Blues Piano Crash Course #9: The Melody Machine

PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).

Lesson #9  (video) “The Melody Machine”

This thing I like to call the  “melody machine” is by no means a new technique for creating strong melodies. Singers, composers and improvisers have built melodies this way forever.  In a nutshell, it’s a specific way of using the underlying chord progression as a “generator” of melodic material.

Sometimes this “melody generating” concept doesn’t get enough of a spotlight. By spotlight, I mean pointing it out and teaching it, in places where students can fully appreciate the power of the results.

So here’s a great place for that spotlight:  the art and science of creating powerful blues licks!

Continue reading “Blues Piano Crash Course #9: The Melody Machine”

Visual Catalog of 108+ Piano Chords

108 Piano Chords

Here’s an interactive  eBook that I put together as a reference for my Piano Chords 108 series.

 

IMPORTANT:

This book can serve as a stand-alone reference for checking your piano chords.

However:

The sole purpose of my Piano Chords 108 series is to teach piano students how to memorize all 108 of these chords as they appear on the piano keyboard.

Therefore, this catalog should be used, ideally, only to check your understanding of the memorization system taught here.

MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK

Chords are listed alphabetically. Each chord is spelled out by using a simple image (consisting of dots on a keyboard, indicating which keys/notes make up the chord in question).

 


In a nutshell, all the standard three and four-note chords are illustrated.

 


LIST OF ALL CHORD TYPES ILLUSTRATED IN THIS BOOK

 

Major triads (all)

Minor triads (all)

Major 7th chords (all)

Minor 7th chords (all)

Dominant 7th chords (all)

Diminished triads (all)

Diminished 7th chords (all)

Half-diminished 7th chords (‘Minor-7 flat-5’) (all)

Augmented triads (all) Continue reading “Visual Catalog of 108+ Piano Chords”

Visual Piano Chord Catalog of 108+ Piano Chords

108 Piano Chords

Here is an interactive  eBook that I put together as a reference for my Piano Chords 108 series. As a member, you have 24×7 access to this feature.

 

IMPORTANT:

This book can serve as a stand-alone reference for checking your piano chords.

However:

The sole purpose of my Piano Chords 108 series is to teach piano students how to memorize all 108 of these chords as they appear on the piano keyboard.

Therefore, this catalog should be used, ideally, only to check your understanding of the memorization system taught here.

Continue reading “Visual Piano Chord Catalog of 108+ Piano Chords”

Getting All Lydian on the IV Chord

Hello from Kent!

Here’s a scale-related concept that works very well for dressing up the ‘IV’ chord of a major key.

In the key of C major, the IV chord is F; it’s called the ‘IV’ because its root note is the fourth step of the scale.

You might also experiment with this approach over any major chord, such as the ‘I’ (that would be C Major, in the key of C) — depending on the type of sound you’re after.

The scale being used today is called Lydian, which is very closely related to the major scale: only one tone (specifically, the fourth step) is different. My video lesson below goes into depth regarding this intriguing aspect of the Lydian scale (vis-a-vis the Major), and shows you various ways to take advantage of its unique sound.

 


There is a transcription of this lecture, including video timestamps, just below the video itself (edited for easier reading).


VIDEO LESSON


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

NOTE #1: SOME SECTIONS OF THIS TRANSCRIPT HAVE BEEN REDACTED, IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY.

NOTE #2: HA HA HA.


0:22
Hi this is Kent, I wanted to give you some raw material for playing some nice fills, when playing the IV chord, such as the F chord in the key of C.

0:38
And in this lesson. The fills that I’m going to be talking about will be based on a scale called the Lydian scale.

0:50

We’ll be talking about the Lydian scale as we go along. And the context of this using this Lydian scale in this lesson would be when you go to the IV chord in a song.

1:06

The I chord in C is C major (the chord).

1:11
The IV chord would be F.

1:15

Okay, so if I’m going from C…to F… (piano playing).
1:37
That’s an extremely common progression, but you don’t necessarily have to be going back and forth between F and C. In this case, in this particular imaginary tune, the sound we’re going to go for is to sort of spice up the IV chord.
1:53
Using the Lydian scale and the Lydian scale fits in this case if I go from F.2:10
Since I’m in the key of C, I can keep this B-natural, and stay consistent with the C major scale.2:22
Accordingly, a scale starting on the note F, which has the fourth step of the standard F major scale raised by 1/2 step, has the sound of Lydian mode. Again, F major has B flat, F Lydian has a raised fourth step…in this case it’s a B here.
2:43
And that B note fits right in the C major scale.
2:50
That means that “F Lydian”is one of the “MODES” of C Major.3:36
We can take advantage of that raised fourth in order get some interesting “motion” inside our F4:10
Notice, if I take a G major chord, which is actually the five chord of C, and I superimpose it over the F chord…
4:20 (wow man)
…kind of wants to move back down to F.
4:24
However, if I did, let’s say an F chord in some other context…
4:29
That’s also a nice spacey jazzy or sounding chord by itself, in many other contexts…..
5:17
And let’s say I covered the F chord down here on my left hand.
5:30
All right, thanks for listening. Have fun with that, and I’ll see you next time!

PREMIUM CONTENT “The Blues Piano Crash Course” Main Page

FREE TO SUPPORTING MEMBERS!

SEE FURTHER BELOW FOR A COMPLETE COURSE DESCRIPTION

 


Curriculum


Lesson One – “The Blues Scale”

 

Supplemental (optional) from “A Study in Blues Piano” – Licks #1 and #2

 

Lesson Two – “A Left-hand Groove”

 

#3 SAMPLE LESSON for VISITORS

Lesson Three – “Five Must-know Riffing Devices”

 

Lesson Four – “The Classic 12-bar Blues Progression”

 

Lesson Five – “Put Your Hands Together”

 

Lesson Six – More tips and practice for the Two-Fisted Jammer

 

Lesson Seven – A Walking Bass Line & More Coordination

 

Lesson Eight – Blue Notes and pitch-bending

 

Lesson Nine – The Melody Machine

 

Lesson Ten – Turn-arounds and Endings

 

Lesson Eleven – Playing Blues in Any Key

 

end of list (all core lessons)

Course Description

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.)

Catalog of Chords and Scales
Catalog of Chords and Scales (for Blues Piano Crash Course)
Recommended Listening
Recommended Listening (Blues)

The Complete Course (video pages w/ text intros)

 

FREE TO SUPPORTING MEMBERS

 

Lesson One – “The Blues Scale”

 

Supplemental (optional) from “A Study in Blues Piano” – Licks #1 and #2

 

Lesson Two – “A Left-hand Groove”

 

SAMPLE LESSON for VISITORS

Lesson Three – “Five Must-know Riffing Devices”

 

Lesson Four – “The Classic 12-bar Blues Progression”

 

Lesson Five – “Put Your Hands Together”

 

Lesson Six – More tips and practice for the Two-Fisted Jammer

 

Lesson Seven – A Walking Bass Line & More Coordination

 

Lesson Eight – Blue Notes and pitch-bending

 

Lesson Nine – The Melody Machine

 

Lesson Ten – Turn-arounds and Endings

 

Lesson Eleven – Playing Blues in Any Key

 

end of list (all core lessons)

Learn all 12 DOMINANT-7th Chords Today

Hello Friends,

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 DOMINANT-7th chords on a keyboard — without having to rely on rote memory.  

Coming nextDiminished chords.

THE VIDEO

Learn all 12 Major & all 12 Maj7 Chords by Pattern (not by rote)

<- Back to the Chords 108 Main Course Page

Welcome back!

Today we’ll learn the unique 3-letter formula the applies to every standard Dominant Seventh Chord.

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.

Description: Learn how to immediately call up the notes to any of the twelve major chords — without having to rely on rote memory.  This lesson applies to all twelve major seventh chords as well.

Sponsored AD’s (external) :

THE LESSON VIDEO: