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chord progression

How Popular Chord Progression Works – A Simple Guide

by Erik Thiede on January 18, 2015

What is a popular chord progression? Chord progressions are actually series of chords which are played one after the other to produce a harmonious tune. By now you have learned the different piano chords and may have memorized them a bit. The knowledge you have about chords will help you a lot in playing the piano. Here is the reason why…

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When you look at a music sheet, did you notice that there are certain chords that loop around the entire music piece? These chords follow the popular chord progression loop. They are said to be popular because you cannot only find them in one music sheet but also in other compositions. The only differences they have are the time signatures and the notes being played on the music sheet.

How are this popular chord progression written? They can be written in two ways. One is through the Roman numeral system and the other one is by the simple use of numbers. The basic chord progression is called the “three chord key” or “3-note triads” which is comprised of three chords that when played together, creates a harmonious melody.

The most basic and popular chord progression is I – IV – V or 1 – 4 – 5. Take the key of C for example, if it follows this chord progression, you will have C – F – G. After playing the third chord of the chord progression order, you will loop around and go back to the first chord. Sometimes one of these chords will be changed into a minor chord that hymns together with the major chords, other times some composers insert the minor chords instead of just changing one of the major chords.

I – IV – V can be changed into I – ii – V which stands for C – Dm – G. Notice the smaller Roman numerals are used to represent the minor chords such as the D minor. However, most composers use numbers instead of the roman numerals. An example for this is the 1 – 6 – 2 – 5 popular chord progression which represents C – Am – Dm – G7. Your guide in order to learn chord progression will always be your knowledge of the fifteen key signatures as well as the different piano chords that’s why it is so important for you to memorize those basics.

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Piano Intervals

by Tania Gleaves on January 14, 2015


Piano intervals are differences in pitch. If you think of the C major scale, each one of its keys is an interval between its lowest note and its highest. That includes whole notes and half notes, mind you.. The smallest interval is obviously the half-step (called a minor 2nd) and the largest interval is an entire octave (called a perfect eighth). There are thus, a total of 88 intervals from the left side of the keyboard all the way to the right. Played one-by-one, these notes are called a melodic interval (ascending or descending — either way), but when played together, they’re called a harmonic interval. Of particular interest is the manner in which intervals build major, minor, and other type of chords.

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Types of Intervals

Once you’ve learned the pattern of identifying intervals, playing them is easy-as-pie. The major third interval for instance, is the distance between any three notes of the C Major scale. If you were to play the C key and the E key simultaneously, the C, D, and E keys form the trio in the “third” interval even though the D key is silent. If you were to play the C and D key only, you would form a major 2nd interval because the distance between both notes is just two. If you were to play the C key and the E-flat key, you would form a minor third. C to F is a perfect 4th interval while C to G is a perfect fifth. Playing the bottom C all the way to the top C is playing an octave. But things start to get a little tricky when you introduce sharps and flats.

For example, playing D to G creates a perfect 4th. When we’re working with intervals, we have to be careful about what we call a flat and what we call a sharp. With our perfect 4th, a G-sharp becomes an augmented 4th — not an A-Flat. An A-flat in this case is called a diminished 5th. But that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Why Learn Intervals

Learning intervals makes maneuvering around the keyboard easier. It also makes playing the piano easier too! That’s because many of the songs we hear every day are played with only three chords. By studying intervals and understanding how they build basic chords, you can quickly learn to play the songs that you enjoy listening to. Chords after all, are built with the intervals we’re talking about! Minor chords for example, are built with minor intervals and major chords are built from major intervals.

Here’s a short list of some songs we’re familiar with. As you think about these songs, think about the intervals that they use and then try them out on your own:

Frere Jacques: Major 2nd
Happy Birthday: Major 2nd
Beverley Hills Cop: Minor 3nd
Kum Ba Ya (Chorus): Major 3rd
Here Comes the Bride: Perfect 4th
Amazing Grace: Perfect 4th
Star Wars: Perfect 5th
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: Perfect 5th
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean: Major 6th
Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Perfect 8th (Octave)

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Use Sight Reading Music To Your Advantage

October 24, 2014

There are some basic steps on how to develop sight reading music. Sight read music simply means easily reading a music piece and putting it into action right away without exerting much thinking effort because the music flows naturally from your sight to your fingers. This skill can be acquired and enhanced by every pianist […]

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Looking for a Chord Chart for the Piano?

February 16, 2009

Instant Piano Chord Chart Finder Need a Quick and Convenient way to find piano chords and voicings? The construction of a piano chord chart can be easy once you understand the formula for each chord. It all follows from the intervals of the respective scales. For example, the major scale for the key of C […]

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