Chord Piano, the Fast way to Learn the Piano

Published: 20th November 2005
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Chord Piano, the Fast way to Learn the Piano

If you have the desire to play the piano but neither the time, the funds, nor the inclination it takes to devote to full time study why not try chord piano or more simply learning chords. Most chord piano is learned by self instruction through books and videos and contrary to popular belief you can be playing your first song in the time it takes to read this article.

With chord piano you will learn the specific notes that make up different chords, the formula that creates them in any key and then spend more time playing them over and over, usually in songs, training your hands to memorize their positioning. Of course it's not that cut and dried and there is a bit more to it. To be truly effective you should learn your scales, be able to read a smattering of sheet music and practice in more keys than just C. But once you start you will wonder where chords have been all your life.

Chords are multifaceted and you can play them in such a way that people think you are playing the most difficult sheet music imaginable or you can happily play full chords with such rhythm and finesse in both hands that as you accompany family and friends they will stare in amazement as they sing merrily along.

Okay so I'm exaggerating, but just a bit.

Let's get you started.

Each piano has a total of 88 keys (electric keyboards can have less). These keys are both black and white and are set in a specific pattern up and down the piano. As you move to the left on the piano the sounds get lower and deeper. As you move to the right the sounds become higher.

The first part of this specific pattern has two black keys. The key to the left of the first black key in the two black key pattern is the C note. For some reason this is the easiest note to remember and find on the piano. The white piano keys are named for the first 7 letters of the alphabet. Starting with C, C-D-E-F-G-A-B-and back to C. Although the alphabet begins with A when thinking musically you will find that your starting point will be the letter C. As you move along your musical path in life this C note will become as familiar as the A.

Now since we are only taking a brief look at chords so you can get an idea of the concept we will stay in the key of C. In the key of C the notes are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-and back to C (just the same as the white keys). Let's also number these keys 1 to 8 beginning with C.

A Major Chord is built from the 1st, the 3rd, and the 5th note of a scale of the same name. For example C Major chord is built from the 1=C, the 3=E, and the 5=G. So C-E-G is the C Major chord.

Now let's number your fingers from thumb to pinky in both hands 1-5. Match up the C Major chord, C-E-G to the 1,3 and 5 of your fingers. C on 1, E on 3, and G on 5. If you have a keyboard or piano go to it and play these fingers on these notes in both hands. Sounds pretty huh?

Want to try a song? Keep playing this C chord in the left hand and try counting as you play it. Count 1,2,3,4 playing the C chord on count 1 only.

Remember those notes from the key of C? C-D-E-F-G-A-B-and back to C. We're going to use them now. So in the right hand the thumb is number 1 and lands on C, 2 is D, 3 is E etc.

So let's play the E with the 3rd finger 2 times.

Now play the 4th finger on the F key once.

Now play the 5th finger on the G key once.

In other words, E-E-F-G. And while playing this play the C chord with your left hand at the same time you play the first E.

What you have now played is the first bar of Joyful Joyful. Congratulations!

I encourage you to look further in to playing the piano with chords. There are many, I mean many books out there to help you on your way.

K Quinn

Video Source: Youtube

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