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 Post subject: Piano/keyboard instruction book?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:07 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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Location: Central PA
I took several years of piano lessons as a kid, and I can read music and play at I guess an intermediate level. I really don't know much music theory, though, and I'd really like to learn things like chords and how to put together harmonies and stuff like that. I can listen to a song and then figure out how to play the melody, but I have no idea what to do with my left hand to make it sound like a song instead of just a picked-out melody. Any suggestions of books or other resources I should look at? I just got a keyboard for my birthday, and I've been playing around with it, and I realized that I really want to learn this stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano/keyboard instruction book?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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I always check out torrent sites for out of print instructional videos. There's also a lot of PDFs to download too. If you're not comfortable downloading, you can at least glean some titles to look up.

the S.F. library here has a ton of stuff, too, so maybe check there?

Sorry, I guess that doesn't really answer your actual question...

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 Post subject: Re: Piano/keyboard instruction book?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:49 am 
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Chip Strong
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I guess you probably do want to go into learning theory-type stuff, in terms of how the chords fit together and work to support the melody. One way of doing that is to start learning lots of songs - getting stuff off torrent sites is probably a good way to go - and then maybe using a theory book to help guide you in a chord analysis of those songs. If you learn to play a bunch of different songs, and also analyse them, you'll have an aural and intellectual understanding of how the chords fit in.

From a purely theoretical point of view: knowing scale degrees, and the chords that contain any particular notes in a scale is important. There will be a few different chords in a key that have one or more shared notes - so each note should have about two or three chords that it could fit into. When you're working out chords to go with a melody, you'll need to figure out where the important points are in that melody, because that's where it's likely to change chords. Then if you know the notes of the melody, it'll be a process of trial-and-error to figure out which chords go with them, but if you have a list of chords that could possibly fit with them, and there's only two or three of them, it should be fairly easy to find the one that fits the best. This process of trial-and-error will get easier with time.

I just realised that I'm not really answering your question either, but instead giving you some (possibly difficult to follow) information on what you'll need to learn. I guess I'd suggest looking at some music theory books - if there's a good library where you are they should have something. And just listen to lots of songs, and figure out what chords go with what scales. Start playing scales again (assuming you did - most people get some kind of classically-based music training in their music lessons as kids), go through them and make lists of the chords that fit with each note.

Have fun! You can PM me if you ever want to talk music theory, too. I am a music nerd of sorts/music school dropout.

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 Post subject: Re: Piano/keyboard instruction book?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:21 am 
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Huffs Nooch
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I have Theory & Harmony for the Contemporary Musician and like it. It starts off with the basics and progresses to a pretty high level. I pick it up every now and then but haven't made it past the third or fourth chapter. It requires a lot of study and practice from me, but if you have a pretty good grasp on scales and intervals already, you will fly through the basics and into the good stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano/keyboard instruction book?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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Location: Central PA
Thanks! I took a music theory course in college, and I kinda sorta remember some of it, but we never really looked at how the theory translates to playing things. That book looks pretty good -- I'll take a look at it.


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