“Type B” Rootless Chord Voicings for Piano “Rootless voicings” on piano (especially for left-hand support) are great for handling big jazz chords that normally can’t be covered by one hand alone. This video tutorial shows… More
Today I’m happy to present the next lesson in my ongoing course, Chords 108.
Class Audience: Any musician who’s struggling to memorize the individual notes to all those dang chords on piano or keyboards, and looking for a solution.
Today: Learn how to immediately call up the notes to any of the twelve minor chords on a keyboard — without having to rely on rote memory. This lesson applies to all twelve minor seventh chords as well.
Coming next: Dominant seventh chords.
*This series is currently FREE to the public, but will soon be a premium members-only course. Our members keep this site alive, and 100% ad-free. Thanks to all!
In response to student requests for sheet music illustrating licks from my video course, A Study in Blues Piano: Focusing on 12 Licks, I have so far created notation for several of the licks.
Today, I have another sheet for you, which I hope will also be helpful.
Remember, sheet music materials are completely OPTIONAL for this class. Blues is an improvisational art form!
How’s yo blues?
I’ve had requests for piano notation covering the blues licks in my course, A Study in Blues Piano.
That course is video-based, and teaches from a chord-based improvisation point of view.
I sometimes resist providing notation for improvisation-focused courses, because it can almost promote blind imitation, rather than creative playing.
That said, I’ve had a couple of convincing requests lately from students who wanted to have sheet music to supplement this class. As a result, I’ve decided to provide notation for several of the licks, plus notation for a complete blues piano solo (featuring licks from the course).
Here’s a downloadable PDF file for Lick #1, “Energy.”
Learn the essential elements of improvising blues piano, including the (minor) Blues Scale, the 12-bar Blues pattern, left-hand grooves, coordination exercises, and plenty of raw material for your own licks.
My goal is for you to start improvising great blues solos!
Although most of this course is in the key of C, there is a detailed lesson that covers transposing the blues scale, and the 12-bar blues progression, into other keys.
Is this what you’re looking for?
Students taking this course should be interested in learning blues improvisation. Improvisation in blues usually has an underlying structure, a key center, and a chord progression that is being followed. The rhythm and the chords give us that beautiful sense of a distinct groove, and the soloists do their thing “on top of” that. In this course, you will learn the basic structural stuff, but you will also be given (taught) the popular raw materials for creating blues licks and melodies in general. It will be your job to turn those raw materials into original licks. I can give you expert guidance, hints and tips and raw material, which I do, but in the end, it’s your solo! That’s the beauty of studying improvisation. You get to own it.
Blues-inspired improvisation is at the core of, and will always have an influence on, countless musical genres. The blues scales, blues chord progressions, the “Blue Notes”…these are staples of so much great rock, hip-hop, jazz, country, gospel, and so on. That’s just to name a few of the mega-genres that have “blue blood” in their veins!
We can either forget about, or fail to recognize, the blues roots in so much contemporary music, but it’s everywhere.
So, back to the question, “Is this what you’re looking for,” I would suggest “yes,” because you read this far, still hanging in, after reading what’s what, so therefore you might like the class. That may be an odd conclusion.
Preview: To help you get an idea of how these videos might work for you, Lesson #4 (link below) is currently watchable as a full lesson preview.
Recommended knowledge or experience
- You will need NO ability to read music (true for this particular course, and for most lessons on this site).
- Knowing the names of the notes on your keyboard (like E, F#, G) is helpful in this class, but is not absolutely required.
- We do start out hoping you already play “a bit of piano.”
- Musicians who are already experienced with another instrument, including blues guitar, can benefit from this course as well. That is, you could potentially (1) pick up some keyboard skills and/or (2) learn new theory stuff and/or (3) get new ideas.
Helpful Course Documents
(Click document’s image below to download or view.)
The Complete Course (video pages w/ text intros)
- Attention visitors: Lesson #4 is available as a full lesson preview.
end of list (all core lessons)
Today’s sheet music offering is free to both members and visitors.
This is the beautiful gospel spiritual called Amazing Grace. It’s an easy arrangement for solo piano. Each note is labeled with its musical letter name.
Peace to All,
Here’s more sheet music to help you get ready for Christmas (if you’re interested, of course).
Yes, it’s only September, but I wanted you to have this stuff early, so you can practice and prepare.
This one is the beautiful song called O Holy Night.
As usual, the notes are labeled with letters.
MEMBERS: Here’s a new custom sheet, Prelude in C by Bach, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One. Prelude in C is an extremely popular piece that will never lose its appeal to piano players and listeners alike.
This sheet music has each note labeled with its musical letter-name, such as E, D#, A… Some markings (dynamics, etc.) have been omitted to make room for the added letters.
You can read about the pros and cons of marking in letters on sheet music, here.
(*Non-members can sign-up via this same link).
Which interval is pictured above?
(a) Diminished Seventh.
(b) Minor Sixth.
(c) Augmented Fifth.
(d) Both A and C are correct, with name depending on the implied key center. They sound the same, by either name.
(e) Both B and C are correct, with name depending on the implied key center. They sound the same, by either name.
(f) The famous “Lost Interval of Egypt.”
THE CORRECT ANSWER is….
THIS ARTICLE IS RATED GEEK+
In the film Bohemian Rhapsody, there’s a scene where Queen’s guitarist Brian May is pitching his song We Will Rock You to the band (film clip is below).
He says, “…now, I want you to clap on the third beat.” Of course, this is a movie, and I have no idea if he really said it like that.
Regardless, I’m using this scene as a fun starting point to talk briefly about counting rhythm.
Fact is, when We Will Rock You is counted in the regular way, the beat looks like this:
The completely natural (and intuitive, and correct) way that most people would count this song is:
Fellow Theory Geeks,
Even among some good musicians, music theory is occasionally regarded as more of a “nice to know” thing. Interesting place to visit, but they don’t want to hang around too long.
By contrast, I am shameless enough – dare I say, proud enough – to put forth that I am a music theory GEEK. I like staying “all up in theory land,” and often.
Music theory teaches us WHAT works, and also what CAN WORK. And, if it AIN’T WORKING, it’s usually easier to know WHY, because you possess a systematic command of how rhythm, melody, and harmony work together.
Notice I put rhythm first. Too often neglected — but I put it first in my musical thinking. More on that in other posts.
OK…If you’ve read this far, I guess we have a quorum! Two geeks is always a quorum in my experience. Partly because it’s so hard to find a third geek, on short notice. Anyway welcome, can I get you some coffee? Orange Julius?*
Easy Piano: ‘Deck the Halls’ with labeled letter-notes
As stated in my previous post:
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to learn several Christmas and holiday tunes, in time for family and friends gathering around the piano with eggnog and cookies, demanding that you play some holiday stuff.
Let’s make them happy this year!
Today, in order to get keep that project going (that is, building up your easy holiday repertoire), I’ve written and posted an exclusive arrangement of ‘Deck the Halls.’
“…Another exclusive perk for PWK’s supporting members!”
— Abraham Lincoln
EASY AS PIE TO READ: This arrangement has each note’s musical letter-name labeled.
MEMBERS: There will be more holiday songs and pieces coming from Kent — watch for those easy labeled sheets over the coming months!
NOTE: PWK’s ‘letter-note’ sheets are primarily for people who are not currently taking private lessons — especially adults who’ve had past experience reading music, but who might have forgotten “the details.”
Member download price = FREE
If you want time to learn holiday songs by December, then let’s get to it…Here’s a great one to start with.
Easy Adult Piano: ‘Carol of the Bells’ with labeled letter-notes
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to learn several Christmas and holiday tunes, in time for family and friends gathering around the piano with eggnog and cookies, demanding that you play some holiday stuff. You know how these people can get really insistent. Downright pushy, even. If you play piano at all, then you know what I’m talking about.
So let’s make them happy this year! I’ve got some easy ones for you.
Today, in order to get you started on building that easy holiday repertoire, I’ve written and posted an exclusive arrangement of ‘Carol of the Bells’ as my latest perk for PWK’s supporting members.
EASY AS PIE TO READ: This arrangement has each note’s musical letter-name labeled.
MEMBERS: There will be more songs and pieces provided for your holiday pleasure — watch for these labeled sheets over the coming weeks and months!
“You can learn this one really quickly, I’ll bet!”
— Imaginary Dude.
“I learned it fast!”
— Probably Somebody Has Said This.
“I learned it in three seconds!”
— Not Sure If Anyone Has Said That.
NOTE: PWK’s ‘letter-note’ sheets are primarily for adults who are not currently taking private lessons — especially for those who’ve had past experience reading music, but who might have forgotten the details.