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changing chords


xtratorque

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Hey,

I just bought an Elton John songbook to learn with (unfortunately I didn't buy an easy piano one). I brought it to my piano teacher and he transcribed some of it for me. Does anyone have any tips for making it easier to change chords? My fingers haven't quite gotten used to making the changes.

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Practice, practice, practice. Sorry, that's about the best way to accomplish anything. There are shortcuts, but those shortcuts are for the long haul - spending a lot of time on the fundamentals which will save time over a period of years.

 

For the short term, practice x 3.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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One thing that you could try---although this is very simplistic, it's a suggestion that may not work as well for a beginner, unless you're familiar with chord construction---is to use chord inversions that hold common notes.

For example, changing from a root-position C triad [C-E-G] to an F triad could involve moving 3 fingers or you could maintain the low C & just move the fingers from the E to the adjacent F & the G to the nearby A.

 

These block forms may not always fit the music's flow as well as selctions based on the melodic contour but for just practicing the mechanics of hand movement, they may help.

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Unfortunately Dave Horne is right. This is what makes piano much harder than guitar where there are far fewer patterns needed to be able to play.

 

Some clues as to what to practice.

 

1/ There's a set of limited hand shapes that work for different chords. Take the major and minor triads for example. (WWW=three white notes (left to right) WBW is White black white, etc)

 

Shape WWW: C/F/G maj D/E/A min

Shape WBW(1): D/E/A maj

Shape WBW(2): C/F/G min

Shape WBB: B maj

Shape BBB: F# maj Eb Min

Shape BWB(1): C#/Eb/Ab Maj

Shape BWB(2): C#/F#/Ab Min

Shape BBW: Bb min

Shape BWW: Bb maj

Shape:WWB B min

 

Notice that for some of these there are two slightly different positions with the same combination of White and Black keys - practice going from one of one form to one of the other and you will feel your middle finger move slightly sideways relative to the hand.

 

So there are ten positions needed for 24 major and minor chords and six will cover all but four of those.

 

You want to get those positions memorized so you can just shape your hand and grab a chord.

 

Some chords naturally tend to occur together so pratice switching between them. These are adjacent chords in the cycle of fifths (C G D A E B F# C# Ab Eb Bb F (then C again)) Learn these both ways and learn them going backwards (G to C for example)

 

Then work on ii-V-Is. (For example, Dm G C is a ii-V-I in the key of C)

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Practice is the way to go. Even sitting down at the piano for 5 minutes is helpful. The physical and mental skills will increase with each session. I've been playing for almost 40 years and I find myself learning new things all the time.
Dean
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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

Practice, practice, practice. Sorry, that's about the best way to accomplish anything. There are shortcuts, but those shortcuts are for the long haul - spending a lot of time on the fundamentals which will save time over a period of years.

 

For the short term, practice x 3.

Dave nailed it!!!!!

 

If you want to be an accomplished player then you must practice without ceasing!!!

 

Tis the only way to become proficient. :D

 

Peace :cool:

 

:) Michael :wave:

"I may be a craven little coward, but I'm a greedy craven little coward." Daffy Duck
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I'll add what I've seen first hand and what I have also been guilty of in the past - using tricks that can clutter your mind with useless information.

 

I've had students who have played little tricks with themselves to figure things out. For instance, (and I've done this when I was younger), you have a C#ø7 (C#min7,b5) and instead of thinking of just that chord, you think an incomplete A9 because it's easier. That's just one example but I've seen many. All of those little short cuts add up and clutter up your mind. Spend a few extra minutes analyzing what's in front of you and be done with it. Avoid little tricks to make it easier to read. My two cents.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Well, I have to agree that Dave is correct and true practice is the only real solution.

 

If you are focused on learning this particular song quickly, then I would suggest you: (1) figure out what key the song is in; (2) practice the relevant scale (with proper hand positioning and fingering) repeatedly and repetitively (and then do it some more); (3) learn all the chords used in the song; (4) practice moving between all the chords; (5) learn the inversion for all the chords to figure out the least hand movements needed to move between chords (provided that satisfies your ear and how the chords should sound vis the original); and (6) of course, learn the proper rhythms.

 

If you go about this the wrong way, you will do more harm than good. You might as well learn the correct way from the get go. My two cents.

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