Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Who's Online Now
127 registered members (Blee7, AZNpiano, AlphaBravoCharlie, 604Rakuda, ando, Abdol, Blague, AYS, 8ude, 30 invisible), 1,475 guests, and 6 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Understanding chords, please help #2870026
07/17/19 08:46 AM
07/17/19 08:46 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
My new piano teacher is trying to help me to read chords to improve my playing and sight reading. (Just passed grade 6 in UK). I have a sheet which gives examples for the root note, major triad, minor triad, augmented, major 6th, minor 6th, dominant 7th, major 7th, diminished 7th and 9th of every note. I can understand this, I also understand the basic first and second inversions of a chord. Beyond that I am struggling.

She wants me to pencil in chord names on several of my pieces, for example Czerny, Op. 740 No 6.

Any suggestions of how to go about this, any good books on chord recognition and how to identify chords would be much appreciated.


Pippa
Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items, digital piano dolly, music theme party goods
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Pippa] #2870034
07/17/19 09:15 AM
07/17/19 09:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,338
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Offline
1000 Post Club Member
backto_study_piano  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,338
Queensland, Australia
I'd be interested in knowing why she wants to do this - it's not something which any of my teachers ever pursued. I thought it was mainly jazz, pop and contemporary Christian types of music which did that.

I'll listen out to other member's comments with interest.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Pippa] #2870039
07/17/19 09:39 AM
07/17/19 09:39 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
B
bennevis Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
Originally Posted by Pippa
My new piano teacher is trying to help me to read chords to improve my playing and sight reading. (Just passed grade 6 in UK). I have a sheet which gives examples for the root note, major triad, minor triad, augmented, major 6th, minor 6th, dominant 7th, major 7th, diminished 7th and 9th of every note. I can understand this, I also understand the basic first and second inversions of a chord. Beyond that I am struggling.

She wants me to pencil in chord names on several of my pieces, for example Czerny, Op. 740 No 6.

Any suggestions of how to go about this, any good books on chord recognition and how to identify chords would be much appreciated.

It sounds like you need a grounding in harmony - which you will if you want to do ABRSM Grade 6 (and above) Theory.

But to have to know all the kinds of harmonies that composers use is really only for diploma level. Sight-reading doesn't depend on the ability to name all sorts of weird & wonderful chords (and some chords have more than one name, depending on their context and even who you are.....); it's dependent on your ability to recognise patterns of chords etc.

This book is published by the ABRSM and will take you all the way from Grade 6 to diploma level:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Harmony-Practice-Anna-Butterworth/dp/1854728334


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Pippa] #2870040
07/17/19 09:39 AM
07/17/19 09:39 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 154
Germany
F
florhof Offline
Full Member
florhof  Offline
Full Member
F

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 154
Germany
Originally Posted by Pippa
root note, major triad, minor triad, augmented, major 6th, minor 6th, dominant 7th, major 7th, diminished 7th and 9th of every note. I can understand this, I also understand the basic first and second inversions of a chord.


That's quite lot. If you really understand and quickly recognize those chords, you are well off. Everything else derives from that.

Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Pippa] #2870042
07/17/19 09:47 AM
07/17/19 09:47 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,647
Groove On Online content
1000 Post Club Member
Groove On  Online Content
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,647
It sounds like you have good theoretical knowledge of chords, but weak practical knowledge?

On a scale of 0-10 how quickly can you recognize chord shapes on the staff? How quickly on the keyboard? (0= Not at all, 10 = Automatically). And how quickly do you make the connection between the shape on the keyboard and the shape on the staff? How quickly can you form the shape in your hand once you recognize the chord shape?

FWIW - my reading ability increased quite a bit after I started improvisation lessons. The first 2 years was devoted to working directly on the keyboard without traditional notation. I’ve become pretty fluent at thinking musically with the shapes and intervals of the keyboard. So much so that when I read notes on a page, I see them as shapes on the keyboard. The point is that the ability to recognize shapes on paper and on the keyboard are intimately tied together - but are also separate skills.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: backto_study_piano] #2870064
07/17/19 11:40 AM
07/17/19 11:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 220
Maryland, USA
scriabinfanatic Offline
Full Member
scriabinfanatic  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 220
Maryland, USA
Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
I'd be interested in knowing why she wants to do this - it's not something which any of my teachers ever pursued. I thought it was mainly jazz, pop and contemporary Christian types of music which did that.



I find that knowing the chords/theory behind the music that I am playing is a very useful tool for learning music faster and remembering it better (helps avoid memory slips). I routinely pencil in chord symbols, modulation keys, etc. above the staff in music I am learning. Some pieces I have learned have practically a full analysis pencilled in. There's a good YouTube video describing the value of knowing the theory behind the music you are learning/playing -- what he calls "intellectual memory" -- here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC-8P-sapHw

Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: backto_study_piano] #2870073
07/17/19 12:25 PM
07/17/19 12:25 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
Thanks, I did casually mention to her that I fancy playing in church sometime in the future and I know a lot of the hymns are very chordal...Must say it is fascinating as well as challenging!


Pippa
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: bennevis] #2870113
07/17/19 03:06 PM
07/17/19 03:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
Thanks, I would like to do grade 6 theory at some point. This book looks pretty good, many thanks for your help.


Pippa
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: florhof] #2870120
07/17/19 03:33 PM
07/17/19 03:33 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
Thank you 🙏😉. I will stick at it !


Pippa
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Pippa] #2870181
07/17/19 09:32 PM
07/17/19 09:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,338
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Offline
1000 Post Club Member
backto_study_piano  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,338
Queensland, Australia
Hi - yes, contemporary Church music is quite chord based - so it would be understandable if that is the purpose.

I've played it a little - but I gravitate to Churches with traditional music if I can. Where I play Pipe Organ - it's purely reading the score, which provides much more information than the chords for hymns, as the chords will just be a summary of the music (and improvising from there when appropriate).


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: scriabinfanatic] #2870183
07/17/19 09:50 PM
07/17/19 09:50 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,813
Florida
cmb13 Online confused
Silver Level
cmb13  Online Confused
Silver Level
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,813
Florida
Originally Posted by scriabinfanatic

I find that knowing the chords/theory behind the music that I am playing is a very useful tool for learning music faster and remembering it better (helps avoid memory slips). I routinely pencil in chord symbols, modulation keys, etc. above the staff in music I am learning. Some pieces I have learned have practically a full analysis pencilled in. There's a good YouTube video describing the value of knowing the theory behind the music you are learning/playing -- what he calls "intellectual memory" -- here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC-8P-sapHw

I've watched that video as well, and it was very helpful and influential to me. I also now try to pencil in or learn what chord I'm playing in pieces I'm taking seriously. I distinctly remember him saying something like a serious piano student should always know what key they're in, and what chord they're on, otherwise you're just pressing buttons...or something like that.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Pippa] #2870232
07/18/19 07:14 AM
07/18/19 07:14 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 35
Cambridge, UK
Brahms4 Offline
Full Member
Brahms4  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 35
Cambridge, UK
Czerny is likely to be pretty simple in terms of harmony.
Start by working out the opening key (look at the key signature and the opening chord - this will usually be I or V.
Work out what the 7 triads in that key are (built on each degree of the major scale, or minor harmonic, for minor pieces).
Look at the music and stack the notes up in thirds to work out which triad they belong to. Ignore any passing/auxiliary notes etc.
The lowest sounding note in the chord determines its inversion i.e. root position, first inversion etc.

Presumably your teacher has showed you at least how to get started though?!

The Anna Butterworth book is fine, but it is not enough for grade 6 theory! It only covers Roman numeral analysis of harmony and does not even touch on figured bass, (which is Q2 in the grade 6 exam and worth 15% of the paper). It also does not cover composition at all (20%) or how to tackle the score-based questions outside of those asking you to find/name a chord. It is also not up to diploma level at all (I have a Licentiate in music theory, and teach theory to this level, so I know for sure!)

Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Brahms4] #2870252
07/18/19 08:57 AM
07/18/19 08:57 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
B
bennevis Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
Originally Posted by Brahms4
The Anna Butterworth book is fine, but it is not enough for grade 6 theory! It only covers Roman numeral analysis of harmony and does not even touch on figured bass, (which is Q2 in the grade 6 exam and worth 15% of the paper).

Are you sure?

Have you got the same 267-page book that I'm looking at? Check up on the index.....

As for composition, it doesn't teach it directly, but it certainly gives you the basic tools to compose, and is more than enough for Grade 6.

As for diploma level Theory, I defer to your undoubted expertise in the current requirements, as I've no idea what they are. (It's been several decades since I did it). But it's been recommended as "an excellent choice for A Level and Diploma students" by the EPTA.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: bennevis] #2870411
07/18/19 06:02 PM
07/18/19 06:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 35
Cambridge, UK
Brahms4 Offline
Full Member
Brahms4  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 35
Cambridge, UK
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Brahms4
The Anna Butterworth book is fine, but it is not enough for grade 6 theory! It only covers Roman numeral analysis of harmony and does not even touch on figured bass, (which is Q2 in the grade 6 exam and worth 15% of the paper).

Are you sure?

Have you got the same 267-page book that I'm looking at? Check up on the index.....

As for composition, it doesn't teach it directly, but it certainly gives you the basic tools to compose, and is more than enough for Grade 6.

As for diploma level Theory, I defer to your undoubted expertise in the current requirements, as I've no idea what they are. (It's been several decades since I did it). But it's been recommended as "an excellent choice for A Level and Diploma students" by the EPTA.


Yes - same book. Beyond a couple of paragraphs it doesn't go into nearly enough detail about figured bass for the exams. A short paragraph here and there saying what chords/inversions the figures stand for isn't enough. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying it's a bad book or not recommending it - it's just that it doesn't go into enough detail on this topic and certainly not for the composition and scored based questions.

Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Brahms4] #2870432
07/18/19 06:43 PM
07/18/19 06:43 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
B
bennevis Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
Originally Posted by Brahms4
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Brahms4
The Anna Butterworth book is fine, but it is not enough for grade 6 theory! It only covers Roman numeral analysis of harmony and does not even touch on figured bass, (which is Q2 in the grade 6 exam and worth 15% of the paper).

Are you sure?

Have you got the same 267-page book that I'm looking at? Check up on the index.....

As for composition, it doesn't teach it directly, but it certainly gives you the basic tools to compose, and is more than enough for Grade 6.

As for diploma level Theory, I defer to your undoubted expertise in the current requirements, as I've no idea what they are. (It's been several decades since I did it). But it's been recommended as "an excellent choice for A Level and Diploma students" by the EPTA.


Yes - same book. Beyond a couple of paragraphs it doesn't go into nearly enough detail about figured bass for the exams. A short paragraph here and there saying what chords/inversions the figures stand for isn't enough.

Eh? It has two whole pages explaining how figured bass is used and notated, and then a few more pages later on - which are more than enough for the purpose.

This isn't a tome for harpsichordists learning to play continuo. It's just a book about harmony in practice for all levels up to diploma, and is more comprehensive (and easier to understand) than almost any other book I've seen for pianists (not academics), including the ones I used when I was a student (by Lovelock).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: bennevis] #2870434
07/18/19 06:53 PM
07/18/19 06:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 35
Cambridge, UK
Brahms4 Offline
Full Member
Brahms4  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 35
Cambridge, UK
I teach people who take ABRSM grade 6 and above and I can assure you it's not enough detail. There is little point in arguing unless you're teaching or studying for these specific exams yourself. On the surface it might look enough, but it doesn't offer practical help for people actually taking these exams.

For grade 6 you have to realise a figured bass in SATB - not how a continuo player would perform it. Knowing the chords (ie 5/3 = root position etc etc) is only half the battle. By grade 8 you need to be able to realise figured bass in the context of a Trio sonata in Baroque style. You won't manage this with Butterworth alone.

Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Brahms4] #2870439
07/18/19 07:20 PM
07/18/19 07:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
B
bennevis Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,062
Originally Posted by Brahms4
I teach people who take ABRSM grade 6 and above and I can assure you it's not enough detail. There is little point in arguing unless you're teaching or studying for these specific exams yourself. On the surface it might look enough, but it doesn't offer practical help for people actually taking these exams.

For grade 6 you have to realise a figured bass in SATB - not how a continuo player would perform it. Knowing the chords (ie 5/3 = root position etc etc) is only half the battle. By grade 8 you need to be able to realise figured bass in the context of a Trio sonata in Baroque style. You won't manage this with Butterworth alone.

Of course you won't, just from knowing how figured bass is used.

The student also has to know how to harmonise (and all the rules of harmony), and that is taught in several chapters in the book. You have to be able to harmonise melodies in SATB in the manner of Bach chorales, as well as compose in two and three parts (like the Inventions). If the student really has studied and assimilated the book properly (and completed all the exercises) - with the help of a teacher, of course -, he should be able to do all that.

What book(s) are your students using?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Groove On] #2870506
07/19/19 04:35 AM
07/19/19 04:35 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
Thanks, I think you are spot-on with your comments especially relating to recognising visual chords on the score and shapes for your hand and the keyboard. Interesting to hear about the improvisation as well, so much for me to work at. Many thanks 😉


Pippa
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: cmb13] #2870510
07/19/19 05:01 AM
07/19/19 05:01 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
Thanks to both of you. Wow! This is an amazing video to watch and makes a lot of sense. Very helpful 👍🏻


Pippa
Re: Understanding chords, please help [Re: Brahms4] #2870521
07/19/19 05:24 AM
07/19/19 05:24 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
P
Pippa Offline OP
Junior Member
Pippa  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 7
Thank you, that really is very helpful. I have loads to go on to get started. I must now stop talking about it and get on with it 😉


Pippa
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
PianoSupplies.com is Piano World's Online Store
Please visit our store today.
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
PT playback source
by Chris Warren. 08/23/19 04:03 PM
OT - For anyone within striking distance of Philly...
by Rich Galassini. 08/23/19 10:59 AM
Yamaha U1 C110A or Yamaha U1 A
by goldensun. 08/23/19 10:04 AM
What's Hot!!
Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour!
-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics193,688
Posts2,861,879
Members94,231
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.1