This piano lessons online web page is the last in the series of the Musicarta Pyramids Variations online piano lessons pages. If you are looking for keyboard creativity piano lessons online, this page will be of interest to you.
The Pyramids Variations has now been released as a digital download home-study pack comprising a 150-page PDF text file with all the modules replicated on web pages for easy web-based study.
There are 200-plus audio performances of the workbook musical examples, and the home study download comes with MIDI files you can play on the free ‘virtual keyboard’ player included.
Here's an example.
This means you have your own teaching videos to play and repeat at your own speed.
All the build-up modules have keyboard with simultaneous scrolling music manuscript videos, too. Here's the one for the same (Lesson Three) performance.
Ready to give it a go?
The PYRAMIDS VARIATIONS
The Musicarta Pyramids Variations aims to exceed expectations by coaching beginners and re-starters to an impressive ‘Concert Performance’ in just eight lessons. After that, you learn a set of variations which model all the contemporary keyboard player’s knowledge and skills.
Skeleton series web pages like this one have been left on the site to show you how the Pyramids Variations can boost your ability to simply make music at the keyboard.
To understand this page, you should ideally have browsed all the sample pages in the right-hand column series navigation pane. Start your tour here, and follow the bottom-of-page links right through the series, or go to the Pyramids Variations home page for an overview of what it's all about.
The build-up to the Concert Performance is only one part of the Pyramids Variations keyboard creativity programme. It's designed to inspire you by fast-tracking an impressive performance while teaching you music theory basics and getting the building blocks of real-time keyboard harmony comfortably under your fingers.
But the Concert Performance is only one way you can use the Basic Music-making Position to play the Pyramids chord sequence. The rest of the Pyramids Variations workbook explores other ways (twenty or so) of playing the chord sequence which you are already close to mastering.
Here's an example. Can you hear 'what's going on' in terms of texture? How the chord sequence is being played out?
Working through these variations models creative keyboard skills you can apply to any song or chord sequence.
When you know a chord sequence as well as you know Pyramids, you'll find ‘messing around with chords’ much easier. You know, to an extent, ‘what’ to play, leaving you freer to play around with ‘how’ you play it.
Knowing a chord sequence really well offers a great opportunity to practice playing by ear, too. Picking out a melody involves listening closely to how the melody gets from one chord tone to the next – but if you know the chords, your guesswork will only get better.
The PYRAMIDS VARIATIONS
With website audio and video support, the Pyramids Variations provides methodical support for your creative journey, offering pianists of all ages and stages fast-track guidance to a performance beyond expectations and a practical, step-by-step introduction to 'composing at the keyboard'.
How to use this material
If you have worked through the build-up to the Concert Performance in the Pyramids Variations, you know the Pyramids chord sequence well and understand how chord patterns and melody tones bring it to life.
Musicarta hopes you will be able to play these Pyramids variations by ear from the audio files. All the variations are very similar to what you’ve already learned, and clues about how they are constructed are given.
Remember, the emphasis is on ‘having a go’ rather then getting it right. If you end up playing something slightly different which flows and sounds nice, that would be considered a success!
(Note that the written music, audio and MIDI files for all these variations is included in the Pyramids Variations download package.)
Play 10-note LH-over patterns, stopping at the right hand thumb on the way down, for every chord symbol in a 16-bar A1A2 chord chart.
You’re now playing ‘in twelve eight’. The 10-note LH-over pattern leaves two quaver slots vacant. Finish this version by playing:
The following note (the first in the next bar) will be the root of the next chord in the chord sequence, and the variation will sound complete.
The bass line actually used in the version given is this:
The Developing the Bass Line module of the ‘Variations’ section has many spelled-out examples to teach to hear a melody line moving by steps, skips and jumps. You go on to use the same composition technique on the melody-line-on-top in the Descending Variations (see below).
If you take the top note of an A minor root position (BMP) chord up one white key, you get an F first inversion chord.
Because of the regular structure of the Pyramids chord sequence, you can do the same thing on the next two pairs of chords. G becomes E minor, and F becomes D minor.
If you do this in both hands and play up the notes of one bar (chord) and down in the next, and put the simple Pyramids melody on top of everything, you will be playing the following variation. (You will have to think about how it ends!)
You developed the bass line in the twelve-eight LH-over variation (first in this section) by finding attractive ‘in-between’ notes. You can use the same technique on the melody-line-at-the-top, over alternating root position and first inversion descending chords.
Play alternating right hand root position and first inversion chords an octave lower in four-four – four steady chords per chord symbol. Add a little ‘kick’ to the bass line between beats two and three, and some ‘developed bass line’ movements on beats ‘four and’.
Dividing the eight quavers of a bar of four-four into groups of three plus three plus two is a popular and effective technique often used in rock music.
Here are the notes of alternating root position and first inversion chords broken up in this order:
top middle bottom / top middle bottom / middle top
Play the bass line from the previous four-four version under this 3+3+2 pattern.
The circle of fifths is the most powerful harmony generator in music, and is an essential component in jazz and advanced ballad harmony.
The Pyramids chord sequence can be adapted into a circle of fifths construction simply by changing just three bass notes. Here is a 16-bar circle of fifths Pyramids variation.
The following variations all use alternating root position and first inversion chords in pairs. (Remind yourself how this works in the Mixed Inversions section above.) Listen and work out how the following variation samples have been put together, then complete them.
This variation plays the melody in the left hand under right hand root position-alternating-first inversion chords
Here are another three ‘seed’ versions:
Here are two more composing challenges:
Convinced? Pure music creativity material of this quality has never been offered online before and is not available anywhere else!
The PYRAMIDS VARIATIONS
Home-study download comprising a 150-page PDF, 200-plus MIDI files of the musical examples and a free ‘virtual keyboard’ MIDI file player. Study online with audio files of all examples and 50-plus how-to videos. A comprehensive creativity booster for every keyboard player.
Fresh, vibrant Pyramids Variations material is constantly finding its way onto the site - and into updates available to Pyramids Variations purchasers.
The new variations are initially called 'Pyramids Diaries' and usually appear first on the Mister Musicarta YouTube TPV Diaries playlist.
If you've worked through the workbook, you'll probably be able to pick these variations up by ear - a great way to keep your musical flame alive and your skills growing.
Notice the invitation to subscribe to the Musicarta RSS feed above - the painless way to keep up to date.