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#2065934 - 04/17/13 09:54 AM Shells and black keys  
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Jean-Luc Offline
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Jean-Luc  Offline
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France
First, I am not sure if it should go to the jazz forum or be here but as I am a beginner and this is very much a beginner question smile
My teacher (who is on holiday for two weeks) recommended me a very interesting book about comping and getting started with jazz piano (it's a French book so not sure the title would be relevant here).
Amongst the first concept explained are the sevenths built with two "shells" (model A = RH fifth, LH fifth; model B = RH fourth, LH fifth). In the key of C it's very easy, no real question, but in the other keys, I was wondering what would be the best choice, always finger 1 and 5 for the fifths regardless of the key color (1 and 4 for the fourths) or replacing the 1 or 5 with 2 or 4 if on a black key ? (since I plan on building reflexes, I prefer asking about the right choice before I do ;)).
Sorry if my question is not very clear, it's a bit hard for me to explain smile But thanks for any help !


- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc
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#2065939 - 04/17/13 10:04 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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Hmm, I don't really understand the question. If I have a 7th chord, I generally need four notes. For C7 that would be C-E-G and Bb. I can drop the G without too much of a problem, but I definitely need the other three to get the right feel.

In the "shell" you have the C and G in both hands?

It doesn't make sense.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2065945 - 04/17/13 10:16 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Jean-Luc Offline
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I knew it wouldn't be clear smile
You have for example in model 1: LH C G RH E B for a Ima7, then LH D A RH F C for a IImi7 and so on for the whole diatonic scale harmonization (you can drop the five, and even the root in some circumstances of course)
model 2: LH C G RH B E for Ima7... (same as above)
As long as your are in C, finger choice is obvious, but I was wondering when we start having black keys smile


- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc
#2065948 - 04/17/13 10:23 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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In general what fits my hand best for fifths is:

White note to white note: 1 & 5 as you noted.
Black note to black note: The same.
White note to black note (B - F# for example): 5 - 2 (Left); 1 - 4 (Right)
Black note to white note (Bb - F for example); 5 -2 / 1 -4 as before.

(Hmm, thinking about this some more, black note to white note, I would probably do 5-2 or 4-1 in left hand; but in right actually I think 2-5).


But, like a lot of things, having flexibility will really help out because you may want to adjust that depending of what comes before or after.

Last edited by Andy Platt; 04/17/13 10:55 AM. Reason: Added more thoughts

  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2065952 - 04/17/13 10:27 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Morodiene Offline
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I also am not sure what you mean with your modela A and B stuff. If you want to play a 7th chord, you need at minimum the root and 7th. In the key of C major, the dominant 7th would be built upon the V chord, or G so the root would be G and the 7th would be F. Then after that you can add the third (B in the key of C major) and lastly you can add the 5th, but the 5th doesn't really add much to the chord, only fills it out.

If you are playing a shell you might do something like this from bottom to top: LH G-D, RH F-G-B. There are many other combinations, as long as you have the root (G) and the 7th (F) then it will sound like a 7th chord.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2065953 - 04/17/13 10:27 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Jean-Luc Offline
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Thank you Andy, that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for smile 1 on black felt kind of okay, but 5 was tricky.


- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc
#2065965 - 04/17/13 10:57 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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Originally Posted by Jean-Luc
Thank you Andy, that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for smile 1 on black felt kind of okay, but 5 was tricky.


I realized that my answer for black to white was incomplete. I've edited my posts.

As for your signature: A Frenchman should apologize for bad French but never for bad English wink


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#2065976 - 04/17/13 11:29 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Jean-Luc Offline
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@ Andy. Pardon my French ??? Never, born to be rude, that's in my DNA wink But well, if one can bear the unbathed hairiness, we ain't that bad wink
@ Morodiene. Model A and B stuff smile It's actually the way the fundamental building blocks of comping are presented, it starts with two basic "shells", in both case you have the tonic and dominant in the left hand and the third and seventh in the right hand (you work on the whole diatonic scale, so obviously the third and seventh quality will vary depending on the tonic, maj7, min7, min7, maj7, 7, min7, min7 (b5). My concern was more with the fingering than anything else,I am aware it's only one possible way to build this chords but when learning, you have to start simple smile Next, the maj7 add 9 sub 13 sq 4 div PI (add some cream and serve with a good wine smile


- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc
#2065992 - 04/17/13 12:18 PM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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keystring Offline
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This is sort of a weird coincidence. When I joined PW about 5 years ago I visited the jazz section where they were working on Autumn Leaves. I would have liked to do it with them and learn, but letter name chords were absolutely new to me - it looked like algebra. By chance I went back to the thread yesterday, and in the first couple of pages they're talking about these shells. (The thread is about 300 - 400 pages long!). As I remember they were playing the outer notes, and would worry about the inner notes later. This time I wasn't lost.

Anyhow, in the Autumn Leaves thread in the beginning a lot is being said and done with shells. It could also be that someone in that thread could tell you more.

#2065996 - 04/17/13 12:40 PM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Jean-Luc Offline
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Thank you very much keystring, I will most definitively have a look smile I am also expecting both Dave Frank's books to arrive by the post on Monday so I will also have a lot of reading to do in the JOI thread. I have been very busy studying the theory (and doing a lot of hear training) so names, symbols, and about everything theoretical is pretty well understood (actually, recently I have been doing "chord" games like other people do crosswords, and after a while, it gets quiet fun smile ) The practical part though .... a lot of work to do in this area smile


- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc
#2066624 - 04/18/13 03:45 PM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Andy Platt]  
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peterws Offline
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"As for your signature: A Frenchman should apologize for bad French but never for bad English wink"

True. And where does that leave our American friends?? I even get red lines under Queen`s English . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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#2066960 - 04/19/13 08:08 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: peterws]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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Andy Platt  Offline
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Originally Posted by peterws
"As for your signature: A Frenchman should apologize for bad French but never for bad English wink"

True. And where does that leave our American friends?? I even get red lines under Queen`s English . .


Ah yes, I'm completely bilingual - British by birth but have lived in Virginia for the last 16 years.

I can say colour and color, grey and gray and tomato and tomato wink

P.S. Yes, colour got underlined for me. But I'm on a system set to US English so I would expect that.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#2067061 - 04/19/13 11:16 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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malkin Offline
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Thanks to you guys, I have Rex Harrison/Henry Higgins rattling around my head...

Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks are taught their Greek...


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2067106 - 04/19/13 12:29 PM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: malkin]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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Andy Platt  Offline
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Originally Posted by malkin
Thanks to you guys, I have Rex Harrison/Henry Higgins rattling around my head...

Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks are taught their Greek...


"In 'ertford, 'ereford Hand 'ampshire, 'urricanes 'ardly Hever 'appen" you mean?


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#2067145 - 04/19/13 01:48 PM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Jean-Luc Offline
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Slightly off-topic but I just noticed, there is really nothing better to learn your scale than playing them harmonized in seven (or to discover that you don't actually know them that well because you never really saw the point in learning them before).


- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc
#2067272 - 04/19/13 05:51 PM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Jean-Luc]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted by Jean-Luc
Slightly off-topic but I just noticed, there is really nothing better to learn your scale than playing them harmonized in seven (or to discover that you don't actually know them that well because you never really saw the point in learning them before).

I used to make interesting chord progressions under my scales... ha

If somebody can tell me how to insert a Sibelius file into a post, I can give an example. whome


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2067440 - 04/20/13 03:21 AM Re: Shells and black keys [Re: Polyphonist]  
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chrisbell Offline
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
If somebody can tell me how to insert a Sibelius file into a post, I can give an example. whome
A: Make a Screenshot and post the image.
Windows or Mac OsX
B: print as pdf and post via Box or Dropbox.

Last edited by chrisbell; 04/20/13 03:23 AM.

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