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Musicarta teaches musical creativity at the keyboard through a combination of usable music theory, easily understood keyboard textures and coached modern syncopation skills.
The eleven pieces in Musicarta Piano Solos Volume 1 spring directly from this approach. Some of the pieces are taken directly from Musicarta’s three major home-study programmes (The Pyramids Variations, the Musicarta Easy Piano Style and Key Chords Vol. 1).
The digital download of Piano Solos Vol.1 comprises a 50-page PDF album/work-book, along with audio tracks of the compositions and MIDI files of the volume entries with the MidiPiano virtual keyboard (Windows OS) to play them on. Each solo has a couple of pages of notes explaining how the music is put together and offering useful practicing advice. Level ranges from easy-intermediate to intermediate-advanced.
In addition, most of the entries have video counterparts on the MisterMusicarta YouTube channel, so learners can watch a performance and get an overall view of the hand patterning they are aiming for. Taken together, these three parallel additional resources offer even elementary readers a good chance of learning these solos.
Index of first lines
Pyramids (16-bar version)
The first two pieces in the collection come from Musicarta’s Pyramids Variations series of keyboard creativity lessons. The music you make in Pyramids is generated from a keyboard ‘basic music-nuking position’ (see the illustration on the series home page), which offers a no-fuss way of playing (and playing around with!) a chord sequence. This first version has added melody notes to a simple sixteen-bar chord sequence.
Pyramids (32-bar version)
The second version of Pyramids has been extended to 32-bar length with the addition of some new B-section chords, and the melody developed with the squeezing-in of an in-between note and a rhythmic ‘tweak’. These two stages of the build-up to the Pyramids ‘Concert Performance’ demonstrate a process of composing at the keyboard, and illustrate how developing simple basic material can get you further, faster.
A Sad Parting
This lyrical piece recycles the Pyramids chord sequence in a different time signature, and originally appeared as a ‘Pyramids Diary’ (ongoing exploration) entry on Mister Musicarta YouTube. Harmonic developments include slash chords, added chord tones and suspensions, while the broken-chord left hand offers another model for playing the underlying chords of any composition or improvisation.
Longing picks up the Sad Parting suspensions
theme. Suspensions (playing non-chord tones on the beat) are an excellent way
of adding emotion to a piece – as the tile suggests – and of just getting more
out of any chord sequence. Learning methodically is the theme of the supporting
study notes, and the suspensions are fully marked up in the MS so you learn as
you play. Harmonically, the piece is built on chords One, Four, Five and Six (I,
IV, V, vi in the Roman numeral ‘chords in any key’ system) – the four chords
you most need to know to play popular music fluently.
Musicarta piano solo home-study digital downloads are an excellent way to get contemporary keyboard pieces into your repertoire quickly and easily.
The downloads contains the music itself (PDF file), the audio file (mp3), the MIDI
file of the piece for you to play on the MidiPiano virtual keyboard (included) or Synthesia –
which turn MIDI files into mini how-to videos – plus a folder of assorted ‘bonus
Some of these pieces have individual web pages with additional background and teaching notes – see links beneath entries.
‘Try before you buy’ using the video/audio previews.
Piano Solos Volume 1 is a collection of eleven solos from across the Musicarta spectrum. Each solo has a couple of pages of notes explaining how the music is put together and offering useful practicing advice. Easy-inter to inter-advanced solos with audio and MIDI files and player and a 50-page PDF (A4/US Letter).
The Scene Changes
The Scene Changes, like A Sad Parting, is
built on chords I, IV, V and vi – the four chords you’re most likely to come
across in any piece of Western pop or classical music, and the focus of
Musicarta’s Key Chords Volume One digital home study download, which offers a
methodical approach to building your creative chord vocabulary. The Scene
Changes moves out of all-white-key territory into the key of B flat, and the
study notes introduce Musicarta’s inversion symbols and voice movement
diagrams, two indispensable ways of mastering long strings of triads.
|You are browsing the first lines of Musicarta Piano Solos Volume 1 – a collection of eleven piano solos from Musicarta which offers an excellent opportunity to master quality modern piano-playing and improve your understanding of composition and improvisation techniques. Each solo has a couple of pages of notes explaining how the music is put together and offering useful practicing advice.|
The digital download of Piano Solos Volume 1 includes audio tracks of the compositions and MIDI files of the volume entries with the MidiPiano virtual keyboard (Windows OS) to play them on. Along with the performance videos on the MisterMusicarta YouTube channel, these resources offer even elementary readers a great chance to these attractive modern solos.
The Cowboy Roll
The Cowboy Roll is a ‘12-bar’ – an example of the musical form that underpins a vast amount of Western popular music, from straight blues and boogie-woogie through rock’n’roll and thousands of pop songs and on to heavy metal.
The Cowboy Roll also introduces ‘swing quavers’ – the loping-along rhythm that passed from the blues into much of jazz and blues-influenced pop instrumental music. The study notes include detailed exercises for tackling that tricky syncopation – which always takes a few goes to get right!
Understanding the 12-bar form is essential for the modern
popular-styles keyboard player. The Cowboy Roll comes form the Musicarta 12-bar Styles Workbook - click through for an overview.
Southern Comfort continues the ‘swing quaver’ feel, and illustrates how you can make music from just a simple triad by taking the third (chord tone) up an octave to make a ‘tenth’. The third, its inversion the sixth and the tenth are the sweetest pairs of notes (intervals) on the keyboard, and if you’re just ‘doodling’, these are the pairs to aim for. ‘Walking tenths’ – pairs of these notes progressing in parallel up and down – form the basis of lots of pleasant, simple music. Teaching notes again help identify and learn the ‘skeleton music’ the piece is based on – a key element of creative music-making.
As you can see in the first line of music (above) Ever True is also based on the ‘triad in open position’ used in Southern Comfort (with the third above the root and fifth), but adds the octave to make a four-note basis for your improvisations and compositions. Ever True is the first ‘modal’ piece in this volume of solos – its three chords A minor, G and F majors come from a set of chords called the Aeolian mode. Modes are an old key system still used in folk music, some pop, and in funk jazz. Ever True has a three-part ABA structure. The left hand gets more difficult in the middle section, but you can easily skip that part if you need to and still have a playable smaller-scale solo.
The Next Day
The root-fifth-octave left hand is plain to see in the first-line excerpt of this little piece. The Next Day features another common pop-classical device: three rotating right hand notes over a four-note left hand pattern. The added non-chord tone is the ninth (second), the scale tone most likely to be added to the three usual chord tones in modern popular-classical (‘New Age’) music. The main chord sequence is circle-of-fifths construction, the next level of harmonic sophistication up from the now-familiar I–vi–IV–V chord grouping, while the middle section of the ABA form features a walking tenths device similar to those in previous pieces.
The Sentinel's Report
The Sentinel’s Report revisits the Aeolian mode. The right hand plays only inversions of G minor and F major chords, broken up top-bottom-middle-top throughout, but more exotic harmonies are introduced with the powerful ‘mediant substitution’ technique, which lowers the bass a third to produce a variety of seventh chords. The two modal pieces in this volume – Ever True and The Sentinel’s Report – form an excellent introduction to modes, which produce interesting and vital harmonies, and are examined in depth in the Musicarta Modes series of online work modules,
Chords For Carl
Chords for Carl is an example of Musicarta’s signature ‘left-hand-over’ style. The right hand plays a melody and the accompanying broken chord, while the left hand plays the bass note and a left-hand-over note to fill out the harmony – and for show!
Mariaan and Chords for Carl are both available as thorough-going teach-yourself downloads to help you master this impressive and versatile keyboard texture.
Musicarta PIANO SOLOS Volume 1
Piano Solos Volume 1 is a collection of eleven solos from across the Musicarta spectrum. Each solo has brief notes explaining how the music is put together and offering useful practicing advice. Level: easy-intermediate to intermediated-advanced. Comes with audio and MIDI supporting files of all pieces and MidiPiano (Windows OS) Virtual keyboard MIDI player. 50pp (25 pp MS) A4 – will print to US Letter also.
Musicarta’s broken-chord-with-a-LH-over-note pattern is a versatile off-the-shelf way of playing chords. The full 'Chords for Carl' and 'Mariaan' teach-yourself packages cover the ground in detail (‘lite’ solos also available) – now this beautiful old favourite gets the treatment.
To thank YOU for
choosing Musicarta, the sheet
music is available free – follow the link to download
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Piano Solos at Musicarta
The MusicartaA methodical approach to keyboard syncopation for