Check out my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really

EDIT: one chord I missed out was the minor ninth (-m9). After watching the tutorial you can probably work it out pretty easily: it’s the -m7 with an added major third.

Several people have asked me to make a tutorial revisiting all the basic piano chords – so here it is! There’s a little bit of theory, covering how piano chords are constructed, and how you can voice and invert them on the keyboard.

Most chords are built of thirds, and once you’ve figured out how to make major and minor thirds, and understood a couple of other basic intervals, it’s pretty easy to work out all the chords you need, even if you’re a relative beginner on the instrument.

As always, the secret to really mastering this stuff is to spend time sitting at the piano practising the techniques I talk about. One thing you could do is dig out a song book that has a vocal line with the chords written in. Practise reading the chords, and soon you won’t need the written piano part 🙂

Here are those timestamp links, by the way (hat tip, Ollie!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=6m0s – Basic major and minor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=7m30s – Dominant seventh (chords ending -7, e.g. G7, Eb7)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=8m30s – Minor seventh (chords ending -m7)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=9m05s – Major seventh (-maj7)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=9m45s – Sixth (-6 or -m6)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=11m50s – Ninth (-9) – NB, I don’t mention this in the tutorial but the minor ninth (-m9) is the -m7 with an added major third.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=12m29s – Major ninth (-maj9)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=13m16s – Added ninth (-add9)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=14m25s – Suspended fourth (-sus or -sus4)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=15m48s – Diminished and diminished seventh (-dim or -°; -dim7 or -°7)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i-cFx7__M&t=17m43s -Augmented (-aug or -+)
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There’s more on chords in my book: http://www.billspianopages.com/how-to-really

Learning piano chords and chord progressions can seem pretty daunting, but you can get a long way on the instrument by knowing just a few. In fact, you can play hundreds of songs if you learn just four easy piano chords.

In this tutorial I’m going to assume you’re a beginner and that, while you know the basic notes on the piano keyboard, you know little or nothing about chords, harmony and improvisation. I’ll teach you four chords and a simple progression in the key of C that you can adapt to help you play very many different songs. You can also use this easy tutorial to start learning some bits and pieces of piano improvisation, and as an intro to some of the other piano tutorials on my channel.

The chords I look at are C, F, G and A minor. The first thing I explain is the importance of being able to play these chords in many different voicings and inversions – the piano offers hundreds of different ways of playing simple chords, and it’s important that you really get comfortable with find chord shapes quickly on the keyboard.

From there we take a simple chord progression and begin to play it to time, starting with just single chords and moving on to slightly more complex, but easy piano comps. We also look at ways that you can start improvising on the chords to create more interesting effects, and also mention playing in different keys and learning how to pick out melody at the keyboard.

A really important point that I make several times is that you have to practise this pretty hard – learning piano isn’t easy, and it’s really crucial that you give your brain time to adjust to the complex stuff you’re asking it to do. However, with a few hours or days of practice it shouldn’t take long for you to get pretty reasonable at playing chords on the piano. It’s all about determination and sticking to it!

If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial you might also like my book, How To Really Play The Piano – there’s a link at the top of this description.
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