Archive for the ‘Theory’ Category

Simple Chord Theory Book!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Chord-book

Need to brush up on chord theory?

I have a chord speller book by John Thompson that I use to teach my church pianist students who need to brush up on theory.

This book  provides foundational information needed for the church pianist to effectively improvise.

 Short synopsis of book:

John Thompson’s Chord-Speller

The purpose of this book is to present the Triads (including the Dominant and Diminished Seventh Chords) in a way that will enable the student to read them, write them and recognize them by sight or sound.

Having a working knowledge of  scale and chord structure will help the church pianist with improvising hymns.

If you’re interested in seeing sample pages or purchasing the book…just click on the image of the book above.

I’m always looking for simple-approach type books and this one fits the bill!  (I don’t get paid to sell this book)  🙂

This book has been around for awhile so you may find it on Ebay or Amazon.

 

 

Part Two: Modulating up a Fifth

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Modulating between hymns during a prelude or other background music event can create a seamless presentation.

The absence of this art makes for a disjointed sound when going from hymn to hymn. (unless of course the songs are in the same key)  🙂

Ah….but just because the songs are in identical keys doesn’t mean the songs will always sound seamless without some type of transition. (another lesson!)

Every church pianist should try and learn the art of modulation to the best of his or her ability…in small bits at at time. For starters, learn to modulate between songs with same time signature as I have provided below.  (The modulations will feel/flow a little different in 3/4 time versus 4/4 time.)

Below is a free pdf showing how to modulate up a fifth using the chord formula: ii7 to V7 of the new key.  I’ve also shared a list of these two chords in the keys found on the free pdf of modulations.

Key of C

ii7 = D-F-A-C

 V7 = G-B-D-F

Key of G  *see visual of these 2 chords HERE

ii7=A-C-E-G

V7= D-F sharp-A-C

Key of D

ii7= E-G-B-D

V7= A-C sharp-E-G

Modulating up a Fifth Free PDF

Part One: Modulation Formula for Most Any Key Change!

Monday, July 17th, 2017

treble-clef-on-red-staff

Introduction 

Modulating during any type of prelude (church, funeral, wedding or other occasion)…creates a smooth transition between songs. Without a smooth transition between different keys, the music will sound interrupted or very abrupt.  The articles associated with this lesson and future lessons will deal with modulating to a higher key.  Modulating to a lower key can also be effective but such a topic belongs in a different set of lessons.

The modulation chord formula that works for most any key change uses the  ii7 to V7 chords of the new key.

(I personally like to use the V7 sus instead of a plain V7…but will will illustrate  at the appropriate time).

*Part two will provide a FREE pdf with several examples of modulating up a fifth. (C Major to G Major)

Keyboard visuals of the ii7 & V7 chords in the key of G Major are shown below. (The upcoming examples will cover C to G, G to D and F to C using this chord formula)

ii7 of G Major

ii7 of G Major

V7 of G Major

V7 of G Major

Working on the examples now and hope to share this week!

 

 

Modulation vs. Transpositition

Friday, July 14th, 2017

0-notes

Do modulation and transposition mean the same thing?  They ARE closely related but describe two different actions.

Modulation is the transition process (the key change itself)… that takes the pianist to the new key.

Transposition is playing a song in a different key than what’s written.

Next post will share a modulation chord that is commonly used for modulating from one key to another.

Book Review: Playing Beyond the Notes

Monday, March 27th, 2017

 

Playing-Beyond-the-Notes

Thought I’d share a brief book review on a book I’m currently reading entitled “Playing Beyond the Notes”.

The writer communicates the different musical concepts with ample illustrations.

It’s one of those kind of books you can pick up and randomly choose a chapter of interest without losing the overall flow of the book.

A great reference book for any piano teacher, piano student or church pianist wanting to sharpen their skills in the area of music interpretation!

Click HERE to purchase or preview “Playing Beyond the Notes” by Deborah Rambo Sinn

 

 

Church Pianist Update

Friday, March 17th, 2017

I have two vocal Easter arrangements to publish this week but delayed due to learning new apps along with a new computer.

In the meantime…thought I’d share a picture of my humble music library. (I do have a few more books not pictured below)

I’m reading “Playing Beyond the Notes” right now…a great find! I’ll takes notes and share some of the highlights once I finish the book.

For example: The chapter dealing with the treatment of a ritardando…”If the ritardando is begun too soon, one risks “putting the baby to sleep too early”.

Library-books

Glissando Tip (Then Sings My Soul)

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

Glissando-pic

Many of you have asked about how to finger the runs and glissando in Then Sings My Soul piano arrangement.

Here’s a demo of the glissando on the last page of Then Sings My Soul.

Tip: I began the glissando with my 2nd finger…then immediately turned 2nd & 3rd finger under… and glazed across the keys…no need to batter your fingers with too much pressure 😉

I will give fingering tips soon for the runs in Then Sings My Soul.

Video Tip: If you pause and drag the timeline on video …you can watch in slow motion for a better look at the glissando.

 

Right Hand Run for Piano!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The following excerpt was taken from my Easter arrangement “Were You There” (to be published sometime in Feb. 2017)

Run

Many have asked how I play runs so fast and smooth.

My answer: fingering and body movement are important factors in creating a smooth and fast run.

Keep hands close to keys…wrist level with hands. Allow hands to follow shape of the note groups….turning thumb ahead of time to make smooth transition into next group of notes. (The thumb starts each group.) The body…waist up… should also follow the run….bend slightly at the waist to the right… and lean toward keys a little for full body support.

(Watch this video for demonstration of body support movement during similar runs) *Start about 1:10 on this video

Use fingering that follows the natural shape of the run…allowing for ease of movement throughout the run. ( suggested fingering for right hand run at measure 48… 1-2-3-5)

Notice the loose wrist and arm movement as I cross into each group. ( I prefer to play 4 groups of this run instead of 3 but trying to be reasonable 😉

The following video samples begin at measure 47  (first time…fast….second time…slow)

Fast Run

Slow Run

 

Going Live on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

I’ve provided the recent “broadcast” from facebook.  *See written article below for essential information that goes with the video.

On a lighter note….”Don’t you just LOVE my piano?!  It’s one of a kind…..treble is at the bottom…bass at the top!  (Just kidding)  *The dilemma was a front facing camera.

Jenifer Cook is going live on Facebook this Thursday at 8 pm EST. (November 10, 2016)

Ever notice how a lot of Christmas hymns have frequent
accidentals…the makings for awkward hand movements…

Hear Jenifer’s suggestions in dealing with accidental passages. She’ll be showing her note changes on the handouts listed below…feel free to either print them or have them on a screen for viewing purposes for tonight’s session. So much to share in a short time span!!

Copy and paste this link in the URL field at the top of your browser page: https://www.facebook.com/Jenifer-Cook-602815303135832/?fref=ts

Print the following FREE music example pages for tonight’s “going live on facebook” session with Jenifer

O Little Town of Bethlehem (verse only)

O Little Town of Bethlehem (verse only w/ application)

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

There’s a Song in the Air

Have a pencil handy too!  writing_pen

Transposing Up a Whole Step: Lesson Two

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Transposing-Up-Whole-Step-Lesson-TwoThe skill of transposing is an extra plus for the church pianist if she or he is going to accompany someone to sing in their comfortable range…(another article) 😉

There is an art to finding just the right key for whomever you’re accompanying.

The following free pdf on Transposing Up a Whole Step will familiarize the church pianist on how to transpose up a whole step in a song of  3/4 time going into another song in 3/4 or the first song…different verse.

There are many factors to consider when creating a key change between two songs. For example, the first melody note of the second song determines the melodic direction of the key change.

Editor notes for Transposing Up a Whole Step: Lesson Two

  1. Play measures #1,2,3 and then start another verse of Amazing Grace on 3rd beat of measure #3
  2. Play measures #1, 2, and 4 and go right into Grace Greater Than Our Sin

Each line of this free pdf is identical to the first line except in different keys. Try finding hymns to use for the remaining lines of examples.

Special Note!

Variety tip: You can use this same transposition idea for a 3/4 hymn to a 4/4 hymn by holding the 3rd beat of the 3rd measure for 2 beats and then go into the 4/4 hymn IF the 4/4 hymn begins with a complete measure or at least the 4/4 hymn contains at least two beats at the beginning..in order for it to create a smooth sounding transition.

Clarification:  The above transposition isn’t appropriate for congregational playing because of the additional measures used to create the key change. A shorter version would be necessary for congregational singing.

However…this transposition idea works great for offertories, preludes and accompanying instrumental or vocal special.

Click on following title for free pdf download: (Let me know if you’re having printing issues with this PDF. I think it’s just my printer but note sure..it seems my margins are wacky when it prints)

Transposing Up a Whole Step Lesson Two

Transposing Up a Whole Step: Lesson One (see chord structure for the above free pdf.

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