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Chord progressions explained on the piano

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Uploaded on Apr 10, 2010

http://bit.do/billsbook

How do chord progressions work on the piano, or indeed on any chordal instrument or in any piece of music? In this tutorial I explain chord progressions and sequences, with particular focus on tonic - dominant - tonic progressions. If you're just getting into music theory then you can do pretty well just by learning the individual chords on the piano keyboard and then following other people's progressions.

But to be a really good improvising musician or songwriter, on the piano or otherwise, you need to be able to make sense of the underlying harmonic logic of what you're doing. The great thing about the piano is that you can see the chords and their notes laid out right there in front of you on the keyboard, which makes understanding easier. Once you've grasped how chord changes work it becomes much easier to adapt existing progressions and come up with your own.

In this tutorial I also deal with progressions that include key modulation - which is especially handy if you're interested in pop or jazz, or in writing your own songs.

Once you've understood the basics of what I'm talking about in the lesson, the best thing you can do is sit down at the piano and just play around with different chords: watch what you're doing on the keyboard, listen to the sounds you're making, and experiment with different chords. You can even take existing progressions from songs you know and try changing the chords around: what effect do you get? As ever with stuff on the piano, and with music theory, the trick to really understanding how chords work is to play around and practise.

If you'd like to know more about piano chords, do check out my book, How To Really Play The Piano. You need to be able to read simple music in treble and bass clef, and to know which notes are where on the piano, but apart from that it takes everything from first steps, including the real basics of how chords and constructed and how you can use chord progressions as a pianist.

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