• The third and fourth steps to playing a song

    in Playing By Ear,Playing songs

    Step Three & Four: Altering Chords and Listening for Final Changes

    Depending on the style of music you are trying to produce, step three will allow you to alter the harmonizing chords used in step two. To "alter" a chord simply means to modify it. There are several ways to alter a chord: You can raise or lower the 5th tone a half step or perhaps you can raise or lower the 7th, 9th, or 11th tones a half step (the list goes on and on…) However, it is important to make sure that the alteration chosen is in alignment with the mood of the song. For example, in gospel music, it is common to hear dominant and diminished alterations rather than just plain major triads.

    The following lesson is taken right out of our 300-pg course (Chapter 16; pgs 229-231):



    Here is a quick summarization of the four steps. This is actually page 257 of our 300-pg course:


    Again, this is just a few pages on the harmonization process. For further training, I invite you to read more about my 300-pg course entitled, "The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear." Click here for more techniques, principles, concepts, tricks and tips on playing the piano by ear.

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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