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Building Different Chord Types

Thursday April 17, 2014

How to form piano chords.The piano has a note layout that's easy on the eyes as well as the memory, so if you're looking to build your own chords on the keyboard, all you need is a simple understanding of chord intervals:

Image © Brandy Kraemer

Best Temperatures & Humidity Levels for Acoustic Pianos

Thursday April 17, 2014

Piano humidity levels.A piano fares best in 35-45% humidity, but up to 55% is acceptable - so long as it's constant. Fluctuating humidity causes wood - including the ever-important soundboard - to swell and release, and this can lead to tuning issues, changes in ... (continue reading)

 

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Practicing Intervals in Motion

Thursday April 17, 2014

Piano interval fingering.Two-note chords, also called 'intervals,' are great for exercising your timing and coordination. Once you get the basics of interval fingering down, you'll find that even fast-paced passages are that much easier to play and read:

Image © Brandy Kraemer

8va, 8vb & Other Octave Commands

Wednesday April 16, 2014

8va in piano music.The note range of the standard piano is just over seven octaves (88 notes), so it's no wonder piano music is written on a two-part staff. But, even the two-part grand staff has its limits -- this is where ledger lines come in, but they're only part of the solution.

Have you ever seen the highest note on the piano written in notation? Probably not, because it takes nine ledger lines to write it. If you have stumbled upon this note in sheet music, you've likely seen it expressed using one of these handy octave commands:

Image © Brandy Kraemer

The Metronome: Friend or Foe?

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Practicing with a metronome.The subject of practicing with a metronome has been known to kindle lively debates among musicians from every skill level. While metronomes can help you develop a natural feel for rhythm, there are valid arguments against its use. As a pianist, you must decide which option is right for you:

Image: Dougal Waters/Getty Images

Middle C on Different Keyboard Sizes

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Middle C on a 49-key.It's normal to be confused about middle C's location, especially on keyboards with fewer than 88 keys. Musical keyboards come in four standard sizes. The following illustrations point out middle C on each of them:

Image © Brandy Kraemer

Piano Term of the Week: Larghetto

Wednesday April 16, 2014

The Italian command larghetto (not to be confused with "larghissimo") affects tempo:

Can You Really Learn Piano on an Electric Keyboard?

Thursday March 13, 2014

One of the most common questions I'm asked is whether a musician can successfully learn to play piano on an electric keyboard. Well, in short, yes. But, there are a few key things that must be considered, and learning on an acoustic piano is not ideal for everybody:

The Best Way to Polish Your Piano

Thursday March 13, 2014

Polished piano.Cleaning an acoustic piano with products meant for household furniture may result in some minor cosmetic flaws--particularly to the keyboard--or, it can get the snowball rolling towards more serious internal damage to the instrument.

However, there is another distinction you must make in order to keep your piano tip-top: its finish, which will most likely be lacquer or polymer.

Learn how to identify your piano's finish, polish it properly, and avoid common cleaning issues:

Image © Peter Dazeley/Getty

Playing Suspended Chords

Wednesday March 12, 2014

Suspended chords.A lot of musicians see the abbreviation sus for the first time and think "sustained." But in fact, this points to the suspended chord, which is close to a major or minor chord with the exception of one interval:

Image © Brandy Kraemer

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