Advanced Piano Chords 1: circle of 5ths patterns, etc.
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In Piano Chords I showed you different ways of interpreting basic chord symbols like major and minor triads and 7th chords. In Advanced Piano Chords 1 I'm going to show you the easiest ways of thinking about 6th chords, 9th chords, and 13th chords, as well as diminished and augmented triads. But the main thing it covers is 3rds and 7ths on the circle of 5ths. It's hard to describe exactly what that means in words, but if you watch the intro video I demonstrate it. Basically, the circle of 5ths is the most common chord progression in music, and alternating 3rds and 7ths is (usually) the best way of interpreting it. If that sounds complicated that's because it is, a little, but I walk you through it step-by-step so that it's second nature. Alternating 3rds and 7ths on the circle of 5ths is an essential skill for interpreting the “Great American Song Book” (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, etc.) and it therefore serves as the foundation for jazz piano, as well as having applications in classical, soul, and other styles. (I'm planning an Advanced Piano Chords 2 that covers complex jazz chords like sharp 9ths and flat 13ths, but give you an overview of those at the end of this course.)
What this course is:
- Original. There are a ton of tricks that give you easy ways of thinking about complex chords that I invented to help my one-on-one students and haven’t seen elsewhere. Hopefully these alone will be worth the cost of the course.
- Probably the best of its kind on the circle of 5ths. People are always explaining the circle of 5ths using charts or letters, whereas I think that the best way of explaining it is at the keyboard. Of course, I’ll show you what it looks like on paper, too, but the keyboard will be the primary way of visualising it.
- Very carefully graded. Everything here has been tested on my private students, and if a student found something too difficult I’d find a way of breaking it down into smaller steps. This course is the result of that process.
- Actually slightly better than anything any of my private students got (sorry private students). This is because I refined all of the techniques and arrangements when putting together the curriculum.
What this course isn’t:
- Graphics-heavy. My Read Music FAST! course is 2 hours of video with very detailed graphics. This course is 9 hours of me sitting at the keyboard explaining things. Originally I wanted to put images of the scores above the keyboard, as I did in Piano Chords, but that would mean another 2 weeks of editing that I just don’t have at the moment, and I figured you’d rather have the course now and print out the scores or look at them on another device than have to wait several months to start it. Also, scores aren’t very relevant to a lot of the material and sometimes even a distraction, so I like the simplicity of having nothing but the keyboard - it’s how I play piano (I play everything from memory).
- Perfect. I recorded the course in pieces, over many months, and allowed myself to improvise sections if I wanted to since that makes the videos feel like real lessons. I remember when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge there was a lecturer who read his first lecture from a script, which was really hard to listen to, and then did the rest of his lectures from memory, which was much more engaging. You can always tell when someone’s reciting off a piece for paper or whether they’re actually communicating something, and I’ll always choose the latter, even if it means that I sometimes hesitate or slip up. (I just hope I don’t have a curse word in one of the videos that I forgot to edit out, like I did in Beginner Piano. Oops!) There’s even a surprise appearance from my cat in one of the videos. And a really bad attempt at playing the opening of Chopin’s “Revolutionary” Étude that I didn’t have time to practise.
Note: this is the intro video for Advanced Piano Chords 1 and 2! (Part 2 isn't recorded yet.) I cover major and minor 9th chords and jazz extensions at the end of this course, but will go over them in more depth with examples and exercises in the next one.
The "cheat sheet" should be useful throughout this course. Anytime I'm describing what a chord symbol looks like consult the cheat sheet to see what I mean!
I've also attached all the scores to this course in 3 files to save you printing off each one individually in each lecture, if you prefer. I've named them "Examples", "Exercises" and "Solutions", keeping the exercises and solutions separate so you don't see my answers when you're coming up with your own.