'Longing' - piano solo

(formerly 'Key Chords Diaries - Suspensions')

Suspensions are a great way to get more out of any chords you know, and this page offers some teaching notes on the new Musicarta digital sheet music piano solo, 'Longing'

Here is the performance video.

If you prefer, you can watch it on YouTube.


This piano solos is now for sale as a digital sheet music download. You get the professionally laid-out music, correctly annotated to cement your understanding of suspensions, the MIDI file of the performance which you can play on the MidiPiano virtual keyboard app (included - Windows OS), the audio - and a selection of bonus goodies.

Intermediate level (left hand leaps etc.) - check suitability with the video above.


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  The chord sequence

  Musical 'form'

Noticing the ‘form’ (structure) of music makes it easier to remember and puts you more in charge. Notice that the letters ‘A’ and ‘B’ have nothing to do with notes or chords. ‘AABA’ simply means:

  • This piece is in four parts.
  • The first, second and last parts are the same (or very similar), and
  • The third part (‘the B strain’) is significantly different.

Notice that the parts of an AABA-form song are often called ‘strains’ – ‘the A strain’, ‘the B strain’, etc., particularly in jazz. The 32-bar AABA song form (which this Key Chords Diaries variation follows) is the form of the ‘jazz standard’ and thousands of other popular songs. It’s a form we instinctively find satisfying.

  Recognising and describing suspensions

Suspensions are indicated with numbers ‘above the root’ (4–3, etc.). Therefore, you need to know which note the root is. The root is the name-note of the chord and therefore the letter in the chord symbol. You can get somewhere just counting note-letter-names. E.g, for G7sus4 or G (4–3) you would want to count four notes up from G (with G as 1 – all the notes in an interval are counted):

G–A–B–C

C is the non-chord tone you play. It’s the third (B), suspended, and B is where it will fall back to.

But looking at written-out music, you want rather to be able to identify which note of a triad (as a shape) the root is.

In a triad, the root is

  • the bottom note of a root position chord (circle symbol);
  • the top note of a first inversion chord (triangle symbol); and
  • the middle note of a second inversion chord (square symbol).

The roots of chords are arrowed in the chord charts below.

Learning methodically

It will pay you to learn the plain, underlying chords thoroughly before applying the suspensions. Here are the ‘A’ and ‘B’ strains, plain and with suspensions.

  ‘A’ strains (bars 1–8, 9–16 and 25–32) Plain chords

(The audio files in this 'how-to' section play through the music twice, for prctice purposes.)

  ‘A’ strains Chords with suspensions

Learn the melody as a separate item. The melody notes are sometimes above, sometimes below and sometimes actually inside the supporting chord, so it's important that you know the tune so you can make it stand out.

  ‘B’ strain (bars 17–24) – Plain chords

Apart from the last chord and a tweak to the F, they're the same as the A strain chords. It's the suspensions that make it different.

The chords without the circle/square/triangle ssymbols are 'non-standard'. Look out also for root arrows pointing at empty spaces.

  ‘B’ strain (bars 17–24) – Chords with suspensions

Get the music and make it happen!

'Longing'

Suspensions offer a great way to get more out of the chords you know, and add a real emotional charge to music. This passionate solo is fully annotated to cement your understanding.

Music (2pp. PDF), audio + MIDI + player, flashcards, bonus track. 4MB.
only $3.95
Buy Now
Watch it on YouTube.

Only Am, F, G and C chords are used in this piece. In the Roman numeral chords-in-any-key system, these are vi, IV, V and I (in C). These four ‘key chords’ are the ones most likely to crop up in a pop song, and they’re also the four chords covered in the Musicarta Key Chords Volume 1 keyboard creativity home study digital download, now available at only $14.95 from musicarta dot com.

If you want to get your hands round chords, these are the ones you should start with. Read more in the following section.

 Musicarta digital home study downloads

Do you enjoy learning keyboards like this? Musicarta has released three digital home study packs designed to structure your efforts, maximise your progress and give a boost to your creative music-making!

Each package comprises:

  • An illustration-rich PDF workbook of around 150 pages;
  • The audio and MIDI files for all the musical examples;
  • The MidiPiano application (to play the MIDI files); and
  • Drum and/or instrumental backing tracks to support you practicing and inspire your improvisations. (See individual product specs for variations.)

The three Musicarta keyboard creativity downloads are:

KEY CHORDS Vol. 1

Musicarta Key Chords builds your chord vocabulary by introducing the chords you are most likely to come across in any song. You practice the chord changes in contemporary riffs (drum backing tracks are included), with easy step-by-step rhythmic build-up of impressive keyboard syncopation.

Key Chords Vol.1
Get the download
for only $14.95
Buy Now

LEARN MORE!
Now available from Amazon Books
Click through to the Key Chords Vol.1 YouTube playlist here

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.

Pyramids Variations cover
Get the download
for only $14.95
Buy Now

LEARN MORE!
Video-rich course (100+ videos). Also from Udemy and Skillshare.
Click through to the
Pyramids Variations YouTube playlist here.

The CANON PROJECT

Pachelbel’s Canon in D is perhaps the most famous chord sequence of all time, and the basis of dozens of popular hits. If you can play and understand the Canon chord sequence, there isn’t much in popular music harmony you won’t be able to figure out! Its regular structure also makes it a great springboard for improvising and composition.

Canon Project cover
Get the download
for only $14.95
Buy Now

LEARN MORE!
Now available from Amazon Books
Click through to the Canon Project YouTube playlist here

Click through to the various download home pages using the ‘LEARN MORE’ links. There are sample content pages to help you decide which home study pack would suit you best. All the Musicarta home study downloads are designed to help you enjoy becoming a creative modern keyboard player!

Good value? Please

and keep free Musicarta online!


'Longing' - learning the left hand part

The left hand part has leaps between a bass note and the notes of a chord, itself broken. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you:

  • Squash the broken chord back into line and learn them that way; and
  • Practice the left hand leaps with the unbroken chords first.

You can see the left hand material referred to in the bottom keyboard of this four-layer MidiPiano performance of the piece.

If you prefer, you can watch this on YouTube

The top keyboard shows the RH chords without suspensions; the next one down shows the suspensions; the second keyboard up shows the actual performance.

Here is the MS of what and how to practice.

  Left hand part ‘A’ strain

The essential thing is to get your hand up from the bass note and over the chords quickly and accurately.

For the last four bars of the study, play the bass notes an octave lower than shown.

  Left hand part - 'B' strain

Don’t be foxed by those low, low bass notes! Bass notes are always the note named in the chord symbol (A, E, G etc.) unless otherwise indicated – by a ‘slash chord’ symbol, for example.

Added chord tones

A figure following the letter in a chord symbol indicates that another note has been added to the three chord tones (root, third, fifth) usually used. The note is counted up from the root (name-note), ‘inclusively’ – that is, counting the name-note as ‘1’.

You count letter-names, but you must apply the key signature of the chord’s root, NOT of the key your playing in.

‘F6’ is relatively easy. You count F–G–A–B¨–C–D, so D is the added note, which is not affected by the F major key signature and so is still a white key. ‘F6’ will always have an added D natural, regardless of the key of the piece.

But if you saw, say, ‘A6’, you’d have to count up the A major scale: A–B–Cí–D–E–Fí, and the added note would be black-key F sharp.

[Don’t know your scales so well? Quick-link
through to the Musicarta Scales page.]

This rule applies to the numbering of suspensions, too. In bar 18, you see the chord symbol F (#4–3). Why the sharp in front of the 4? Because ‘4’, for the F chord, is the fourth note up of the F major scale (even though we’re in C), which would be a B flat. But a B natural is required, so we’ve had to ‘sharp’ (raise by a semi-tone) the 4 for accuracy.

The exception to this apply-the-key-signature rule is ‘7’, which does not indicate the seventh note of the major scale of the chord name-note, but the ‘dominant seventh’ – the flattened seventh, the note a semi-tone below the major seventh or a whole tone below the chord root.

So the added note in G7 is F, not F sharp (the seventh note of the G major scale).

The added note in C7 is B flat, not B natural (the seventh note of the C major scale), and so on.

[Want to know more about seventh chords? Quick-link
through to the Musicarta Seventh Chords page.]

One last point. You don’t always see four different notes in an ‘added tone’ (F6, G7) chord. sometimes the added note is played instead of a regular chord tone to avoid harmonic ‘clutter’.

In this study. the left hand F6 and G7 chords are both three-note chords – the chord tone fifth has been dropped in both cases.

'Longing'

Suspensions offer a great way to get more out of the chords you know, and add a real emotional charge to music. This passionate solo is fully annotated to cement your understanding.

Music (2pp. PDF), audio + MIDI + player, flashcards, bonus track. 4MB.
only $3.95
Buy Now
Watch it on YouTube.

A different arrangement

You might not need or want to play a full piano solo version of this Musicarta chord study. With an electronic keyboard, for example, you can play a version with ‘pad’ chords in the left hand and a solo voice playing the sus-res tune.

Here’s a possible arrangement:

If you prefer, you can watch it on YouTube.

Here's the audio-only:

Here's the A strain of that arrangement, played on the piano (where it's easier to hear the individual parts):

In the Musicarta suggestion, the right hand has gone up an octave. Because the left hand is now playing plain block chords, the right hand is filling in some of the quaver slots notes from the underlying ‘plain’ chords.

If you’re working this out yourself, your left hand chords will probably start on an A minor root-position chord and move smoothly and musically to nearest-inversion chords after that. Study the left hand part of the arrangement to see how.

Here’s a suggestion for the B strain:

The melody is in octaves, with chord tones between. Try to ‘get the general idea’ and run with it, not rely on the dots!


This is the end of this section of the Musicarta Suspensions mini-series. Catch up with the 'Practice Suspensions Riff' module if you haven't already worked through it.

The original material in this module comes from the Musicarta Key Chords Volume One home study download.

KEY CHORDS Vol. 1

Musicarta Key Chords builds your chord vocabulary by introducing the chords you are most likely to come across in any song. You practice the chord changes in contemporary riffs (drum backing tracks are included), with easy step-by-step rhythmic build-up of impressive keyboard syncopation.

Key Chords Vol.1
Get the download
for only $14.95
Buy Now

LEARN MORE!
Now available from Amazon Books
Click through to the Key Chords Vol.1 YouTube playlist here

Musicarta home study downloads are a great way to get your fingers round the chords and rhythms of popular music keyboard styles. Get yourself on a programme now!

The Musicarta 'Suspensions' mini-series is being added to daily. Check in regularly to see what's new. Get the site RSS feed (box in left hand column) and subscribe to the Musicarta newsletter for hassle-free updates.

The original 'Suspensions' Key Chords Diaries entry (piece covered on this web page) has now been released as the Musicarta digital sheet music download - 'Longing'. Get the full music and use these free teaching notes to speed this lovely piece into your repertoire.

'Longing'

Suspensions offer a great way to get more out of the chords you know, and add a real emotional charge to music. This passionate solo is fully annotated to cement your understanding.

Music (2pp. PDF), audio + MIDI + player, flashcards, bonus track. 4MB.
only $3.95
Buy Now
Watch it on YouTube.

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Try two Musicarta Pyramids Variations video lessons on Skillshare absolutely free. Use these links to Lesson One and Lesson Two and watch your keyboards skills grow – and get three months' Skillshare Premium membership for less than a dollar!

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