1 About Nate’s Three Finger Piano Method Seven Flavors of C chords Learning a reference point for groups of chords is key to speeding up the learning process. Major 7th Dominant7th Minor 7th Diminished 7th Major Minor Diminished Many chords are one note away from being other chords. For example, C Major 7th R 7 3 All four chord basic 7th chords (the Major 7th chords, the Minor 7th chords, the Dominant 7th chords and the Diminished 7th chords) share two important characteristics – a 3rd and 7th. has only one note different from C Dominant 7th R 7 3 What if next time you wanted to figure out a chord, instead of looking in a chord encyclopedia, you said to yourself, “Oh, I’ll just take the middle note down a key”. Knowing how chords are constructed will give you hours of playing pleasure without the frustration of finding chords. It will also open you up to thinking creatively when you improvise from fake books. The 3rd of a chord or the 7th of a chord can either be Major or Minor. Depending on the pattern of 3rds and 7ths in the chord, it will be one of the qualities of 7th chords. OK, so you’re saying to yourself, Well, I only want to learn how to play Major and Minor Chords. Well, that’s easy enough, because to make a Major or Minor chord you just leave out the 7th. For example, if you look at the C Major 7th chord to the left, all you have to do to make it a C Major chord, is leave out the 7th. C Major R 3 2 Now, I’ll teach you fancier ways to play C Major with a 5th added, but for now, let’s only learn what’s absolutely necessary and then build from there! This will be a helpful tool while learning the chords, so that you see how different qualities of chords with the same root are related. For example, how C Major 7th The patterns of 7ths and 3rds determine quality. R 7 3 relates to In this book, we will focus on Major 7th, Minor 7th, Dominant 7th and Diminished 7th chords, as well as their non-7th chord versions, Major, Minor and Diminished. That’s seven different Chords based on C. Once you learn the system, you’ll be able to find those seven chords from the starting position for C, then when we move to different chords, such as F, you’ll use the same logic. Learning the logic of finding chords from the starting position will save you the hassle of having to memorize 84 basic 7th and non-7th chords. You’ll learn the starting position and the logic to finding the seven varieties of chords. Plus, once you know the logic. You’ll be able to use different arrangements or voicings of these notes simply by using the very same logic. R 4 7 R 3 3 Do you notice how in the C Minor 7th chord the 7th and the 3rd are down one key from where they are in the C Major 7th chord? Let me translate this into non-musical terms for a minute: Do you notice how the numeral 7 and the numeral 3 are one block further left on the C Minor 7th chord diagram above from where they are the C Major 7th diagram above? If you need to find F Minor 7th from F Major 7th, you’ll just lower the top two notes down a half-step each. The top two keys of Actual Chord R 7 This one key difference between the top two notes will be true between all Major 7th and Minor 7th chords that share the same root. Starting position R C Minor 7th 3 The Root, The Root up an octave, and the 4th above that. Or F Minor 7th 7 3 R Starting position for C chords are each down one key from the top two keys of C F Major 7th C F The notes C, C and F. R 7 3 Since the quality of a chord is determined by the 3rd and 7th of the chord, all we need to make a great sounding chord is the root, the seventh and the third. Now since Major 7th chords have a Major 7th and a Major 3rd, you’ll just have to move the top two notes a half-step down (or to the left) each. Starting position for C chords R R 4 If the chord is a non-7th chord, all you’ll need is the 3rd . Ok, well, how do we find the 7th and 3rd? From the reference point, from this starting position. Top 2 notes down ½ step for Major 7th chords: The starting position will put us close to the 3rd and 7th, but leave open whether they are major and minor. For example, the starting position for all C Chords will be the notes C, the C an octave above that, and then the note a fourth above that, which is F. So, “C, C and F”. Starting position for C chords R R 4 C Major 7th R 7 3 4 F Major 7th Why does that make a major 7th chord? R 7 3 th The Major 7 is down a ½ step from the Root And So how are you going to use this information to “speed read” piano chord symbols? Well, let’s say you have a measure of music that looks like this. The Major 3rd is down a ½ step from the 4th Major 7th chords are so named because they have a Major 3rd and a Major 7th. So, once you learn how to find the fourth of any note, you can use the Root and 4th to find the Major 7th chord based on that note. So, for example, if I tell you that the 4th of F is B flat, you’ll be able to use those two notes to find the chord F Major 7th. First you would find F, F (an octave up) and the 4th above F, which you now know is B flat. Here’s the starting position for all F chords, which is the notes F, F and B flat: R So it might look like this: Left hand: The root (C) Right hand: The 7th (B), the 3rd (E), and the melody note (G) C Major 7th with melody note added F starting position R The melody note on the downbeat is G, so, you’d strike a C major 7th chord on the downbeat with the melody note (G) above it. 4 Now to find F Major 7th, all you have to do is take the top two notes down a half-step each (one key to the left, regardless of whiteness or blackness). R 7 3 M Now if you can’t read the melody, you can start just by playing the chord and singing the melody, since if you can’t read music, you’ll probably be doing songs you already know. This book will focus on teaching the chords. You’ll have to get another book to teach you to read the notes! --------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 Now what if your melody note is between the 7th and the 3rd? Just move the 3rd down an octave. C Major 7th with melody note added R 3 7 M -------------------------------------------------------------------Now if all this music reading seems too advanced for you, don’t worry. I’m just showing you what you’ll get to eventually. For now, we’re going to take our time learning to find chords from the starting position and getting familiar with the different types of chords. 6 C Diminished 7th The Essentials of Nate’s Three Finger Piano Method Here’s a quick sketch of the system. If this is overwhelming, be patient. All of this will be covered in more detail again. 1. m7 chords. If the chord is a Minor seventh chord, move the top two notes down two keys (two half-steps) each from the starting position. C Minor 7th 7 R 3 2. M7 chords. If the chord is a Major seventh chord, move the top two notes down one key (one halfsteps) each from the starting position. 7 R 3 Finding non-7th chords 1. m chords. If the chord is a Minor chord, move the top note down two keys (two half-steps) from the starting position; then move the middle note down a 4th (I’ll teach you fourths soon!) C Minor R 5 3 2. M chords. If the chord is a Major chord, move the top note down one key (one half-step) from the starting position; then move the middle note down a 4th. C Major 7th R 7 3 3. 7 chords. If the chord is a dominant seventh chord, move the top note down one key and the middle note down two. C Dominant 7th 7 R C Major R 5 3 A Note on Fingering: 3 4. dim7 chords. If the chord is a diminished seventh, move the top note down two keys and the middle note down three. Depending on the melody note, you may use different fingering. Generally for now, play the root in the left and all the other notes in the right. This is how you would play if you’re doing chord stabs in the right hand and a walking bass in the left.
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