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How to Create Hip, Mature and Lush Harmonies
Rarely is a chord played with its tones contained in a single octave, the root on the bottom, the third in the middle, and the fifth on the top.
Usually chords are "voiced!"
This basically means that the positions of a chord's tones are scattered over the keyboard. The tones may be altered, doubled, added to, missing, and so forth.
There are a great variety of possibilities available in voicing chords. Voicing chords properly is an art within itself. Using the correct voicing techniques in your playing will give your improvisation a "hip," mature and full sound. Chords played in root position just does not seem to do the job when playing Jazz, Rock, Pop, Blues, Gospel and "Smooth Jazz" piano.
Learning and mastering good voice leading techniques in your playing is not difficult if you just follow some simple rules.
1. The most important notes in any chord is the 3rd and the 7th. The 3rd of the chord defines whether the chord is a major or minor chord. The 7th of the chord will define whether the chord is a dominant or major chord. Usually the bass player will play the root and fifth. The root and fifth are not essential tones and can be completely left our from your chordprogressions. If you must use the root and fifth try using it in your right hand, not your left. You should add your "color" tones in your right hand.
2. When you are taking a solo and not "comping" (accompanying) for another soloist you should play your chord voicings in your left hand, so that the right hand can be free to improvise, do fills, double the left hand, add extensions, etc.
3. The range of your voicings is also very important. A good rule of thumb to remember when voicing your chords, is to always try to voice your chords around middle C. Keeping your voicings around middle C will sound full and clear. Limits of approximately an octave above or below will assure best results by preventing the voicing from assuming a quality of thinness or muddiness.
Ron Worthy is a Music Educator, Songwriter and Performer. He offers online piano instruction for all ages at: http://www.mrronsmusic.com/playpiano.htm
How to Buy an Electric Guitar Online
With the increased proliferation of online guitar and musical equipment stores, as well as the lower prices and greater selection that these stores generally offer, most people are now turning to the internet to help them make their guitar purchases. Shopping online is simpler and more convenient than shopping in a store and, since all major guitar manufacturers have good websites, product information and specs are more easily accessible online than they are simply by asking a salesperson in a store.
The Ostinato - What It is and How to Use It
Ostinato means "repeating pattern" and is used frequently in all types of music. For New Age piano players, it provides a great way to lay down the background of the piece while the right-hand improvises a melody!
6 Tips for Organizing Your Music Files
If you're a digital music fan, you probably have problems organizing your music file collection. For me, I used to have hundreds of MP3 files lumped in one folder in my hard drive. Can you imagine the pain I had to go through to find one specific tune to listen to?
Creating Caverns - an Improvisation Exercise
In a recent post to my Yahoo group, I mentioned that I created the piece "Caverns" using one chord. I'd like to explain how I accomplished this.
How to Be in the Moment when Playing Piano
Your best music will always come when you are in the moment and just playing the piano. Why is this? Because you have forgotten about trying to make music. Instead, you are now "making" music. A subtle but crucial difference that can be detected by most careful listeners.
Free, Legal Music Online
Almost everyone has heard about the massive crack down on Internet music piracy that has been occurring over the past few years. Napster was taken down (although it has now returned as a pay service), other file sharing programs now require users to pay for a license and the RIAA and other similar organizations are doing their best to hunt down copyright offenders and put an end to their crime sprees. The consumers on the other hand argue that their actions hurt nobody, that there is no damage done to anyone by their not buying an album. Furthermore, they claim, MP3s allow them to sample a CD before purchasing it, thus actually helping sales.
Acclaimed Songwriter and Performer Michael Alan Releases New CD: Searching for the Heartland:
New York born singer songwriter Michael Alan, who records with the Indie-label Global Fish Records in Seattle, is an artist who creates without a prescribed musical formula. His approach to writing is purely straight from his heart, lyrically poetic and honest, and void of any sound-alike comparisons. Michael's songs portray a myriad of lyrical expressions and images that moves the listener through a musical experience which evokes excitement, tenderness, passion, and sadness. His ability to write songs each with their own personality reveals the fact that he is an avid listener of all types of music including, pop, rock, blues, soul, jazz, classical, world music, etc.
5 Ways to Enjoy Your Music Files
OK, say you've got one thousand of your favorite MP3 songs sitting in your hard disk. What's the best way to enjoy those files? Most of us probably will use the Windows Media Player to listen to those files. but did you know there are other more innovative and interesting ways playback MP3, WMA and WAV files?
How to be Creative at the Piano
So you want to be more creative when playing piano. Many students wish they could just sit down and improvise their own music but don't know how to begin.
Music Mini Course: Learn The Basics Of Reading Music On A Keyboard Instrument
Welcome to the wonderful world of music. As you begin reading this Music Mini Course it is fun to realize that you are also participating in a very important cultural aspect from around the world which has been going on for centuries. Did you know that pianos in some form have been around for over 500 years? Some of the first instruments of this kind were created in the late Medieval Period and were called clavichords. They had a very light, metallic sound because the small hand-pounded 'hammers' were made of very light weight metal-like material. These hammers struck strings of varying lengths to create different tones or pitches. The next cousin to the clavichord was the harpsichord invented by Cristofori in Italy around 1450 A.D. This keyboard instrument had a mechanism in it called the plecktrum which 'plucked' the strings and produced a slightly stronger sound than its predecessor. Whether you are playing an acoustic instrument, which is the closest relative to the history just mentioned, or an electronic keyboard, you are now participating in a centuries old musical art form.
Yo, is Rap Just Another Four Letter Word?
Flaunting any excessive or anti-social behavior is considered brazen. When it is no longer considered brazen it is proof that it has become embedded as part of our culture. Not to say this is a good thing, after all headhunting was considered a cultural norm in some societies. The question to ask here may be, was rap ever truly a part of our culture? Will it eventually run out of steam and go the way of things like doing the twist, afro haircuts or break dancing? I for one would argue that it is not truly a part of the American cultural scene, but is a forced, twisted and contrived money machine that appeals to only the basest passions of the youth in our country.
Tips on Performing Your Music for Others
Have you ever dreamed of performing a piece you created for others. Imagining that they are captivated and held spellbound by the music? If you have, you know that it can be a long road from actually coming up with something, practicing it, and then giving it to an audience. In my own case, I had a good opportunity to perform. It was in a coffeehouse that already had a decent piano.
Liberate your iPod
When Akio Morita came up with the idea of the Sony Walkman all of his colleagues at the thought he was completely insane. The general consensus was that people wouldn't want to walk around the streets wearing headphones. Everyone thought the idea was ludicrous and that it would never catch on.
Good News for the Musically Untalented
Have you ever been told that you were good at something but not good enough to make it a career or life ambition? Especially with music, if you're passion is music you are hopelessly outnumbered right from the beginning. "You better have a back-up job" or "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" are common refrains heard from well meaning adults who inadvertently had their dreams crushed out of them.
Growing and Keeping Loyal Fan Support
Fan support for musicians is a two way street. You make the music, release the CDs, and play the shows. You need fans to show up at the gigs, buy the CDs, or spread the buzz about you or you don't have an audience. When these two elements are out of balance, your musical endeavors can get sidelined.
Adults Can Learn to Play the Piano Too
Are you well past puberty and have always had a hankering for tickling the ivories? Maybe you didn't have the money as a child. Or your family was always moving. Or you probably didn't even know there was such a wonderful thing as the piano. Whatever the reason it is never too late to start. Really!
Piano Playing is Easier than You Think When You Understand Musical Form
Form is the key that unlocks the musical map of a song or a musical compostition. Like a house has rooms, so a song has rooms or sections.
How to Buy an Electric Guitar
For most of us, making any major purchase, such as a new refrigerator, or a new car, is a cacophony of options and confusion; do we want the silver one or the black one? How much can we afford to spend? Will it last over time? If nothing else, we at least know what we need these appliances to do: the microwave needs to make the food hot quickly, the car needs to get us from one place to the other without breaking down. When confronted with the purchase of a new guitar, even experienced guitarists can have trouble deciding what exactly they want and need. However, if you follow a few simple suggestions, you can make your guitar-buying experience a whole lot easier. 1. Determine your price range: you can spend anywhere from $99 to $20,000+ on a guitar, so make sure to work out your budget before you go into the store or start shopping online. Quality guitars are available at all different price ranges, so don't feel that you have to break the bank to get what you need.
Discover The Perfect Place To Perform
Once you know what your Unique Selling Proposition is as a musician (we covered this in the last issue), it's time to ask yourself what kind of venue you want to be letting those talents out in. This is the process that will help you determine your "Perfect Performance Venue" so that you don't waste your energy and efforts searching for performances in the wrong area!
How Many Songs Are In Your Pocket?
The portable MP3 player continues to be the hot item for those who want music on the go. I was talking to a teen the other day wearing a wristwatch MP3 player she takes on her walks. She showed me how it stores & plays about 60 songs and does everything but tell time.
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