By Duane Shinn
Did you know that music is based on natural “laws” — like gravity — and by learning to understand how those natural laws work we can actually understand what we are doing when we play — we don’t have to be at the mercy of what someone else has written on a piece of music.
How many of these facts do you know about music & piano playing? Test yourself and then check the answers at the bottom of the page:
Did you know that by learning just 3 chords you can play hundreds of songs?
Did you know that there are only 12 major keys you can play in, but you only really have to master one key to play most popular songs?
Did you know that it is possible to easily match any melody note (tune) to a chord, so you can harmonize any note?
Did you know that Beethoven’s Fur Elise and the blues song “Summertime” uses the exact same chords for the theme of the song?
Did you know that it is quite possible to predict what chord comes next in a song with accuracy approaching 85%?
Did you know you can use the same chords to play boogie, blues, new age, gospel, pop, rock, jazz, country – anything except classical music? (And even some classics!)
Did you know that guitar chords are the same as piano chords — the only thing different is the instrument and the resulting sound?
Did you know that hundreds of songs use exactly the same form, so by learning that form you can know what’s coming next in a song?
Did you know that by coming in through the backdoor of piano playing — chords — you can start making wonderful and satisfying sounds on the piano in just a few weeks instead of a few years — even if you don’t know Middle C from Tweedle Dee?
Answers to piano playing music questions:
True. That’s because there are just 3 primary chords in any key — like family members: Mom, Dad, Child. Get to know those 3 and you’ve got it.
True. It’s like languages. It’s great to be able to speak several, but you can get by with just one. I’d love to speak other languages, but I can get by with just English.
True. Every note is part of several different chords. So it is easy to harmonize any song once you know the secret.
True. Yep. They both use the A minor chord and the E7 chord in their themes.
True. I know that’s hard to believe, but remember that music is based on math. Once you understand a thing called the “Circle of 4ths” it’s a piece of cake. In fact, I can tell you right now that 85% of the time the G chord comes directly after the D7 chord. So next time you run into the D7 chord, you have an educated guess of 85% that the next chord will be some form of the G chord. (G, G7 etc.) If you’re into amazing your friends, that’ll do it!
True. Apply different rhythms to the same chords, and you have many styles of music! With the very same chords I can play boogie, jazz, rock, pop, gospel, new age, ragtime.
True. Chords are chords. Once you know them, you can apply them to any instrument.
True. Musical forms such as “AABA” and “ABA” are the basis of thousands and thousands of songs.
True. Understanding chords and how them form the skeleton of music accelerates the learning curve exponentially.
The bottom line is this: Music is based on natural law and is mathematical in nature. Understanding is the key to both rapid learning and getting more enjoyment out of the process.
Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and music educational materials such as DVD’s, CD’s, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for adults. A free lesson on music theory as related to piano playing is available: “How To Find The Key In Sharp Key Signatures” Duane holds advanced degrees from Southern Oregon University. You can sign up for his free 101-week online e-mail newsletter titled “Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions”
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