Tag Archives: 7th chords

A Jazz Chord Voicing You’ve Just Got To Know

Jazz-Chord-VoicingOne jazz chord voicing you’ve just got to know as a cocktail piano player involves taking a simply 7th chord and making one simply modification to it. Specifically, I am referring to the 1-5-7-3 chord voicing.

Here’s how to play it…

Let’s use an Fmaj7 chord to illustrate. This chord in its most basic form is spelled out like this:

F A C E

Again, this is a 7th chord in root position. In addition, as you take a look at the chord tones, they are as close to each other as they can possibly be. In other words, there are no chord tone in between those chord tones that are already there. Therefore, this chord is said to be in closed position.

Okay, let’s take that 3rd of the chord, which is the A. If we don’t play that A where it is within the structure and, instead, play it one octave higher, the order of our chord tones from left to right looks like this:

F C E A

This is a very commonly used jazz chord voicing and one you’ll definitely want to have a handle on. You’ll want to apply this 1-5-7-3 structure to all the 7th chords that you learn eventually. Doing so will really add dimension to your playing!

Now, go ahead and play those two lower chord tones (the F and C) with your left hand and play the two upper chord tones (the E and A) with your right hand. Listen!

It sounds more “open,” would you agree? Actually, we call this an “open voicing” because we have actually opened up the chord by taking one of the inner chord tones and moving up an octave. You see, we really do have a chord tone that is not being played in between two of the other chord tones at this point (in between the F and C, there is that A which is not being played).

If you were playing a song in which the melody note was A and the chord was Fmaj7, this is a very appropriate jazz chord voicing to play since the A is at the top of the structure (furthest to the right). You are highly encouraged to apply this 1-5-7-3 to other 7th chords that you either already know or will learn in the future. It will work for all of them and, by doing so, you’ll really be adding to that “piano playing toolbox” of yours.

This is a jazz chord voicing you’ll want play again and again. Look for opportunities to use it in your favorite songs. Simply look for melody notes that are the 3rd of the 7th chord that you will be playing and use this voicing to turn what would otherwise be and “okay” sound into one that spells professionalism in the ears of your listeners!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

Play Cocktail Piano: What’s It Take?

Play-Cocktail-PianoYou want to play cocktail piano and wonder if you have what it takes.  It’s been a specialty of mine for many years and I am happy to admit that I’ve had a lot of fun on each and every cocktail piano gig that I ever had to privilege of being a part of. I have played on board cruises, have performed for wedding receptions and for special corporate functions, and have served as a soloist for many other situations. As a cocktail pianist, you accept the responsibility of being the sole performer, so it’s all you! Along with this goes the kind of freedom that only a solo gig can provide.

The fact that you want to play cocktail piano means you’re open to learning what it really takes. Well, you’ll be happy to know that even if you’re a novice, you can gain some satisfactory results rather quickly. You’ll want to feel comfortable with playing melodies to a nice variety of standard tunes. Also, you’ll want to gain a familiarity with common 7th chords, including major 7ths, dominant 7ths, minor 7ths, and diminished 7th for starters. There are many types of 7th chords that serve as variations of these and you’ll want to eventually learn them but these basic four are the most prominently used.

As you engage in the art form of cocktail piano, your own curiosity should lead you to being open to learning to improvise to a degree, including incorporating piano fills in your playing and also embellishing those melodies.  In addition, you’ll want to adopt an attitude of playfulness, always being open to having fun with what you are playing and becoming more and more creative. Having an open mind will be conducive to your enjoying yourself and eventually becoming a more competent piano stylist.

Once you become familiar with those basic 7th chords, by the way, you are likely to want to acquire a knowledge of how chord voicings work. Chord voicings are your ticket to adding a whole lot of spice to your playing. It’s one thing to be able to play a Cmaj7 chord in its basic form, for example, but if you can play it in a variety of ways, including using open and closed voicings, your playing will have a lot more dimension to it. In addition, your confidence as a stylist will soar… and this confidence will easily be evident in the eyes (and ears) of your audience.

Above all else, get started! You must begin somewhere, so choose a favorite song, learn that melody well, bring yourself to a point where you can confidently play the chords that accompany that melody, and play, play, play! As you become more and more familiar with that song, you’ll soon become inspired to enhance it with piano fills, embellishments, voicings, and more. Your playing will mature before you know it!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

How To Learn Piano Fast

How-To-Learn-Piano-FastWould you like to know how to learn piano fast? What’s fast to you may be different to another, of course. Also, what would you like to be playing on those keys within a short amount of time? What your goals are and how devoted you are to learning will absolutely have an impact on what you will accomplish.

That said, you can achieve some pretty impressive results quickly. When a person approaches me saying that he or she wants to learn how to learn piano fast, my first inclination is to have that person learn a few chords and start improvising with them. “The very first time I sit at the piano?” you may be asking. My response:
“Yes.”

When I take this approach with an aspiring player, after demonstrating how to play a few chords on the piano, I quickly encourage that individual to start doing some interesting things on those ivories with them.

If you have no experience at all and you would like to learn how to play piano fast, learn a few chords and become enthused about being creative with them. A few resources that may interest you which can get you to immediately start playing chords and having fun with them are:

1) Piano Chords 101

2) The Ridiculously Easy Way To Master Those 7th Chords On The Piano

3) How To Play Piano By Ear In All 12 Keys Without Knowing How To Read A Note Of Music

It might be worth mentioning that you do not need to know how to read music at all in order to obtain results from any of these programs mentioned above. Yes, I encourage you to learn to eventually read music for a well balanced approach to learning piano, but if you indeed want to know how to learn piano fast, using chords to create some pretty interesting sounds, these programs can be of tremendous help to you. The first includes a piano video session accompanied by a guidebook, the second includes a series of piano video sessions with online commentary, and the third is a guidebook that has you creating chords step-by-step. All are available via instant online access. If you would like to take advantage a package deal, you can get all three and more here.

The key to it all is to choose one and get started. Immerse yourself as you make having fun a top priority. There is nothing that comes close to being able to have a ball playing and improvising with a few chords. Yes, you can be improvising on piano relatively fast. The more you do it, the more you will want to. The more results you start realizing, the more fun you’ll have, and the more fun you have, the better your results!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

Learn Piano Chords Quickly

Learn-Piano-Chords-Quickly“I want to learn piano chords quickly” is a common request and understandably so. There is a certain kind of satisfaction that a beginning player can gain by learning to play even just a few chords on the piano. What’s more is that if they can be played in a confident manner, that confidence is instantly conveyed to the listener.

When you are playing chords, you are playing harmony, which is always pleasing to the ear. Often, when I meet with a student for the first time and I see that they could easily use a boost in optimism, I will demonstrate some chords for them and encourage them to play those chords after explaining how to do so. The result? The eyes light up, the posture improves, and almost instantly, I have an excited student before me.

If you want to learn piano chords quickly, perhaps the easiest way to do so is to utilize a visual approach rather than a theoretical one. I had this in mind when I created my two popular programs Piano Chords 101 and The Ridiculously Easy Way To Master Those 7th Chords On The Piano. The first shows you how to instantly get a grip on how to play the four basic triads (three-note-chords) in all the keys. That results in 48 chords! Once you see the structural formula illustrated in an understandable fashion, you really can learn piano chords quickly… and lots of them. The latter focuses on what the title implies. You’ll learn many types of 7th chords, even more than the most commonly played ones. Also, you’ll learn how to interpret those chord symbols in a way that makes perfect sense. These can really confuse a person at the beginning and it’s quite understandable as to why. This program takes away the mystery.

Having fun with those two programs as you implement the easy strategies will result in your establishing a nice chord foundation to build upon. Video animations along with my narrations make learning those chords quickly a breeze.

Once you’ve learned those triads and 7th chords in their most basic positions, which those two programs will get you to do, you’ll have a nice platform on which you can build, including learning those chord inversions and chord voicings.

If this is all new to you, then you are in for some “aha!” moments because you’re about to explore playing potential that you might not have known to exist. You’re on your way to creative piano playing!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com