Piano Lesson #22 – Apologize by One Republic

September 29, 2008
Piano Lesson #22

View all previous Piano / Keyboard Lessons

You are about to learn:
Artist:
One Republic
Song: Apologize

This is an amazing song that has become quite popular all over the American radio broadcasts with the help from Timbaland. One Republic was a band that not many knew about in various parts of the world, but now everyone is seeming to rave about them.

With the popularity of the song Apologize I thought it would be a great idea to teach everyone how to play this beautifully melodic song. If you haven’t heard this song before I highly recommend you listen to it. Here is a link to a video of this song so you can truly hear what I mean about this song being one of the best. This is the version that includes Timbaland because I feel this version gives you a better feel of the piano and emotional portrayal that it is trying to give its listeners.

I can truly say I myself can be caught singing this song any time I hear it and have downloaded & purchased the One Republic CD just so I can listen to it whenever I want. When you listen to this song the wording with the inclusion of the many different instruments such as the cello and violins just makes the song feel even more put together then most you hear on the top 100 music hits lists now a days.

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Piano Lessons Are Coming Back!

September 27, 2008

Hi all you piano fans,

I am happy to inform you that I will be bringing back the piano lessons again for you. I know its been quite some time since I’ve wrote a new piano lesson, but we’ve been working so hard on The Piano Encyclopedia to get it up and running for you that we haven’t put together any new piano lessons recently.

Well, you will be glad to know its time for me to sit down and bring out all those piano lessons that just need to be learn’t by you. First things first, what songs do you want to learn? What bands? Come on give me some ideas. Switch things up.

I know Coldplay was a definite hit and they seemed to get a lot of traffic so I will gladly put more of these, maybe also some older bands. The possibilities are endless. I’d like to get some suggestions so I know I am satisfying all your expectations, since that is exactly what we are here for. You want to learn new songs on the piano and I want to help you learn them, so let me know what you want and I’ll get it.

Over the past six months you’ve seen a few posts in our piano section that have been great and now we feel it is time to begin teaching you guys again. You can never know too many songs especially when you enjoy entertaining and playing the piano while everyone sits around talking.

In the past we’ve done lessons for the more recent bands, but I am thinking maybe we should include a few classical lessons, and maybe some jazz songs. I have so many ideas brewing away in my head that I think its time I let them loose on the world.

I am more then excited to be back doing the piano lessons and hope to see you guys leaving me many suggestions.

~Chrissi~


Can you play piano… like them?!

September 27, 2007

Hi Everyone!

I had so much fun watching the following videos that I am writing this post! 🙂
Today we are going to enjoy some odd videos on piano playing!

  • A guy who plays piano with “his balls”
    (…don’t misunderstand me! … especially dirty-minded people…)
  • Two guys who play the piano with their “sticks”
    (…yes.. now DO misunderstand me! dirty-minded.. you are now on the right track… haha)
  • A cat that plays a concert piano with his paws following other instruments with correct rythem!
    (… well “correct” rythem for cat.. don’t expect a “Gould Cat”! So innocent and cute!)

It seems playing piano is easier than we though, isn’t it?

Check out these great videos to probe it.. haha
… and then tell me about it!

Learn to play piano with your own balls!

Learn to play piano with your (sexy?) ‘stick’! (I am sure you didn’t know it also has some peculiar other uses! although reserved for the skilled ones.. haha)

Make your cat teach you piano! (Not even Garfield can do this!)
…and I know you want to see more of this cutie. Here again, in concert II:


I hope you had a good laugh!

What do you think about them!!!? haha 😉

(and please do not confess you tried replicating video No 2… haha)

Cheers!
Questor

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  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!

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Enhancing your piano technique – Voicing

July 29, 2007

Vocing piano keyboard chords In easy ways, Voicing is the inversion of a chord. This is the vertical ordering of the notes of the chord, or in other words. which notes are on top, bottom, or in the middle.

This simple concept can change completely how rich and professional your playing sounds.
Geniuses like Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, always based their compositions in other to obtain the best voicing combinations for their musical phrases. However, this not only applies to classical music, a bad voicing can cause a jazz player to sound ‘cheap’ or very unprofessional, and a good voicing can make you be the most wanted piano bar player!

Fortunately, the secret of voicing can be summarized in one line:

You must always minimize the distance that each note of each chord must move in order to go to from the previous chord to the next chord.

Following this simple and amazing rule, your sound quality will improve greatly, and it’s just that easy for chords!

To expand into this subject, I invite you to read the following article, by the experienced pianist Paul Tobey:

It always amazes me when I hear different piano players and how they voice their chords. Voicing is one of those skills that is not talked about a lot but in my experience makes the biggest difference in a pianist’s overall sound.

What does voicing mean exactly? Simply put, voicing is the way chords are played which gives them their timbre or richness. In other words it’s how many notes are played, the distance between each of the notes and the quantity and quality of extensions.

There are literally thousands of ways to play a single chord. There are also millions of ways to play a chord progression if you consider that each chord can be played a thousand different ways. However, it’s likely a good idea to start off with a few solid possibilities instead of a thousand.

For example, let’s take a Cmaj7 chord. The chord itself is simple enough and is made up of C E G and B. However, depending on how rich you want the chord to sound you can also add D and A to the chord as extensions. Why? Because D and A come from the C major scale and do not clash with the basic chord.

These are what we call extensions. In other words a good pianist will already consider D and A in their chord voicing when they see the chord symbol Cmaj7. It doesn’t have to be written Cmaj7 (9 13) for them to understand this.

So, how would a pianist then voice this chord? Well, for starters, that depends on the melody. Whatever the melody note is will become the highest note of the chord. For example, let’s say D is the melody note of prominence while the chord is being played. That means that for a pianist our 9th is already understood as part of the chord and is the top note.

Next, it’s generally a good idea to play the bass note in the left hand which is C of course. Then the next 2 most important notes are the 3rd and the 7th because these notes give the chord its flavor. Consider playing the 7th in the left hand above the bass note. That would mean playing the C with finger 5 (baby finger) and B with finger 1 (thumb).

Then, play the 3rd, 5th and melody (9th) in the right hand with the 1st, 2nd and 5th fingers respectively. What’s left? The 13th or A which, you can cover with the 3rd finger of the right hand. So, from bottom to top you would have the notes in this order; C B E G A and D. That right there is a very rich sounding chord and you’d have to go a long way to find one richer.

However, this is only one way of voicing the chord. Like I said before there are literally thousands of ways. My suggestion is this; learn one way at a time until it becomes second nature. Voicing the root and 7th in the left hand and covering the 3rd and the melody in the right hand is a very good system to start with. Then with your left over fingers in the right hand cover the 5th and any other extension that’s available. This works for all chords including major, minor, dominant and diminished chords.

Once you’ve learned this way of voicing chords it becomes much easier to tackle a new formula because this one is already clear and concrete and will help you hear very clearly the difference between the chords. Until next time, keep practicing.

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did.

We expect your comments and questions, and if you’d like us to publish an article about any piano related topic just tell us!

Cheers and until next time!

Rod

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  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!

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Master Piano Improvisation

July 29, 2007

Improvising at the piano Lesson.Do you play piano?

…Yes?!

But can you play without a score, without a list of chords, without a written or specified melody?

The most common scene for a piano student: you perform a little concert for a group of friends, and after you finish playing your most well-known pieces, one of them asks you: “Hey could you play for me anything from jazz or blues?…” or “Could you play for me something similar to [this song that you don’t know, nor have the score in front of you!] ?
Most times you answer evasively thus hiding your frustration that you don’t have a clue on how to do that, and play another song for them…. until now!

Our friend Paul Tobey, a concert pianist full of knowledge and experience, will give us a quick lesson about improvising at the keyboard or piano:

One of the greatest thrills a pianist can have is to be able to sit at the piano and just play; without music and without thought. Unfortunately many pianists never learn to do this. They are closely tied to their music because that’s not only what’s comfortable for them that’s the way they learned.

However, what if I were to tell you that in as little as ten piano lessons you could be playing your favorite melodies without music and also be able to improvise as well? Would that be something you’d be interested in? Take a moment and picture you sitting at the piano at a party and just playing. How does it feel? Great, that’s what you need to feel if you’re going to do what it takes to learn properly.

Let’s get started. In our first piano lesson, you must understand how music is structured in order to be able to improvise. Most western music is based on what we call tertian harmony, which simply means chord structures that are based on intervals of three. For example a C major chord is made up of the notes C E and G. Each of these notes is spaced a third away from the next.

So, assuming that all chords are based on tertian harmony, then next thing you need to know is where do the notes we choose for our chords come from? Well, they come directly out of a major or minor scale. For example; let’s take a C major scale which is C D E F G A B and back to C. When we build chords on top of each of the notes of a major scale we would build them in intervals of 3 and the quality of the chord (major or minor) is determined by the scale.

That means just like our C major chord which is C E and G (notes chosen from the major scale), our F major chord would be F A and C, where A and C are notes from the C major scale. We wouldn’t use for example Ab or C# because they do not come from the C major scale. Likewise for a G major chord, G B and D, the note B and D come also from the C major scale.

The number of the chord is important as well. Since our C major chord is built on the first note of the scale we call this one (1). The F major chord is four (4) because it is built on the 4th note of the C major scale. And, the G major chord is five (5) because it’s the 5th note of the C major scale.

Coincidentally, the chords C, F and G or 1, 4 and 5 are what most classical and popular music is based upon. The vast majority of songs use the chord progression 4, 5 to 1 which is the most common chord progression there is.

Understanding the 4, 5, 1 chord progression is essential to understating how to improvise. Knowing that 4 is followed usually by 5 and then resolving to 1 is of high importance if you wish to be able to play your favorite music without using sheet music.

In our next piano lesson we’ll discuss how to substitute richer chords for the 4, 5, 1 progression and how to choose our melody notes so as to create and improvisational theme.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson as much as I did.

I’ve studied piano for more than 12 years and let me tell you that in order to master the piano you must understand how music really works. When you get to know that, you’ll be able to play, compose, and improvise at ease.

We’ll be posting more interesting piano lessons in the following weeks.

Please tell us if this lesson was useful to you and what piano related-topics would you be most interested in learning!

Cheers!

Rod

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  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!

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Learn to Play Coldplay in Piano

February 10, 2007

So well, Coldplay is traveling around the world, and now it’s in Argentina (it’s a pity that I couldn’t get tickets yet since they are sold out!)

Those sweet melodies and harmonies, they transmit feelings that transport you to other worlds…

I bet I am not the only one who thinks like this, so here I am sharing with you, an excellent online lesson on how to play Clocks’ Coldplay on Piano! It’s explained really clear and it’s intresting to note how the genius composers of Coldplay use resources like mirror melodies and harmony, like we can find easily in Bach’s contrapunct, and in parts of musical pieces of almost all composers of music.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:

Cheers!

From Argentina,
Questor

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  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!

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