12 Piano Theory Tips

Posted by on 11/9/2011 to Piano Lessons

12 Important Piano Theory Tips

Learning to play the piano is a bit like learning a new language. Music is governed by rules and patterns, just as language is. Memorize and master the basic rules and you’ll find your playing improves more quickly.

piano theory tips
  • A scale is a progression of notes that may be ascending or descending.
  • Key is the diatonic scale most obvious in a piece of music. For example, music written in the key of C Major uses notes close to that scale. The key signature is indicated by the sharps or flats placed after the clef at the beginning of a stave.
  • Dynamics are the seasonings of a musical composition. Dynamic markings give direction as to how loud or soft to play a passage.
  • Chords are simply the simultaneous playing of notes of different pitch.
  • The formula for Major chords goes like this: start with the root note, go up four half-steps for the mid-note, go up three more half-notes for the top note. Major key has a happy, upbeat sound.
  • The formula for Minor chords is as follows: start with the root note, go up three half-steps for the mid-note, go up four half-notes for the top note.  Minor key has a nostalgic, somewhat melancholy sound.
  • Melody is the part typically played by the right hand. It provides the dominant impression of a piece. Harmony is the part typically played by the left hand. The purpose of harmony is to provide a pleasing accompaniment that reinforces the melody.
  • Interval is the difference of pitch between two notes. It is counted by how many steps on the scale you take to reach the second note.
  • Beat refers to the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music. The beat may be grouped in twos, threes or fours.
  • Treble clef is the top stave and indicates the notes to be played by the right hand. The bass clef is the bottom stave and indicates the notes to be played by the left hand.
  • Triad is a chord of three different notes, usually thirds apart.
  • Inversion is when the notes of a triad are rearranged so a tone other than the root note is at the bottom of the chord to make a slightly different sound.



Date: 11/11/2011 3:03:48 AM
I like this article. It gives basic but useful information on piano playing. I like particularly the notes on chords. I don't know much about playing piano by chords as my training is playing piano by reading notes. Many thanks for this article!
Rose H.
Date: 11/18/2011 12:42:08 AM
Once again, Yoke did it again. This is such a great article. It gives the basic the idea on piano playing. Not only that, every piano beginners can see this as a very useful information as the learn. Piano teachers can also use this as a guideline. Thanks so much.

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