The Key Mastery Exercise (keep; used until 11-6-23)

PDF Completing this exercise – and then practicing it! – will improve your reading skills, facility at the keyboard, command of music theory, and ability to be musically creative. Write the exercise in a blank manuscript (music paper) notebook, using two pages per...

Practice

Amazing Grace (Worksheet) Amazing Grace includes three new chord types: The add 2 chord is a major triad with an added major 2nd above the root. This chord is frequently used in contemporary pop music. The major 6 chord is a major triad with an added major 6th above...

Voice Leading

Review: Each note of a chord is called a voice. Triads have three voices; tetrads (seventh chords) have four voices. Step (minor 2nd or major 2nd) and skip (minor 3rd or larger) describe the interval between two consecutive notes of a melody or scale. While chords are...

Practice

House of the Rising Sun (Lead Sheet) House of the Rising Sun includes a new chord type: The minor 6 chord is a minor triad with an added major 6th above the root. Learn the RH melody of House of the Rising Sun from the lead sheet. Practice the LH blocked chords....

Endings

An ending section or coda can bring a satisfying sense of closure to an arrangement. Extend the Final Chord Extending the final chord may create an effective ending. Here the LH plays a broken A minor chord ritardando over several measures:...

Introductions

An introduction is music played before the song’s melody starts. An introduction may establish a mood, set up a rhythmic feel, or hint at the melody to come. The introduction for each example ends at the double bar line. Play the First Chord A simple way to create an...

Practice

Careless Love (Lead Sheet) Learn the RH melody of Careless Love from the lead sheet as you play LH blocked chords. Create an arrangement of the song. Use blocked chords, broken chords, both blocked and broken chords, close or open voicings, open 5th voicings etc....

Melodic Fills

The terms step and skip describe the interval between two consecutive notes of a melody or scale. There are two kinds of steps: half step (minor 2nd) and whole step (major 2nd). A skip is any interval larger than a step. Most effective melodies are relatively conjunct...

Harmonic Fills

A fill consists of notes that “fill up” moments of inactivity, such as the space between the phrases of a melody. A fill can also add interest during long notes or rests. Fills are particularly important in piano arrangements because once a tone is sounded...

Practice

Auld Lang Syne (Lead Sheet) Greensleeves (Lead Sheet) Simple Gifts (Lead Sheet) Most of the chords shown in the Chord Reference on each lead sheet have been simplified for the purposes of this module. Many are blocked 5ths, while others are blocked 6ths and 7ths (use...

Open 5th Voicings

In the last Module you learned how to create open voicings by eliminating a tone from a chord when it is present in the melody. This technique can be taken a step further to create a lighter texture throughout an arrangement, without the need to consider which tones...

Practice

Kum Ba Yah (Lead Sheet) The words of this song – an African American spiritual – are a plea to God to “come by here” to help those in need. The song was particularly popular during the Civil Rights movement. It eventually entered the vernacular as a way of...

Easy Open Voicings

An easy way to form an open voicing is by omitting a doubled tone from the hand playing the chord (usually LH) when the tone is present in the melody, as in this example of All Day Long:...

Close and Open Voicings

Because singing a chord would require multiple singers, each note of a chord is called a voice. Triads have three voices; tetrads (seventh chords) have four voices. The distribution of tones in a chord is the chord’s voicing. Tones may be spaced differently by...

Practice

I Shall Not Be Moved (Lead Sheet) Create an arrangement of I Shall Not Be Moved that includes a mix of blocked and broken chords: Get acquainted with the song by playing the melody with RH. Then play the chords with LH (blocked). Finally, play hands together: RH...

Broken Chords in 4/4 Time

In 4/4 time, broken triads can be formed by repeating notes: https://courses.creativekeyboardist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Broken-Triads-Repeated-Notes.mp3 and/or using longer note values: ...

Mixing Blocked and Broken Chords

You’ve created one arrangement using blocked chords, and another using broken chords. Yet using both blocked and broken chords is often most effective. The basic guidelines are: When the melody is active (has more notes and/or shorter notes) use blocked or...

Creativity: Bluesy Improv

Create a “bluesy” improvisation using both hands. With LH, play this pattern, which is like Ghost Train but on different keys (play one octave lower than written, as indicated): With RH, create a “bluesy” improvised solo in any octave using the black keys and A...