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Master Teacher Hans Leygraf’s Fundamental Lessons

A much longed-for documentation of the pianist and piano pedagogue Hans Leygraf’s methodology is now to be found on two DVDs. These recordings, made among a selected few of his students in Salzburg, extends from the appropriate way of touching the keys to interpretation of the music as illustrated by practising compositions of Bach, Chopin and Schubert. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Practicing Inverted Chords  (Read 1364 times)
stillofthenight
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« on: May 22, 2016, 10:28:34 PM »

I have set a restriction on myself. I have been trying to come up with ideas that involve moving between chord inversions of ONLY the tonic chord in Key Am. I feel this would help me learn the harmony and shapes better. For instance, I wanted to practice the inversions of an Am7 chord without using any other chords. I tried to come up with anything that sounded musical and most importantly something I liked, a melody, a progression, etc.  just anything that sounds like it "makes sense" but found it difficult. I started with an Am7 and then went to the nearest chord, G, then to 2nd inversion Am7, then to Dm. So basically, my restriction of only wanting to use minor 7th inversions of the tonic chord was violated because I had to add in some more chords.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to go about leading into various inverted m7 chords?

Here is what I played.

I am kind of new to this stuff so I am just experimenting with various methods to help me learn piano chords better!

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Bob
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2016, 11:42:48 PM »

Just glancing through...

Just follow basic voice leading rules.  Avoid Perfect 5ths.

Maybe keep it even simpler and just do i V i going up and back, i V i going down and back, on each inversion.

I vaguely remember something about not all inversions being used.  It's been a while....

You know V i will come up so the idea above works.  i could go anywhere though.  I was thinking i ii V i   or i iv V i   but that really would work out ii V and iv V, which isn't quite what you're asking.

If you want to stick with i for sure... Maybe create all combinations possible?
i ii i       up-down/down-up   // 1st inv/2nd inv/ 3rd inv/ 4th inv
i III i
i iv i
i V i
i VI i
i viio i

I'm forgetting the seventh though, but it's the same idea.

I would think that would hit everything from i.  P5's or discovered 5ths or 8ves will probably appear somewhere in there.

And then if you want to continue the nuttiness of all-combos... Do that for ii, III, iv, V, VI, viio.     (And if you do those, you'd have to keep going back with V i or some kind of cadence to keep tonality.)

Although minor makes it potentially a bit trickier with V vio viio i vs. i (b)VII (b)VI V and borrowed chords like iii vs. III or vi vs. VI. 


Written out or not written out too.
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georgey
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 12:10:59 AM »

This may not be what you are looking for but it goes through all inversions of all the 7th chords in a given key.  The below is in C major.  You can also do this in all keys.

CEGB means to play the notes C, E, G and B all at the same time as a chord with C being the lowest note followed by E a major 3rd up from C, followed by G a perfect 5th up from C, followed by B a maj 7th up from C.

Play the following chords one after the other as quarter notes.

CEGB
CEGA
CEFA
CDFA
BDFA
BDFG
BDEG
BCEG
ACEG
ACEF
ACDF
ABDF
GBDF
GBDE
GBCE
GACE
ETC, ETC., keep sequencing down.

If you play these chords with the right hand alone, you can add the note G in the left hand (the 5th of the key) to be played with each chord as a pedal point.  Sounds nice to me.

Sorry if this does not help.
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stillofthenight
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 12:52:27 AM »

Here is another very simple idea. It is just something that I came up with that sounds nice and "makes sense" and could work somewhere. I am just experimenting with strictly using minor-minor 7th chords and their inversions for the tonic chord in Am and restricting use of any other chords. This is very simple and short but it gets the idea across. It is a challenge to try compose a lot of bars that make sense together with this restriction! I just try to come up with my own methods of learning the shapes and sounds of the so many chords on piano! By the way, I am originally an electric guitar player and have been trying to learn piano for the past few years.

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stillofthenight
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2016, 11:38:11 PM »

Okay and I have another question.

For a fully diminished 7th chord in 3rd inversion, the figured bass notation is:

6
4
2

So for a Bdim-dim7 chord, if you measure from the bass note "Ab" to the B note, it is not really a "true" second interval. The only way for the figured bass interval notation to be correct is to call the second an augmented second.

For minor-minor 7th chords, major-major7th chords, and half diminished chords, there is always a "true second" of either a major or minor second within the 7th chord. But for the fully diminished 7th chord there is never a true second of any type, but the figured bass makes it look like there is which is kind of misleading. The 2 in the figured bass really is a minor 3rd.

Is my analysis wrong? If not, why is this so?
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ted
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2016, 02:50:42 AM »

Aside from learning and memorising chords, which really doesn't require much work, I have always found a conscious awareness of chord detail a hindrance to improvisational flow because it is static while the nature of music is dynamic. To start with, harmony is not the be all and end all of music anyway, and secondly, the effectiveness of any chord depends on context and cannot be judged in isolation from the more vital aspects of form, rhythm and phrase.

In the days when I did memorise these things, I used my own peculiar device of visualising at once the entire keyboard subset of a chord or scale, which process allows specific voicings to arise in the moment through haptic or phrasal convenience while allowing the deeper mind to run free.


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stillofthenight
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 07:15:22 AM »

I see! For me I am just trying to at least have something to help me figure out shapes quicker whether be through figured bass or what have you. That is so I can just at least just get the sound of different harmonies in my head and study them.

 I feel like once I can make up something original that "makes musical sense" to me, whether it just be a one bar melody or whatever, I remember shapes and positions better. I think the figured bass is clever way of notating harmonies but I still have yet to find a way to quickly play in the various keys especially the ones that use the black keys. I do not have any formal training in music.

I think the real secret is to just compose your own ideas and whatever sticks in your memory just sticks!
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ted
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 11:00:37 AM »

All twelve positions of any subset should be equally accessible, aurally, visually and haptically; anything less will hamper musical flow. If black keys are a worry then the barrier is probably just physical. Fortunately, the solution is easy. Whenever you learn a new subset (scale or chord), practise it around the key circle. Do this in creative ways, not necessarily making exact transpositions. While that is good practice mentally it can result in pretty dull music. Better to let your mind run free within each key, using such motifs as occur to you, playing within C for a few seconds, then F, Bb, Eb and so on around all the scales. Do the same with the minors. Make the material simple to start with, little interlocking single note phrases in each hand, imitation baroque except with freer rhythm perhaps, whatever you enjoy. After a few weeks of doing this, all the keys will have sunk into your memory in an enjoyable way.
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xdjuicebox
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 07:17:27 PM »

Here's an exercise for you to try.

Since you want to stay in Am diatonic (harmonic, melodic, natural...? You can use all 3 if you want), just pick whatever chords you want.

Practice leading through the chords that you want, avoiding parallel 5ths or octaves IN THE SAME VOICE, and using as much contrary motion as possible. Make the steps in each voice as small as possible. You can do a lot with this. Try to avoid the flat ninths, and spell the chords with the larger intervals on the bottom, unless you're going for a really specific effect.

Example:

A E A C (Am, standard harmonic series voicing without the octave at the bottom)
E E G# D (E7, usually it's standard to omit the 5th if you have to leave a note out)
D F B D (Bdim)
C G B E (CM7, the C and G are a 12th apart)

Not the best in the world, but a quick example on my lunch break LOL
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Scriabin 8-12
Scriabin Vers la Flamme

WIP:
Kreisler-Rach Liebesleid
Rach 33-4

Help me choose:
Rach 39-1,2,9
marijn1999
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 08:15:58 PM »

Here's an exercise for you to try.

Since you want to stay in Am diatonic (harmonic, melodic, natural...? You can use all 3 if you want), just pick whatever chords you want.

Practice leading through the chords that you want, avoiding parallel 5ths or octaves IN THE SAME VOICE, and using as much contrary motion as possible. Make the steps in each voice as small as possible. You can do a lot with this. Try to avoid the flat ninths, and spell the chords with the larger intervals on the bottom, unless you're going for a really specific effect.

Example:

A E A C (Am, standard harmonic series voicing without the octave at the bottom)
E E G# D (E7, usually it's standard to omit the 5th if you have to leave a note out)
D F B D (Bdim)
C G B E (CM7, the C and G are a 12th apart)

Not the best in the world, but a quick example on my lunch break LOL

Very nice exercise. BTW, I would choose Scriabin Sonata 4.  Grin
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xdjuicebox
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2016, 07:48:51 PM »

Very nice exercise. BTW, I would choose Scriabin Sonata 4.  Grin

Haha I will consider it. I absolutely LOVE that piece.

Also, don't forget to study examples of voice leading by the greats! Beethoven is particularly amazing at this.
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Scriabin 8-12
Scriabin Vers la Flamme

WIP:
Kreisler-Rach Liebesleid
Rach 33-4

Help me choose:
Rach 39-1,2,9
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