Musical Alphabets For PianoPosted by Mike Schuck
When you’re a kid, music always seems to make you feel good. It can make you laugh, it can inspire you, and it can motivate you to do things. For some people, music is their life passion, they will never stop learning about it and creating new songs or pieces of music!
Many kids grow up dreaming of one thing- playing in a band or orchestra as a professional musician. Being able to read music and play instruments like the piano is a way to achieve that dream!
But not everyone has access to these opportunities due to money or location. Or maybe you’ve already got everything you need except for how to read notes on the guitar!
That’s why this article will talk about another way to learn how to play the piano - by learning our musical alphabet!
The musical alphabet teaches your hand which finger goes where in the keyboard (the place where the notes live) by using familiar letters. By knowing the letter shape for each key, you are already halfway there!
Now all you have to do is practice moving your fingers quickly according to the sound of the given note! This way you will be reading music in no time!
This article will talk more about the benefits of learning the musical alphabet before getting into the different types of alphabets.
Circle of fifths
The circle of fifths is one of the most important concepts in music theory. It’s also one of the trickiest, which can be tricky when you first learn it!
First, some context. You might have learned that major scales contain all twelve notes of the octave (the length of an object depends on how you measure it!), and minor scales do too. These are two examples of a scale pattern, or sequence, called a tonal center.
The diatonic scale is one of the most important scales to know for piano players. You will learn what all of its notes are, how to play them, and why they are so powerful in music making here!
The diatonic scale has three main parts; it starts with a semitone lower (or “movment”) then a tone, and finally a tonic note. This pattern repeats itself throughout the whole diatonic scale.
The first part is called the movment or pedal point, and it can be either raised or lowered depending on which key you are in. In the case of the white keys of the major mode piano, the movment is usually the very first note of the key.
In the case of the black keys of the minor mode, like the blues, the movemenpoint is the half-step between two adjacent tones. A good example would be the chord that goes as follows: E–G – B – D. The first term is an edge tone, while the second is a root tone. Between these two lies the half step, or flattened third.
This sets up the next part of the diatonic scale, which is the tonic. To get this note, simply take your pedal down and hold it at the new tonic position.
Chords are one of the most important concepts for beginner piano players! They occur when you play two or more notes at the same time. There are several types of chords, but we will focus only on perfect chord shapes here!
A perfect chord is any combination of three or more notes that all sound together as a whole. For example, if you played the note A, then the next note B, then the note G, all three sounds like an A-B-G chord.
The tricky part about music is making sure that your parts sync up and feel natural. When learning how to play chords, make sure your hands are familiar with the position first!
Your index finger goes on the middle (or root) note, your middle finger goes on the other (subordinate) note, and your thumb touches the third (median) note.
The next step in learning to play piano is identifying which key each note belongs to! This is called naming the notes of the song or piece you are studying. You can do this by either looking it up or using your ears!
If you know how to read music, then reading the song will tell you what note each part is. If you don’t however, that isn’t too difficult to fix!
You can use your ear to help you out as well! Each note has a unique tone quality that matches its name. For example, the sound of A major chord is an octave higher than the open string (also known as the tonic) so it has a sharp edge to it. The rest of the tones have a smooth harmonic shape, making them feel lower. These lower pitched sounds match the name “tone”!
The trickiest thing about naming chords is figuring out if they're dominant, subdominant, or fully built-in. We'll go over those later! For now, just learn some easy chord names such as Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented.
A great way to learn how to play piano is by learning how to combine chord shapes into melodies or songs. This technique is called chord-combing, and it’s very common in music!
By now you probably know some major chords like G, C, and E. These are easy to come by as they make up a lot of song lyrics and musical themes.
But what if I told you that you could create your own key? You can take any number of notes and mix them together to form a new note. For example, from this article here at BHSE we learned that the bach tone is an open position with no known name.
This article will teach you how to make your own key, starting with the tonic (or first) degree of the scale. After that, everything else in the circle of fifths moves forward one step.
Recording and editing music
Choosing your recording location and setting up for recording can make a big difference in how your song sounds! If you are recording at a house or studio, you will want to be sure that there is not too much noise coming from outside sources like cars, people talking, etc.
If possible, have an assistant run some of these tests for you before session day so you know what to look for. Surroundings such as heavy traffic or loud noises could potentially hurt your voice quality or drown out other parts of the track.
You also do not want to record where there are lots of things happening because this would likely pick up extra background sound which might muddy or distract from your final product. Make sure to choose a place with good lighting, easy access to supplies (like re-usable headphones), and enough space to move around comfortably.
After recording your vocals, mix down your songs by taking away unwanted bits and pieces. This includes silence between lyrics, musical breaks after each line, and lengths of time it took you to say each word.
Running each element through software programs such as Logic, Pro Tools, or others can remove any potential errors and fix anything that may need fixing.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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