Learn to Play the Flatted 6th on Piano

[Woman playing the piano.]Image by New York Public Library via Flickr

Learn to Play the Piano Easy - Flatted 6th Example


- Learn how to play the piano fast and easy. Learn to play the piano with professional techniques. Learn how to play the piano by ear. This is absolutely the fastest and easiest way to learn to play the piano today.

Jamal speaks quickly through this scale but your ear picks up this cool mysterious sound that I love, especially being Greek! lol Anyways, he's pulling the D to Eb. Jamal
plays with broken, arpeggiated chords in the l.h. and reaches for those octaves. here are some of the chords that I hear him play:

C/G Ab Ab

C G/Ab C D Ab


C G/Ab C D Bb

/G E

/Ab C D G

/F Ab C G (F minor)

C/G Ab C Eb

C/G Ab C Eb Bb


G/Ab D F

The melodic minor second (m2), which is formed by playing two notes one step apart on the piano, is the smallest interval that can be played with two different notes. It represents the smallest possible amount singers are usually asked to slide their voices while singing. This interval has the connotation of something slipping or sliding when it's played slowly. It can sound mysterious, sad or strange.

The melodic minor sixth (m6) is formed by playing notes that are eight steps apart on the piano. This interval is quite dissonant and is very active sounding. This is a very wide interval and is used infrequently in melodies.


* A whole step up from C is D -- the 2nd tone of the C major scale.
* A whole step up from D is E -- the 3rd tone of the C major scale.
* A half step up from E is F -- the 4th tone of the C major scale.
* A whole step up from F is G -- the 5th tone of the C major scale.
* A whole step up from G is A -- the 6th tone of the C major scale.
* A whole step up from A is B -- the 7th tone of the C major scale.
* A half step up from B is C -- the 8th tone of the C major scale.

So the C major scale consists of the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C -- no sharps or flats!

There are seven different tones in the major scale. The 1st and 8th tones are called the root, tonic, or key note. They are the same note but are an octave apart.


Have fun practicing with the flatted sixth and let me know how it goes for you.

Warmest Regards,
~ D.

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Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano by Madeline Goold

Many of you know that I do book reviews mostly children's books and some fiction on my other blogs besides teach piano.


I have always loved children's books especially ones that include music whether it's CDs or just posting melody notes in the book such as "The Ants Go Marching One By One"! lol

Today's blog post is going to be a bit different because I discovered an article online by Alexandra Mullen called Discovering the Keys to a Musical Past. Are you familiar with the book "Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano" by Madeline Goold? Here is this great and very informative article in its entirety:

Alexandra Mullen reviews Madeline Goold's Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano: The Story of the First Pianos and How They Caused a Cultural Revolution.

"Madeline Goold is a British sculptor who trained as a lawyer. She has also played the piano since childhood—and it was this avocation that sparked her interest, a few years ago, to look into buying a historical instrument. In her search, she heard about "square pianos," early-19th-century instruments that were produced during the transition from harpsichords to modern pianos. She had wondered about this musical curiosity but had never seen one. Then, idly surveying the listings for an antique auction one day, she saw this entry: "Two Square Pianos."

At the auction house, Ms. Goold was disheartened to find that the first lot was a large rectangular wooden box that had been gutted and converted into a chicken coop. Then she stumbled across a "dusty coffin" about six feet long. She was able to lift the lid a few inches, enough to catch sight of a small keyboard. She reached in and pressed a key. Nothing. Then another: "This time a muffled, sour little note came out. It was the oldest voice I had ever heard." It was also a coup de foudre, a love out of the blue that changed her life.

As she recounts in "Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano," thanks to that dusty discovery Ms. Goold became a detective-resurrectionist, giving the silent keys new life. She arranged for the piano's bodily restoration, but—more important—she also embarked on a mission to find the piano's history. The piano had a maker: Broadwood, the most famous and long-lived English piano-manufacturer. The instrument had a date: 1807. Also: a number that she could look up in Broadwood's ledgers, which had been moved out of London for safekeeping during World War II. In the dispatch records for 1807, she found what she was looking for: Broadwood square piano no. 10651 was taken by canal from London, north to Lancaster, and delivered to Mr. J. Langshaw, organist.

Uncovering these basic facts led Ms. Goold to a wealth of fascinating stories and characters. I suspect that many readers will be pleased, for starters, just to make the acquaintance of the square piano itself. As her description of its coffin-like shape suggests, the instrument was actually rectangular—definitely not the harp-like shape of the harpsichord or the modern grand piano. Square pianos work on a simple lever system: Depressing the key raises its other end, which strikes the underside of metal strings. (The innards of a modern piano have been compared to a Rube Goldberg contraption: The pivot point of the lever has been subdivided into the wippen, jack, repetition lever, knuckle, hammer shank, underlever, let-off button, drop screw, repetition spring, and backcheck.) With a square piano, the pianist can communicate shades of feeling directly from the fingers to the strings. The instruments, according to Ms. Goold, have a "light, bell-like tone."

Composers and performers were captivated by the square piano, and in the 18th century it changed the way music was written and performed. Pinning down the co-evolution of music and instrument presents a chicken-and-egg problem, but I think Ms. Goold is right that "by the time Beethoven was writing his revolutionary keyboard sonatas at the end of the century it was he, the composer, who was pushing the inventiveness of piano makers rather than simply responding to the possibilities they offered."

In 1761 a young Scottish furniture maker named John Broadwood moved to London and, as Ms. Goold relates, joined up with a renowned Swiss √©migr√© harpsichord maker named Burkat Shudi. The Shudi reputation for quality only grew with Broadwood's contributions— in 1765, a 9-year-old wunderkind named Mozart played a Shudi during a visit to London. Broadwood eventually married Shudi's daughter, took over the business and began making the square pianos that were coming into vogue on the Continent. He sent one to Beethoven, who was then inspired to write the Hammer klavier sonata.

Broadwood produced square pianos in handsome cases for the drawing rooms of Georgian London, but the manufacturer also built more modest instruments for ordinary people in the provinces. As Ms. Goold says: "Prince and country girl were essentially playing the same instrument." Soon, and for the next two centuries, the piano would be given pride of place in countless households as a sign of a family's prosperity and culture.

In the novel "Emma," Jane Austen sends her scallywag lover, Frank Churchill, to arrange the anonymous delivery of a Broadwood square piano to the poor but refined Jane Fairfax. Churchill, typically in too much of a hurry, goes to London rather than follow the custom of ordering the instrument through a local music master acting as an agent—a music master like the real-life John Langshaw.

As Ms. Goold discovers, Langshaw was a church organist in a country town, which meant he supported his large family by playing the organ at services, rehearsing the choir, teaching piano lessons and composing. (His greatest hit was based on a popular poem of the day, "Dear Boy, Throw That Icicle Down.") Langshaw's annual church salary in the late 18th century was only £100, "this at a time," Ms. Goold notes, "when Mrs. Muttlebury, the royal wet nurse, was paid £200 and a £100 annual pension for life." Langshaw added to his income by getting commissions from Broadwood for selling their pianos. The relationship lasted for almost 50 years.

One of the strengths of Ms. Goold's fine book is showing us how the presence of pianos expanded and deepened the cultural life of Langshaw's circle—and similar circles wherever Broadwoods were imported, from Copenhagen to Madras. The author has a gift for gathering charming and peculiar historical details, from the niceties of producing ornate copperplate handwriting to the trained bear who guarded Broadwood's premises.

"Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano" handsomely brings to life people like John Langshaw, who have been forgotten by history, but the book also features several star turns, including one from Thomas Jefferson, who visited the Broadwood offices in 1785 to discuss musical instruments. The Wesley clan, its members famous for preaching and composing, figures prominently in the story after Langshaw, at age 15, studied music with Charles Wesley and began a lifelong family friendship. Ms. Goold's researches take her from graveyards in Lancashire to archives at Emory University in Atlanta, and her narrative touches on the American and French revolutions, the British diaspora in India and Australia, and the Victorian-era Age of Mahogany. But no matter how far afield the author's interests take her, she maintains her focus on one culture-changing development that has only in recent decades lost is force: the piano in the parlor.

A striking aspect of "Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano" is the sense of how the sounds of the past can be heard today in the instruments made two centuries ago by the craftsmen of Broadwood (a company, by the way, that's still in business— though its pianos are now made in Norway). We can also still hear the hand of John Langshaw. One of his many musical skills was the crafting of barrel organs—giant music boxes, really, with rotating metal barrels pierced by nails to signal which tone should sound, whether a single note or four-part harmony. Although the tune is mechanically generated, the taste and judgment of the maker are permanently recorded. Ms. Goold found one of Langshaw's barrel organs. "When it plays 'See the Conquering Hero Comes' it is probably as authentic a Handelian sound as one can hear. Few people then or now, armed only with hammer, nails and pliers, could produce music so delightful, so enchanting." Ms. Goold has herself produced an enchanting work."
—Ms. Mullen writes for The New Criterion and the B&N Review.


Whether your piano is Grand, Upright or Square, I hope you enjoy playing on yours each and everyday. I know I am so very thankful for my piano and keyboard, too!

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers. I appreciate you stopping by!

Warmest Regards,
~ D.

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Go Tell It On The Mountain- Bass Runs

This morning I wanted to share some bass runs to one of my favorite songs, Go Tell It On The Mountain. Whether you love hearing the song sung by James Taylor, Crystal Lewis or a Gospel Choir, you'll love playing this special song with an upbeat shouting tempo or slow blues gospel feel. Head on over to my other blog for chord charts in the Key of E, F and G. Am I a bit early posting a Christmas song? Yes, but this Grandma is on her way to the grocery store to prepare for a family Thanksgiving meal with this Go Tell It arrangement set aside for practice time. Let me know how those bass runs give your l.h. a work out!

Go Tell It On The Mountain


Jermaine Griggs over at HearandPlay.com offers a great Christmas Course.


Series DVD course will teach you
everything you need to know to get started playing
Christmas songs by ear during this holiday season. I
will show you, step-by-step, how to pick out the
melodies of famous Christmas songs, how to choose the
right chords to accompany the

, and how to spice up your chords and
progressions to create full-sounding arrangements of
your favorite holiday songs!

If you've been searching for a course that'll take you
by the hand and show you exactly what you need to know
to play

Christmas songs
(...and other songs for that
matter), then you've found the right place. Not only
will you learn tons of Christmas songs, but you'll
understand the theory behind these songs --- why the

are played... alternative ways to play the
same songs... why the melodies are constructed the way
they are and much more. The learning never ends!

Warmest Regards,
~ D.

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Piano Lessons - Phat Chord Voicings Ch. 1 and Ch.2 (Updated)

I wanted to introduce you to two wonderful short video lessons on phat chord voicings. The power of voicings is that you can take a closed position chord like Em9 which looks like this: E, G, B, D, F# and spread out the open sound to a phat chord voicing like this: E B/ G, D, F# and roll the chord out starting with the l.h. then r.h.

From http://www.PlayPianoTODAY.com , this is the updated version of the online piano lessons series titled 'Phat' Chord voicings. Check this out for a revolution in your piano playing!


Piano Lessons - Phat Chord Voicings Ch. 2 (Updated)

Watch the video and play C G E with your l.h. and then play the triad a fifth up from C. So play a G chord. Then play the chord a 2nd up from the root and that's a D triad.

From http://www.PlayPianoTODAY.com , this is chapter 2 of 'Phat' Chord Voicings. In this chapter, we'll continue to take standard piano chords and open them up into delicious 'phat' chord voicings. Enjoy!

Related Post:


Warmest Regards,
~ D.

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How To Comp Chords- Comping Chords on the Piano

In my opinion, one of the best piano teachers online is Willie Myette. I have subscribed to his lessons and am pleased that he shares his musician tips on jazz and gospel piano. You might want to visit the link that I've posted for this article to see the piano note illustrations Willie had provided. I found this article to be so informative that I wanted to share its entirety with you.

How to comp chords - comping chords on the piano

"This is definitely one of the more complicated aspects of playing the piano. It is relatively “easy” to play a chord in the left hand, hold it down, and improvise with the right hand. However, as soon as you try adding any type of rhythm to that left hand chord, the time seems to fall apart. So, let’s go through some ideas that will help loosen up your left hand.

First, keep control of where you are in the measure. For this example, let’s say that we are in 4/4 time…four beats per measure. It is extremely important that while comping, you do not add or remove beats from the measure. This is where a metronome or play-along track is helpful. I’ve heard students rush the time or drag because they were overly focused on comping. The lesson…the time comes first!

Second, keep your chords simple to start. Try starting with only the root and seventh of the chord, a R7 chord. Or, just the root and third, a R3 chord. So, for C7, this would be C–Bb or C–E. Simple chords allow you to focus on what is important…the time.

Now is a good point to pause and discuss “concept breakdown”. You do not have to go far to find difficult-to-understand concepts in jazz piano. Comping is a perfect example. It seems easy, but it is not. Worst yet, it is the “seems easy” concepts that make it frustrating to learn and often cause students to throw their arms up in disgust. But, there is a solution!

Concept Breakdown is just that, a breakdown of difficult concepts in to easy to handle and easier to understand parts. To break down the concept of comping, I would consider its parts:

- Chord voicing - the notes of the chord and how they are arranged

- Number of chords per measure

- Tempo of the song

- Interaction with the right hand / soloist

- Rhythmic spontaneity

So, if we were to focus on each of these sections of the larger concept, we can more easily practice them. Here we go…

Chord voicing - as I said earlier, create simpler versions of your chord voicings for now. After you become more comfortable with the chords and comping, you can more easily add tensions and notes to your chord.

Number of chords per measure - if the section has more than two chords per measure, try only hitting the chords on beats 1 and 3. Now, this doesn’t always work, but depending on the tempo and complexity of the chord progression, it might just get you through the section till you have more time to practice it and get it right.

Tempo of the song - this should be obvious, but…slow down! I’m always amazed when I ask a student to slow down and they play at exactly the same tempo. A good way to slow yourself down is to pay attention to a clock ticking or your heart beat for a moment. then, try to mimic that tempo. It should be around 60-80 beats per minute.

Interaction with the right hand / soloist - this is the heart of comping. Comping is ALL about supporting the melodic line. This is usually either a soloist or a melody instrument (like a vocalist, trumpet or your right hand, etc.) Good comping ADDS to the piece. It ADDS to what the soloist is playing. It ADDS to melody, and so on. So when practicing comping, it is essential to listen. Listen for “holes” in the line. Take a look at the example below. Notice that the line has places in which there is space. These are prime areas to fill with some tasty comping.

You might be asking yourself “Where are these spaces?” Well, look for rests and notes tied into one another. Also remember, that you can play each new chord toward the beginning of the measure. So, there are four chords, and at least four opportunities to play a chord in the left hand. There are also spaces in the line where you have long notes and rests. But, comping does not have to only fill in the “cracks”. You can play a chord simultaneously with a melody note in the right hand.

Let’s go through six comping variations on this line and you’ll see how to put this into practice.

1) Chords on beat one. In this example you see that we are simply playing each new chord on the first beat of the measure. This is a good place to start learning how to “comp” because if you can not do this exercise in time, you will not be able to do the rest! So, make sure that you are comfortable with this exercise before moving on.

**NOTE** If you are learning this line for the first time, you might notice that you miss the chord on the first beat. If it is difficult to play chords on beat one while improvising in the right hand, this is a good indication that you need to become more comfortable with your right hand soloing before trying any fancier comping rhythms. Moral here, stick to a simple whole-note rhythm until this becomes fluid for you.

2) Short “stabs” on beats 1 and 3. The next step is to change those whole-note chords into short stabs. A “stab” is just a short rhythm applied to a chord. It is often used with horns. For example, “The horn stabs happen behind the soloist.” This exercise is important because it will help you change between long chords and short chords. Long chords are those held for a quarter note or longer and short chords are those held shorter than a quarter note (this is my definition).

3) Short “stabs” on beats 1 and the “+” of 3. The “+” of beat three is the upbeat. This exercise will help you begin feeling off-the-beat rhythms. This also adds syncopation to your line. I cover syncopation in my lesson Mastering Rhythms Volumes 1 and 2.

4) Look for opportunities to anticipate. Do you see the last eighth note in measure one, tied into measure two? This is an anticipation. The melody is anticipating the strong beat resolution of beat one. Guess what? We can also anticipate the chord in the left hand. However, watch out that you don’t drop beats. It is easy to get confused and rush the measure when anticipating chords. So, make sure you feel where the beat is! If you can’t feel it just yet, stick with step 3 for a few more practice sessions.

5) Look for opportunities to support the melody. In the last measure we can “highlight” the notes of the solo/melody by comping chords along with them. As your solo gains in intensity, this is a great way to accent your solo notes.

6) Use both long and short chord rhythms. If you play all of your chords short or long, your comping will sound predictable. Be sure to vary your comping rhythms between short/long rhythms…and…rhythms that fall on/off the beat.

Lastly, we come to Rhythmic Spontaneity. The goal of comping chords is to be able to create interesting chordal rhythms on-the-spot. Now, the only way to do this is to start with easy rhythms and then gradually build them up. Basically, you want to create a vocabulary of rhythms that you can apply to your chords. This means you need to be comfortable with one- and two-handed rhythms."


Warm Regards,

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