Chord changes


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Hi,

As indicated in a previous post I am a novice keyboard player. Nevertheless, I play with a lot of enthusiasm but often have cause to question my talent or potential lack of it. As such, I am often tempted to take up Origami or synchronised swimming. The following is an example of an area I am struggling with:

I am practicing a well known Sinatra song, time 4/4, key of F. There is a passage which requires a cord change in every bar for seven bars (Gm, Gm7b5, F, Dm7, Gm7, C7, F), my chord fingering is traditional piano. Now after several hours of practice I still make errors playing the chords and in many instances find myself a beat or two behind.

Consequently, I wonder how you professional or semi pros approach an issue such as this.

Cheers,

Rafferty
 
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Rayblewit

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Have you tried Chord inversions?

The keys for chords C7, F and Dm7 are all very close to each other in the diversion mode. Usually just one finger displacement does it.
For example, play F chord as A C F rather than F A C. . This way a quick change to a Dm is a matter of A D F. You see the C becomes D as you keep the thumb and pinky on the A and F. (left hand).

This is just one example but I find quick chord changes are much easier using the diversion method.

You asked for pro and semi pro help. But you know I am neither. Just a self taught individual. So if what I said does not help you then just be aware my suggestion is a personal opinion and not necessarily authodox. But I hope it helps.

BTW .. What is the Sinatra song you are playing?

Ray
 
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In addition to Ray's excellent advice about using chord inversions to maintain economy of motion, I would say "keep practicing every day". After a while the chords and inversions become second nature and you don't have to think about them.
 
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Another one here who supports the chord inversion advice.

I would add, do not rush, play slowly but accurately and build up.

But and its a big but, do not get hung up on one song, its far better to play many different songs much slower than they should be and yet accurate.
 
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Have you tried Chord inversions?

The keys for chords C7, F and Dm7 are all very close to each other in the diversion mode. Usually just one finger displacement does it.
For example, play F chord as A C F rather than F A C. . This way a quick change to a Dm is a matter of A D F. You see the C becomes D as you keep the thumb and pinky on the A and F. (left hand).

This is just one example but I find quick chord changes are much easier using the diversion method.

You asked for pro and semi pro help. But you know I am neither. Just a self taught individual. So if what I said does not help you then just be aware my suggestion is a personal opinion and not necessarily authodox. But I hope it helps.

BTW .. What is the Sinatra song you are playing?

Ray
Hi Ray,

Thank you kindly for your reply. As the saying goes one learns something new every day. Until yesterday my understanding of an inversion was related air temperature increasing as the air masses rises:).

I have experimented with the inversion you used as an example above and found it easy to do, much more effective than having to shift 3 finger form C to Dm. Must do some research and find other inversions.

BTW..The song I practice (murder) is Strangers in the Night, one of my wife's favourite. Which could, under the circumstances soon be her least favourite:(
 
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In addition to Ray's excellent advice about using chord inversions to maintain economy of motion, I would say "keep practicing every day". After a while the chords and inversions become second nature and you don't have to think about them.
Hi CowboyNQ,

Thank you for your sound advice. On an average day how long do you practice?
 
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Another one here who supports the chord inversion advice.

I would add, do not rush, play slowly but accurately and build up.

But and its a big but, do not get hung up on one song, its far better to play many different songs much slower than they should be and yet accurate.
Hello Biggles,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I can see the rationale behind your advice and will pay more attention to accuracy during my practice sessions and slow things down a bit.

I know this is subjective but in terms of my practice sessions I find some routines relatively easy and repeatable, others I struggle with and it seems I get it right once only to find the next time I play the passage I "stuff" up. Consequently, I often wonder if this also happens to accomplished musicians on their musical journey or if it is a associated with my brain dexterity associated with being on the wrong side of 60.?

Cheers,
Rafferty
 
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Hi CowboyNQ,

Thank you for your sound advice. On an average day how long do you practice?
As little as 30 minutes a day is beneficial for me.

I try to do an hour a day if I can.

What works will vary from individual to individual, but it's important not to practice for so long that mental and physical fatigue and potentially injury can set in.

Practicing frequently is far more helpful than practicing for a four hour stretch once a month.
 
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Hello Biggles,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I can see the rationale behind your advice and will pay more attention to accuracy during my practice sessions and slow things down a bit.

I know this is subjective but in terms of my practice sessions I find some routines relatively easy and repeatable, others I struggle with and it seems I get it right once only to find the next time I play the passage I "stuff" up. Consequently, I often wonder if this also happens to accomplished musicians on their musical journey or if it is a associated with my brain dexterity associated with being on the wrong side of 60.?

Cheers,
Rafferty
I too am closer to 70 than I am to 60.

As for practicing I spend no more than 15 minutes at a time, as many times a day as I can.

Try this walking chord inversion exercise, it just uses C, F and G hence it is of a typical 1-4-5 song structure. Starting with Middle C (the root of chord C), play C, F & G in root and inversions to move fully right of the keyboard.

The easy way to look and think about inversions is to look at a basic three note chord C.

Root chord C = C - E - G
1st inversion of C = E - G - C
2nd inversion of C = G - C - E

All other chords follow the format.
 

Rayblewit

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I play my keyboard everyday for enjoyment. Call it practise if you like but it is a fun thing I do. Better than TV or reading.
So probably half hour to 45 minute sessions some times twice a day if I am lucky. Mostly just once a day in the evenings.
Cheers ray.
 
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I too am closer to 70 than I am to 60.

As for practicing I spend no more than 15 minutes at a time, as many times a day as I can.

Try this walking chord inversion exercise, it just uses C, F and G hence it is of a typical 1-4-5 song structure. Starting with Middle C (the root of chord C), play C, F & G in root and inversions to move fully right of the keyboard.

The easy way to look and think about inversions is to look at a basic three note chord C.

Root chord C = C - E - G
1st inversion of C = E - G - C
2nd inversion of C = G - C - E

All other chords follow the format.
Thank you for the excellent explanation of inversions. I now have a firm grasp of the concept. To paraphrase:

“ C will always be C provide keys C E and G are pressed simultaneously irrespective of fingering used, for that matter a toe (if one ignores the aesthetic aspect) could be used provided it allows for efficient and effective chord changes”

In regards to practice I think I may have the wrong approach, sitting in front of the instrument for hours may not exactly enhance my progress, indeed after an hour’s practice progress seems to be slow or even regressive.
 

Rayblewit

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sitting in front of the instrument for hours may not exactly enhance my progress, indeed after an hour’s practice progress seems to be slow or even regressive.
That is true!
When I get frustrated with something such as working through the tail end of NY,NY lol . . Often I find the situation gets worse as time goes on. I have found taking a break and a refreshed restart later on or the next day often rejuvenates the brain and the frustrations are not so bad.
Now I need a coffee.
Ray;)
 
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You are welcome!
This is how I learn' t chords from this book (below)
Go and buy it from music shop!
cheers
Ray
View attachment 1094 View attachment 1095 View attachment 1096 View attachment 1097
G'day Ray,

Just a query. Like many keyboards my E453 has a ACMP function this allows for the generation of chords using 2 to 3 fingers. I wonder, do accomplished keyboard players use this function or do they mostly use orthodox fingering or a combination of both?

Cheers,
Rafferty:)
 

Rayblewit

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do accomplished keyboard players use this function or do they mostly use orthodox fingering or a combination of both?
I cannot answer that. Not qualified. I am sure someone else here will respond!

Personally, I use proper fingering rather than single finger. If I come accross a chord of which I do not know the sequence of what keys then I will learn it. I never play single finger chords. Makes me look like a simpleton lol!
ray
 
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G'day Ray,

Just a query. Like many keyboards my E453 has a ACMP function this allows for the generation of chords using 2 to 3 fingers. I wonder, do accomplished keyboard players use this function or do they mostly use orthodox fingering or a combination of both?

Cheers,
Rafferty:)
I would think that the vast majority would answer with a resounding no.

Not that I am that accomplished on keys, I am primarily a guitarist.

As it is I always play at least three notes in a chord (1st 3rd and 5th) both in root form and 1st and 2nd inversions.

To simplify 6th and 7th chords you could always play three notes by dropping the 3rd if this helps you.

If anyone is struggling to understand chords try this as chords are basically a math formula, play a major three note chord, note the number of 1/2 tone keys not pressed between the 1st and 3rd and the 3rd and 5th. Now play a different major chord and again note the unplayed keys. Now the numbers should be the same.

Repeat this with a minor chord, again noting the number of unplayed keys between the 1st, minor 3rd and 5th.

Repeat for a 7th chord.

Repeat for a 6th chord.

You should see an exact similarity between the groups of chords.
 

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