• Do You Have The Mental Picture Of Chords Yet?

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano

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    In this lesson, we’ll be highlighting the importance of having the mental picture of chords.

    The concept of visualization is very important to the pianist and so many intermediate and advanced players make use of it while playing the keyboard. The ability to visualize every triad or seventh chord on the keyboard is priceless and you’ll do well to imbibe it.

    Let’s go ahead and talk about color patterns before we go any further.

    A Short Note On Color Patterns

    There are two colors to look out for on the keyboard: black and white. In every octave on the keyboard, there are 7 white notes and 5 black notes.

    Color is perceptible to the eye. Therefore, the composition of black and white notes in a given scale, interval, or chord can form a color pattern.

    Color Pattern For Scales

    The C major scale:

    …consists of all white notes. Therefore, the visualization of the color of its notes produces a color pattern which can be represented thus:

    W W W W W W W W

    Attention: Bear in mind that ‘W’ here represents white while ‘B’ represents black.

    The F major scale:

    …can be represented thus:

    W W W B W W W W

    …using the color pattern of the scale tones.

    Color Pattern For Intervals

    Intervals are products of the relationship between two notes which are played or heard together or separately. The color of the notes of an interval can also form a pattern when visualized. For example, the interval “C-E”:

    …consists of two white notes. Therefore, its color pattern is given below as:

    W W

    While the color pattern of the interval “F-Db”:

    …which consists of a white and black note can be visualized thus:

    W B

    Every other interval on the keyboard can be visualized and has its color pattern.

    Color Patterns For Major Chords

    Every chord on the keyboard — be it a triad, seventh, or extended chord — has its color pattern. Let’s go ahead and learn the color pattern of major chords on the keyboard.

    White-White-White Color Pattern

    C major:

    F major:

    G major:

    White-Black-White Color Pattern

    A major:

    D major:

    E major:

    Black-White-Black Color Pattern

    Ab major:

    Db major:

    Eb major:

    Black-White-White Color Pattern

    Bb major:

    White-Black-Black Color Pattern

    B major:

    Black-Black-Black Color Pattern

    F# major:

    Color Patterns For Minor Chords

    There are 12 minor triads on the keyboard and they can be learned and mastered easily using color patterns. Kindly check out and note the triad patterns below.

     White-White-White Color Pattern

    A minor:

    D minor:

    E minor:

    White-Black-White Color Pattern

    C minor:

    F minor:

    G minor:

    Black-White-Black Color Pattern

    C# minor:

    F# minor:

    G# minor:

    Black-Black-White Color Pattern

    Bb minor:

    White-White-Black Color Pattern

    B minor:

    Black-Black-Black Color Pattern

    Eb minor:

    Final Words

    Using the color patterns covered in this lesson, it’s a lot easier to learn and memorize triads on the keyboard. Please feel free to go ahead and learn how seventh chords can be mastered using color patterns.

    All the best!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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