the Musicarta Canon Project Transposing Mini-series also.
Click on the Transposing tab on the navbar, left, for a brief overview of transposing, or click through to the Canon Transposing Mini-series here.
This Musicarta Chord Finder page is a section directory page. Visit regularly to keep up with the latest additions and subscribe to the RSS feed (LH column, under the navbar) for automatic notification.
The Musicarta Chord Finder page is part of Musicarta.com, your online piano teacher. Visit the Musicarta home page for more chord finder related free online piano lessons.
The Pyramids Variations is Musicarta’s flagship series of free piano lessons online. It explains basic music theory and builds up to an impressive chord-based performance in eight lessons. Click through to the Pyramids Variations home page to get started.
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