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.
Lesson 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.
This is entirely optional material, as far as completing the above course is concerned. As I said yesterday, this is a supplement I’m putting together, in response to recent requests that I’ve had from students who can read music.
Non-music readers: This course was designed to require ZERO reading of music. Fear not!
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).
The minor pentatonic is a five-note scale, comprised of selected pitches from the natural minor scale. An extremely popular source of melodic and harmonic material in many cultures, the minor pentatonic’s distinctive signature can be heard “all the time” in improvisational genres like rock, pop, blues and jazz.
For those of you who like to put words to music: The word “pentatonic” comes from the Greek word pente, meaning five, and tonic, meaning tone. Bring that up at your next book study group, and you will look like a raging party animal. Things will go right off the hook from there, bro, seriously.
The purpose of today’s lesson is to give you an easy pattern to memorize, and to show you how to use that pattern to construct any minor pentatonic scale. By “construct,” I mean you will visualize the correct five notes for the minor pentatonic scale, starting on any given root note.
As a result you will have “memorized” all 12 minor pentatonics on the keyboard today.
These three tutorials would fit somewhere near the center of the jazzy-rock genre spectrum, if there was one.
I guess there could possibly be a jazzy-rock genre officially defined somewhere, like in a big canvas binder at the Genres Office, or like that. Regardless of the possibility of this being regulated, I’m using the term freely here, maybe even whimsically.
If I had a managing editor you would not have seen the previous paragraph. Don’t worry, with your continued support, I will hire a managing editor.
Van Morrison’s Moondance is the “jamming vehicle” we’re using in this trio of lessons. Moondance is a catchy tune, and it serves really well as a straightforward case study in jazzish-rockish piano improvisation.
Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to interpret slash chords on piano. This lesson includes insights into several ways that slash chords are used, such as indicating an inversion, implying a descending bass line, or a simply notating a fresh chordal sound.
Composers and songwriters can use the “slash chord idea” in their creative thinking. That is, the effect of playing any given chord over bass notes that are not the actual root of the chord opens up endless possibilities. Some of the thinking behind these possibilities is discussed in this lesson.