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Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~ (Read 1500 times)

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
« on: September 30, 2021, 11:36:02 PM »
What really determines the quality of the chords? Especially for some chords, the difference is only one half step, but they belong to completely different category. The inversions make it even more confusing.
 
I guess my question is: what is the fundamental reason people follow certain chord progression? Like my teacher always ask me to practice I - IV - V7 progression shown in this video at different keys, is it helpful at all. She said it would help me establish the concept and improvisation and accompaniment. However, I have no feeling this is helpful whatsoever.


Offline ranjit

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #1 on: September 30, 2021, 11:59:53 PM »
Is it only me who suspects that the OP is the teacher herself? ;D

Offline j_tour

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #2 on: October 01, 2021, 01:36:04 AM »
Is it only me who suspects that the OP is the teacher herself? ;D

 I wouldn't know, but it's not the kind of question I'd expect a "scientist" to ask.

There are libraries full of books, one knows.

And one may infer a great deal without the benefit of pretending to be a "scientist."
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #3 on: October 01, 2021, 02:42:40 AM »
Is it only me who suspects that the OP is the teacher herself? ;D



You mean, because all of the videos are from the EXACT same user, and that they only seem to post here to advertise their YouTube videos and farm for views???

Offline j_tour

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #4 on: October 01, 2021, 03:18:08 AM »
Quote
Like my teacher always ask me to practice I - IV - V7 progression shown in this video at different keys, is it helpful at all.

Why would you doubt that?

That's one of the most fundamental things absolutely any musician, on any instrument, can do, or at least hear, in any key.

Assuming you're of average or below intelligence, but without severe impairment, that's an afternoon's work.  At most, a day.

There's no question.

Why would your "teacher" keep asking you day after day the same thing, only to have you refuse?  Do you pay him or her in gold doubloons from an ancient pirate ship or something?

And do you mind stop calling yourself a "scientist"?  I see no evidence of rational thought in your repetitive bloviations.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline quantum

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #5 on: October 01, 2021, 04:19:20 AM »
Is it only me who suspects that the OP is the teacher herself? ;D

The question has been posed more than once, and I do not recall seeing a direct answer as of yet.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #6 on: October 01, 2021, 12:03:39 PM »
Sorry I only start to realize now that my posts caused concerns for some people, apologize. If you really care to know, just read. 

For those who are curious. I am a real scientist, and a very very good one. I teach and carry out research at a reputable university. My advisor's advisor received Nobel Prize. I have trained many PhDs. My current research area is nano-materials and 3D printing. I have published > 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, 2 US patents and I am very established in my own field. So if you still have doubts of my intelligence, I can send you my publications. But I do not think most of people here have the right background to understand though.

I always love music, but my family was poor and could not afford anything beyond a CD player. I listened to a lot of music since young, but only started to take lessons with the piano teacher in our music department recently. She spent tremendous efforts initiated this channel to help students that could not come to class during pandemic. The videos are so high in quality, and it pains me to see so few people actually watch her teaching, while millions of views are on those banal videos of puppies.

Yes, I am promoting her videos, because those are AWESOME! And I think we all should promote good teaching. I know she is not profiting from it. Even if she did, I would feel even better! The pay for music teachers is just too low.

So now could anyone explain chord progression at a fundamental level, so that a scientist could understand. Does this concept come to you so naturally or you just take it for granted as your teacher taught you that way? Why  I - IV - V7? It does not even sound that good!

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #7 on: October 01, 2021, 02:17:08 PM »
The videos are so high in quality, and it pains me to see so few people actually watch her teaching, while millions of views are on those banal videos of puppies.

Yes, I am promoting her videos, because those are AWESOME! And I think we all should promote good teaching. I know she is not profiting from it. Even if she did, I would feel even better! The pay for music teachers is just too low.

Welcome to YouTube - where banality can make you rich. I second your opinion, and frankly know what its like. I put up a Performance of Pirates of the Carribean that I arranged and performed myself - bugger all views.

I saw someone a month ago upload a video of him trying to play the theme using a mouse and computer keyboard IN A VIDEO GAME... got over a million views in a week.

So now could anyone explain chord progression at a fundamental level, so that a scientist could understand. Does this concept come to you so naturally or you just take it for granted as your teacher taught you that way? Why  I - IV - V7? It does not even sound that good!

Chances are majority of the people here understand Music theory exceptionally well and the I-IV-V7 chord progression is a rather basic staple of piano playing. It's important because it usually allows our ears to hear music escaping the tonal centre, and then returning to it. Cause and effect essentially... Dissonance and Consonance.

The pay for music teachers is just too low.

I may have misjudged you... and I won't say any more on the matter of who you are or question your credibility. It does suck that in this day and age, sports starts are given millions of dollars, while people like Britney Spears who is auto-tuned to BUGGERY and lip-synchs on stage rakes in millions of dollars while not even writing their own songs.

Real life musicians who train their entire life make peanuts... but probably do it because it gives them immense joy.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #8 on: October 01, 2021, 04:12:46 PM »
Chances are majority of the people here understand Music theory exceptionally well and the I-IV-V7 chord progression is a rather basic staple of piano playing. It's important because it usually allows our ears to hear music escaping the tonal centre, and then returning to it. Cause and effect essentially... Dissonance and Consonance.

Likewise, I apologize for insulting your chosen field.  And the personal insults were way out of line on my part.  Although, to be sure, I still am having trouble understanding your basic line of reasoning. 

However, there are a number of reasons why consonance and dissonance are codified in Western Art Music.

For you, I'd think studying the harmonic series and its implications would be fruitful.  And, anyway, any first-year physics student knows about longitudinal waves and basic principles about their manipulation and testing.  So, you would know about that, I'm sure.

However, there's also a very simple way to understand, say, the dominant7, the tonic, and the subdominant:  analysis of previous patterns in harmony, including in polyphonic music where things aren't usually laid out in "strike a chord" and play a simple little cadence or progression.  Of course, sometimes, as in various toccatas, préludes, fantasias, and so forth in Bach and elsewhere, but not always in more complicated music.

As you are a scientific fellow, which I'm happy to take at face value, you can look at Schenkerian analysis, and also, analyzing, say, serial music in terms of sets of pitches that are transformed linearly, can be very fruitful.  Since you know the language of set theory and how to perform linear transformations, even in just a <1.....n> row (or column...doesn't matter) matrix, that might be of interest.

In so-called "integral" serialism (no, not necessarily to do with integers, as the term is usually used in mathematics and, therefore, in the derived physical sciences), then one might well apply transformations to a more complex matrix. 

That doesn't address why the V7-->I or V7b9 --> Im works, though.  It's a simple relationship between tensions and resolutions, which can be reduced to a physical element, if one likes.  I suppose.

put up a Performance of Pirates of the Carribean that I arranged and performed myself - bugger all views.

Yeah, I just checked that out now.  Sure, I've seen some of the *Pirates* movies, but I don't remember the themes/cues.

It's a good little pianistic exercise in repeating notes.

This is way OT, to the extent there is one, but you don't need eyeglasses to play piano, surely?  I can only imagine that's a hassle as a performer.  /* At least for me, I work up a sweat playing....not just due to mildly inefficient technique, but I just sweat a lot doing most mild kinds of physical activities.  No, I'm in pretty good shape physically, but sweat+eyeglasses don't work for me.  However, a lot of great pianists and, say, in Hammond organ in jazz wore glasses.  I don't know how they do it! */

Anyway, your arrangement is neat as are the others of yours I've seen/heard.  Still waiting for that "Waltzing Matilda" virtuoso arrangement!   >:(
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline quantum

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #9 on: October 01, 2021, 06:12:08 PM »
The videos are so high in quality, and it pains me to see so few people actually watch her teaching, while millions of views are on those banal videos of puppies.

Yes, I am promoting her videos, because those are AWESOME! And I think we all should promote good teaching. I know she is not profiting from it. Even if she did, I would feel even better!

Thank you for clarifying.

In recent months, Pianostreet has been hit by swarms of spammers posing as genuine users.  I hope you can understand the concern of members here when a new person shows up and starts posting a bunch of videos from a single channel. 


The pay for music teachers is just too low.

The amount of time and work invested in training to become a good music teacher or performing musician is similar to fields such as engineering or medicine, yet the pay music teachers receive is far in comparison. 

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #10 on: October 01, 2021, 10:59:51 PM »
I appreciate all your response and intellectual discussions. No need to apologize, we are all good. I will check out Schenkerian analysis. I am a materials bench scientist, math is not my strength.

I always feel there are deep connections between music and math, beyond the temperament. However, for chord progression, I tend to agree that the answer may be an emotional one, as j_tour pointed out: tension -> resolution;

I also asked my teacher today why she asked me to practice I - IV - V7, she said because modern composers use them frequently. It is useful for accompaniment and harmonization.





Offline ted

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #11 on: October 02, 2021, 02:40:04 AM »
I can only iterate what I posted on the other forum in answer to your question. I was intensely schooled in my youth by my teacher in learning chords, scales and keys because he was an accomplished professional of the "old school", so to speak. There is a gulf between having a huge keyboard vocabulary and putting it to creative use. There is a further difference between using it to imitate existing idioms and using it to build some sort of personal musical aesthetic of one's own over the course of a lifetime. None of these directions are mutually exclusive in any individual.

As I see it, at least in the early stages, any enjoyable process which builds keyboard vocabulary has some merit. The difficulty lies in how you wish to put it to work for your own maximum enjoyment. Playing the piano solely according to rules of others, chord series and rapid mental arithmetic will produce much that is dull, at least to my mind, however adroit the resulting imitation. Some people are quite content to do that and good luck to them if it makes them happy, everyone should play after his or her own inclination and nobody else's after all.

So I would say yes, try this person's ideas on vocabulary building and anyone else's ideas that take your fancy, but once you have all these things under your belt, in instantly accessible memory, use them in your own way and no other.
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Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #12 on: October 02, 2021, 05:36:21 AM »
Ted, thanks for your suggestions. I always appreciate advice from experienced musicians. As a beginner, I am far from the level you described. However, I could not stop thinking about the reasons behind these trainings. My time is very limited so I need to be clear about learning objectives.

I do not like to be "taught" to do certain things. However, sometimes that's how music or even science training works. Such as arm weight and wrist movement, I used to think those are such unstable methods to control finger movement and waste of my time, but now I am completely convinced. You have to use those techniques on modern pianos. I digressed a little from the original topic, but your points are well-taken.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #13 on: October 02, 2021, 07:25:51 AM »
So now could anyone explain chord progression at a fundamental level, so that a scientist could understand. Does this concept come to you so naturally or you just take it for granted as your teacher taught you that way? Why  I - IV - V7? It does not even sound that good!
Okay, there are a few things here. I would suggest searching for a good undergraduate music theory textbook and going into it, or at least a decent course, online or offline. You won't really get answers to the kinds of questions you will ask unless you go a bit deeper. And as a scientist, you may find music theory to come easily to you as a system.

V7 - I is easier to explain. There are two tritones which both resolve, giving it an immediate sense of tension and release. The whole system is essentially based on more tense intervals resolving to less tense ones. Of course, that's a bit of an oversimplification. Consonant intervals tend to be simple fractions, and dissonant ones more complex fractions. For example, an octave is 2:1, a perfect fifth 3:2, and a perfect fourth 4:3. The first thing you should think of whenever it comes to understanding chord movement is voice leading.

I think one thing we should realize about music is that while more intricate patterns sound more engaging, at the end of the day a large part of the nature of the kinds of patterns chosen is due to convention. For example, which intervals are consonant in what context, tends to be specific to musical language. In the Western classical tradition, you started with a concept of polyphony and consonant layering of sounds. After that followed centuries of composers subverting expectations and creating new vocabulary in the process.

Online themeandvariation

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #14 on: October 02, 2021, 01:57:46 PM »
"Why  I - IV - V7? It does not even sound that good!"

The point of learning the code system of chords (which uses Roman numerals) is to understand that it is used as a quick reduction of the harmonic movement of a given piece. Without the application to a piece - to see the harmonic underpinnings - it will simply be a memory exercise. Yes, I IV V7 may not sound that good to your ear - depending on how those chords are voiced (inversions). But if you are practicing those 3 chords in various key signatures - using the same voicing - and without melodic content - they will sound rather boring.  You might ask your teacher to reveal the harmonic movement of a Clementi sonata - so you can see (understand how ) the reason for using the Roman numerals.
Also, another great application for this coding is for trying improvisation.
Try an experiment:
Try playing the I IV I V7 in the key of C with your LH. Hit each chord 4 times with a pulse around 60 bpm. (Maybe a tad faster.) Repeat the cycle several times - feeling the pulse in your body with each beat.
Then, place you RH anywhere on the C scale - and let the fingers just rest there.
Or, if this is your first attempt, you might try putting the RH thumb on E, followed by finger 2 on G, 3 on A, 4 on B, 5 on C.  This position of the hand tends to yield a more musical sound when wiggling to the beat of the LH.
Practice wiggling the RH - varying the its rhythm with eighths and quarter notes while the LH plays 4 quarter notes for each chord.
Keep your RH in the same position while improvising for a few minutes without stopping.
A few minutes will seem like a long time. Remember to feel the pulse in your body to keep steady time. While playing (at first) don't even look at the RH.  Just know that any of the notes will be OK.  Many times, students become distracted by the RH and then lose the pulse. 
After you have done this to a comfort level, you can add more notes between the beats, and change the placement of the RH.  The danger is making it too complicated prematurely, so be sure you are very comfortable before doing so.
Theory taught in a vacuum is practically useless. It needs to be applied to music right away if it is to be helpful.

On the music is math question, I would say for application - for the budding student - the relation of math to music is best served when applied to rhythm. (serialism - maybe later.)

ps. you mention, "Now I wonder is this how those Jazz musicians can improvise so easily, by following certain patterns of chord progression?"

Yes. And, this little improv. exercise I posted is a first step into that world.
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Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #15 on: October 02, 2021, 02:38:05 PM »
Wonderful discussions ted, ranjit and themeandvariation!! My teacher did say this will benefit me down the road if I want to do improvisation and harmonization. This simple progression could be expanded, but serves the backbone for more complicated ones. She will roll out those videos in the near future. Now it starts to make more sense.

I will practice LH and RH as suggested, sounds pretty fun. Now I wonder is this how those Jazz musicians can improvise so easily, by following certain patterns of chord progression?

Offline ranjit

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #16 on: October 02, 2021, 03:57:09 PM »
The problem with your teacher's channel, as I see it, is that it doesn't really provide something new or have an audience, to put it bluntly. It's neither easy not advanced, it stops short of saying anything of interest for the advanced pianist, and is too hard to follow for beginners. I would suggest checking out some of the other channels for ideas and for finding a niche if you're serious about expanding the channel.

Music Matters, Adam Neely, Rick Beato, Nahre Sol, etc. have videos which will appeal to more advanced players yet entertaining for normal watchers too, for example. Graham Fitch, Denis Zhdanov and Josh Wright have a lot of good technique videos.

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #17 on: October 02, 2021, 04:54:36 PM »
ranjit, I will check out the other channels, and will "try" to gently mention your suggestions. Musicians can take criticisms very personally.

But remember I am her students, though well-established in my field, and she respects that, I am in no position to give pedagogy suggestions in music education.

Also, the whole project was only initiated ~ 3 months ago. I think her priority is to go over level 1 topics to help her class first. I am actually pretty impressed with the progress. Some of the channels you mentioned have been running for 10+ years. I think my teacher deserves credit for what has been achieved so far.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #18 on: October 02, 2021, 05:16:51 PM »
What really determines the quality of the chords?
What do you mean "quality"? The finger print of basic chords can be determined via tones and semitones between the notes in the root triad chord and then application of scale intervals will give you the tools to add other intervals as required to the chords. Considering the intervals in inversions just unnecessarily complicates matters and you should be able to rearrange any inversion to its root chord form.

Especially for some chords, the difference is only one half step, but they belong to completely different category.
Well something like CEG vs CEA is Cmajor vs Aminor, they are of relative key, so it really is a small change in a musical sense and should not be considered so melodramatically as two chords completely different to one another. Chords are chords and thus are all related in some way and be thought of being in close relation to one another in a fingering logic sense too. Just because descriptors sound different (major minor, different root names) they really have the blood of one another flowing through their musical veins.

The inversions make it even more confusing.
Why are inversions so confounding? It just is a situation where order of the notes is not important to still define the same chord.

I guess my question is: what is the fundamental reason people follow certain chord progression?
I feel your question is not necessarily why composers use such devices and why music is written in such a manner but why would anyone study them in isolation to actual music. That is a good question and I think can certainly be a waste of time to focus on it as you describe here:

Like my teacher always ask me to practice I - IV - V7 progression shown in this video at different keys...... She said it would help me establish the concept and improvisation and accompaniment. However, I have no feeling this is helpful whatsoever.
I don't think it's practical to learn this progression in all keys, why just learn actual pieces that use it? I've never actually practiced chord progression in all keys in any obsessive manner at all but I can do it no problems if I read it in a score because I have studied many pieces. I do create chord progression exercises for my students based on the pieces they are learning if it's required but just to mindlessly go through all keys with all permuations of inversions, it's just silliness not to mention super boring for those who are not deeply interested in improvisation/composition.
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #19 on: October 02, 2021, 07:43:22 PM »
In case this is terminology:
What do you mean "quality"?
When I was studying theory rudiments (Canada - RCM), "quality" referred to major, minor, diminished, augmented.  First you had "some kind of D chord" - then "what is its quality?" - answer: D minor - it is a minor chord.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #20 on: October 02, 2021, 08:02:40 PM »
I do create chord progression exercises for my students based on the pieces they are learning if it's required but just to mindlessly go through all keys with all permuations of inversions, it's just silliness not to mention super boring for those who are not deeply interested in improvisation/composition.

Yes, I'll agree with that.

It does point back to the OP's question of how jazz musicians can pick up a lead sheet, or transpose a tune on the fly. 

Some people (ahem....sax players....) take it to extremes and do things like play a given tune, just modulating up or down a semitone every chorus or so, through all the keys.  More of a stunt than a real-world application.

However, playing fundamentals (and the basic chords cited in the OP is indeed fundamental, if nothing else!) in all keys.

But, I admit aside from some preparatory work done as a young child along with scales/arpeggios and all that, it took me a long time to learn the basic structures in each key.  Not just the basic diatonic triads, but a bunch of the "tricks" in each key, not to mention becoming truly comfortable in each key.

Always on the basis of a tune, and not just classical tunes either. 

Yeah, I'd be willing to relax the requirements for "all keys" "all chords," were I a legit teacher:  probably not that fruitful, and the hindbrain/subconscious/ear will likely fill in a number of gaps as required.  On an ad hoc kind of basis.  A "need to know" basis!  ;D

In case this is terminology:When I was studying theory rudiments (Canada - RCM), "quality" referred to major, minor, diminished, augmented.  First you had "some kind of D chord" - then "what is its quality?" - answer: D minor - it is a minor chord.

Yeah, me too, although I'm a Yanqui.  Quality of the chord has always meant exactly like you say.  It was used for me (on me?) as an ear-training thing as a young kid. 
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #21 on: October 02, 2021, 08:08:03 PM »
To the OP, scientistplayspiano - trying to think through your question.

The most fundamental thing that happens in music is the I V I or I V7 I .... Tonic to Dominant to Tonic .... home, away from home, back  home.  If your ear has established that C is the Tonic and home, it wants to go back to it, and V "leads" to that.  There are some reasons in physics, in how sound works - you could go down a rabbit hole exploring the harmonic series.  As Ranjit said, the V7 gives you the tritone that wants to resolve, and again you are comfortably back home.

I V I is sort of boring, and in the way traditional theory is taught, you can thus get a "predominant" - leading to the dominant - that's IV or ii most commonly. The Clementi your teacher plays also has a ii in it.  When I did music theory rudiments, they started with the IV and taught the IV V incomplete cadence. I think because the first chords they taught were I IV V, and there was this thing about "primary" and "secondary" chords - those were the three "primary".  In other words, there are probably other ways of teaching this - why not the ii?

I also noticed that some old fashioned, old-school type books - one on scales for example - always had that set of chords in those inversions to end each scale.  In those inversions, the hands stay in one position and don't have to move far.  If you simply play I IV V7 I (no inversion) your hand jumps up the IV, and down from the V7 to the one in leaps.  Which - why not, if you're just trying to understand the chords?  But the inversion way is more elegant.

I suppose that if you play that sequence in all keys, you get this "in your hands" in an automatic way, and this is supposed to help you when you play music that happens to have those progressions in that order (and configuration).  And maybe it was done this way, because of an old traditional model.

To get a different view on common progressions, look up the "Pachelbel rant" and other things that this eventually spawned.   ;) ;)

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #22 on: October 02, 2021, 10:16:33 PM »
Thank you for all the response. This is beyond my expectation, and I learned a lot.

"Pachelbel rant" is fun! It's interesting different genres all share some similar chord progressions, that actually suggests the importance of practicing those.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #23 on: October 03, 2021, 01:46:30 AM »
In case this is terminology:When I was studying theory rudiments (Canada - RCM), "quality" referred to major, minor, diminished, augmented.  First you had "some kind of D chord" - then "what is its quality?" - answer: D minor - it is a minor chord.
Well i could have guessed that's what the OP meant but I need to hear exactly what they mean.

Thank you for all the response. This is beyond my expectation, and I learned a lot.
So inversions are not so confusing for you now and changing one note creating a different chord doesn't seem so different now?
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Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #24 on: October 03, 2021, 04:44:04 PM »
These posts did answer many of my questions on inversions and chord quality, it is meaningless to just look at chords by name, for chords with small differences, although they are under completely different names, they are all very connected.

My teacher did make a video on triad quality, I love how she demonstrated with this famous Chopin's prelude, it makes more sense now. I am sharing here:



Offline anacrusis

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #25 on: October 03, 2021, 05:57:06 PM »
I also asked my teacher today why she asked me to practice I - IV - V7.

Now that you may have played this progression a bit, take a look at any Mozart, Haydn or early to mid Beethoven sonata. You might find that this progression, or progressions similar to it, crop up a lot. The I - IV - V7 progression is kind of the skeleton that most of Western classical music is built on. Sure, sometimes it is altered in different ways, but you'll find that a lot of music can be reduced to using this progression, or the chords in this progression, with I being the starting point and goal.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #26 on: October 03, 2021, 07:07:01 PM »
So inversions are not so confusing for you now and changing one note creating a different chord doesn't seem so different now?
If you look at how some of these things have been "taught" it will be clear why they appeared confusing to the OP.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #27 on: October 03, 2021, 07:12:43 PM »

My teacher did make a video on triad quality, .....
I have now watched two of these videos, and I can see why you wrote in here and initially found some rather ordinary things confusing.  I would strongly suggest that you study theory on your own, from a variety of resources, and find patterns on your own.  I can't list how many things bothered me.  None of the things were "incorrect" as such, but there are much better ways to explain and to study them.

Btw, if you want to create an augmented chord, you can create it by raising the top note of a major triad as she showed, but you can also do the same thing by lowering the bottom note. For example: CEG to CEG# but also CEG to BEG (which you could also call Cb E G .... that part belongs to musical grammar).

Offline brogers70

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #28 on: October 03, 2021, 07:19:26 PM »
Btw, if you want to create an augmented chord, you can create it by raising the top note of a major triad as she showed, but you can also do the same thing by lowering the bottom note. For example: CEG to CEG# but also CEG to BEG (which you could also call Cb E G .... that part belongs to musical grammar).

Are you sure about that? An augmented triad consists of 2 major thirds. That's true for CEG#, but the chord you wrote as CbEG is just a re-spelling of a minor triad, e minor. I suppose you could make an augmented chord by dropping the root of a minor triad by a halfstep - EGB to EbGB would indeed give you an Eb augmented triad.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #29 on: October 03, 2021, 08:59:55 PM »
ranjit, I will check out the other channels, and will "try" to gently mention your suggestions. Musicians can take criticisms very personally.

But remember I am her students, though well-established in my field, and she respects that, I am in no position to give pedagogy suggestions in music education.

Also, the whole project was only initiated ~ 3 months ago. I think her priority is to go over level 1 topics to help her class first. I am actually pretty impressed with the progress. Some of the channels you mentioned have been running for 10+ years. I think my teacher deserves credit for what has been achieved so far.

One of the differences between music education and scientific education, in my experience anyway, is that science education is a lot less hierarchical than music education. No modern genetics professor thinks you should weigh his (her) claims more seriously because he was the student of a student of a student of a student of a student of Gregor Mendel, and if he said something that did not make sense to me, even as a first year grad student, I'd challenge him on it, and he (she) would not take offense at all. In music, though, someone who is a student of a student of a student of a student of Czerny, may never let you forget it, and may think that the pedigree validates whatever they tell you. And they may get touchy if you ask for a mechanistic explanation or evidence that some approach works.

You may not be a professional musician, but you've learned a lot about figuring things out, about approaching problems empirically, and about analysing results. That doesn't mean you should blow off things your teacher says just to get a rise out of her, but you should have confidence in your ability to understand how things work and to mess around experimentally to improve results. Even good teachers can explain things in ways that are not helpful to you. You can think for yourself and figure things out on your own, or find ways of reframing your teacher's advice that are more effective for you. There can be useful dissonance between the backgrounds and expectations of people trained in a science grad school and those trained in a conservatory. You have to be reasonable and not go overboard, but you can use your scientific training and culture to your advantage in music. Like all advice, this advice can be taken too far.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #30 on: October 04, 2021, 03:48:26 AM »
If you look at how some of these things have been "taught" it will be clear why they appeared confusing to the OP.
I don't see anything on here written by the OP describing why they are confused about inversions that is why I mentioned it. They just said its confusing... full stop. Since it is not a complicated issue at all it struck me as odd that it would be something that could confound someone thus why I wanted to get them to elaborate and not someone else try to tell me what it's about. I know the many ways in which people are confused about inversions but I wanted to hear the specific situation here not some generalized idea.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #31 on: October 04, 2021, 03:51:04 AM »
My teacher did make a video on triad quality, I love how she demonstrated with this famous Chopin's prelude, it makes more sense now. I am sharing here:
So you are asking a question pretending you dont understand it then posting a video saying now you understand it? Is this the twilight zone?? How can chord qualities be so confusing if it is simple observation of the intervals between root chord notes? You don't need a video for that.
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #32 on: October 04, 2021, 03:56:08 AM »
Are you sure about that? An augmented triad consists of 2 major thirds. That's true for CEG#, but the chord you wrote as CbEG is just a re-spelling of a minor triad, e minor. I suppose you could make an augmented chord by dropping the root of a minor triad by a halfstep - EGB to EbGB would indeed give you an Eb augmented triad.
I goofed and should have checked out what I wrote. What I was trying to get at is that you can get an augmented triad in more than one direction.  A root position major or minor triad will have a P5 shell (outer notes). As soon as you expand that in either direction you can get an aug - but in lowering a note, you'd be lowering it from Cm, or lower both the E and the C - that way you get two M3's in a row.  Ofc an aug5 is also the harmonic equivalent of m6 which is what you get in what you pointed out - the Em/B (B to G is a 6).  It was a poor example.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #33 on: October 04, 2021, 04:10:12 AM »
Honestly, while I don't know how your teacher teaches in person, I don't see really good teaching here. It's just 4 simple formulas. She should be demonstrating by playing chords with one hand, not both which just detracts from the crux of the explanation.

I've seen actual good piano teaching channels grow to become quite big on Youtube. The problem is that someone who doesn't contribute something new, and provides an inferior explanation of something already out there, is unlikely to gain traction. For example, for chords, I like videos like these. There is a lot of ground covered in an efficient manner.

Edit: I'm not saying that this is the best out there, there are at least 5 other channels I can think of which are equally good or better, but this was the first video that came to mind.


Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #34 on: October 04, 2021, 09:47:15 AM »
To lostinidlewonder, I thought inversions actually changed the quality of the chord. Current theory assumes they do not, and you assume so too. But inversions sound different to me, even in terms of quality. However, I may still need time to establish the correct concept of quality especially in my hearings. The definition of quality is clear, but when you have inversions, the intervals change. Maybe it is crystal clear to you, but it is not obvious to me as a beginner.

It is fine if you think I am pretending here. As I said, I am promoting my teacher's videos with my own questions. I do have an agenda and motive, sorry if that bothered you. On the other hand, understanding takes time. Even a pretentious question can be productive, just as many people helped contribute their thoughts and knowledge here. I am very appreciative with all the discussions. This is the best way to learn. I never just take or accept what's written on the textbook as the truth, even though I write textbook myself.

We are all entitled to our opinions. I think my teacher offered her creative way of explaining concepts. Many videos on chord progression are dry and boring. She did an excellent job demonstrating triad qualities with music we are all familiar with. Every successful channel starts low and humble, however, we usually do not see that part. That's perfectly fine.


Offline brogers70

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #35 on: October 04, 2021, 10:08:51 AM »
To lostinidlewonder, I thought inversions actually changed the quality of the chord. Current theory assumes they do not, ......


I'm not sure what current theory you are referring to, but standard music theory texts are pretty clear about the different "qualities" and uses of different inversions. Even though you may think it dry, you might get a lot out of working through a standard, introductory music theory text, like "Tonal Harmony" by Kostka and Payne

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0073401358/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1

or you could try this excellent on-line course. In spite of the name it's not so much about composition as about standard practice period harmony

https://www.coursera.org/learn/classical-composition

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #36 on: October 04, 2021, 10:09:32 AM »
To lostinidlewonder, I thought inversions actually changed the quality of the chord. Current theory assumes they do not, and you assume so too.
Current, past and future theory will state it, they dont assume it. Being a scientist who works with those who have won Nobel Prize awards I would have thought you would have chosen your descriptions more carefully. I just think this is going into the weird zone now.


But inversions sound different to me, even in terms of quality.
They don't though. You have the notes on a page and you can rearannge them to create the root chord, then it's easy to identify what you are looking at, it has nothing to do with what it sounds like even though the inversions of the same chord all sound very similar because they all have the same notes.

However, I may still need time to establish the correct concept of quality especially in my hearings. The definition of quality is clear, but when you have inversions, the intervals change. Maybe it is crystal clear to you, but it is not obvious to me as a beginner.
The definition of the quality of chords is basic primary school maths counting intervals of root chords theres no mystery to it, certainly not from a scientist who works with those who won Nobel Prizes. 

It is fine if you think I am pretending here. As I said, I am promoting my teacher's videos with my own questions. I do have an agenda and motive, sorry if that bothered you.
You post on here saying you are confused about something then post a video which says it cleared it all up for you. So you are pretending to be confused then telling us that this video fo your teacher cleared it up. It's just a very odd way to post and looks like story telling.

We are all entitled to our opinions. I think my teacher offered her creative way of explaining concepts. Many videos on chord progression are dry and boring. She did an excellent job demonstrating triad qualities with music we are all familiar with. Every successful channel starts low and humble, however, we usually do not see that part. That's perfectly fine.
So you have no confusion because your teacher has these videos, good for you. I think they are rubbish, no serious piano student learns from videos if they have a teacher to learn from.
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Offline brogers70

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #37 on: October 04, 2021, 10:49:11 AM »
They don't though. You have the notes on a page and you can rearannge them to create the root chord, then it's easy to identify what you are looking at, it has nothing to do with what it sounds like even though the inversions of the same chord all sound very similar because they all have the same notes.

But inversions do sound different. If they sounded the same, it would have been a matter of indifference to classical composers whether they ended a piece with a tonic chord in root position or in first inversion, yet they seemed to have a preference.

The reason for the different qualities of inversions is the way in which the overtone series of each note lines up with the others. In first inversion the second harmonic of the third of the chord is a half step off from the first harmonic of the root itself, and since the third of the chord is the lowest note, that clash occurs in a relatively low and easily audible octave. You can hear that clash easily if you voice the chord with the third way down in the bass and the root and fifth high up in the treble. When the chord is in root position, the clash between the second harmonic of the third of the chord and the first harmonic of the root happens higher up and is less audible. That makes the first inversion have a more unstable, dissonant quality than the root position. There are always dissonances between the overtones of the three notes of a triad - root position consigns them to the highest, and least audible, octave possible; first inversion makes those dissonances more salient.

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #38 on: October 04, 2021, 02:14:49 PM »
lostinidlewonder, your post speaks volume about your attitude, even you are a elite "concert pianist". I am not going to respond anymore. I feel sorry for you.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #39 on: October 04, 2021, 02:23:59 PM »
Just on this part.
I think they are rubbish, no serious piano student learns from videos if they have a teacher to learn from.
On having a teacher to learn from.   Those videos are his teacher's "teaching".  He is supposed to "learn from" those videos.  The whole mystery of why the OP is confused about ordinary things, while at the same time citing videos he presently seems to trust is solved in this fact.   If you are a novice music student, you tend to have blind trust in your teacher, you trust what you are given, and you do not yet have enough knowledge to see the holes in it - and you still have loyalty toward that teacher.  As someone who started as an adult with music lessons, I can attest that there is a kind of awe, because music teachers are also musicians, and what they do seems magical and wondrous.  If gradually some things start to feel amiss, you are also fighting yourself, because surely these things being "taught" can't be wrong - and yet something is wrong - thus you get these ambiguous, contradictory, and confusing statements from such a student.  If you yourself teach with clarity, then a confused but studious student is an anomaly, because your own students don't become confused, because of how you yourself teach.

I was in a similar situation I guess getting close to 20 years ago, although where my confusion lay was in a different area.  I finally got into a forum for that instrument: cautiously asked my questions - they were "bizarre" questions because of how little I knew and how/what I had (not) been taught.  I got attacked by some of the teachers and advanced musicians in that forum - was told I shouldn't try to run before I could walk; that I should buckle down and do the basic things my teacher was telling me to do.   In fact, the advanced things minus basic underpinnings were coming from the teacher, and the idea that anyone would teach that way simply did not occur to those people.  They were picturing their own students whom they taught properly.

Simply by watching those two videos, knowing it's from the OP's teacher, a lot of things appear rather clear to me.  In the way I wrote in the beginning.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #40 on: October 04, 2021, 02:42:25 PM »
To the OP:
The reason you have been confused is because of the teaching - a number of us are seeing this.  I'll also say that not everyone who has a mastery of a skill also knows how to teach it --- or all aspects of that skill, so theory in this case.  Teaching in itself is a separate skill, which is why you have teacher training, "teacher's college", pedagogy, or at least, mentorship of a future teacher by a teacher.  In my case, I am originally a trained teacher: I've also been mentored in music pedagogy by my present teacher, and I've taught basic music theory some years back (I was just finishing off when I met my teacher).

The reason you have been confused and why things haven't quite worked for you is because of the teaching.  It's a mishmash.   It contains enough information to be convincing; what is said is not "wrong"; and that makes it all the more confusing.  If for example a teacher were to say that CEG and CEbG  are both major triads, this is so blatantly wrong, that you would catch it.

Music theory should be taught in a progressive way (though not rigidly so).  That is, you start with some fundamental things and build from there.  In pedagogy, you build your subject matter in stages, plan how you will present it, how one thing fits into the other.  I don't see that here.  For example, the I IV V7 I lesson immediately throws in inversions.  It is nothing more than some old sequence that used to be given as a blind exercise and may still be given that way.  A lot of foundational things are missing from there.  It is possible that the teacher was taught that way herself.

Anyway, to make this shorter than it would otherwise be: I would go back to scratch, find other resources, discover patterns, and always explore at the piano so that what is learned in theory becomes a real thing; also explore through the music you play to discover those patterns and other patterns.  Others such as Ranjit have said similar, I think.

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #41 on: October 04, 2021, 03:03:24 PM »
keypeg, thank you for the suggestions. I learn from my teacher mainly on Piano technique, once a week. As an adult working professional piano student starting from scratch two years ago, I have a lot to catch up. We do not have too much chance to talk about music theory. She just gives me assignment, mainly on wrist movement, repertoire, exercise etc. I am mainly learning music theory on myself with a few books. I am a quick learner but still a newbie. I thank all the people that helped me learn here.

These videos are not made for me, they are made for the group piano class to supplement the teaching. I showed the videos here "student corner", just thought they could be helpful to someone else. These are almost textbook instructional videos with a personal touch, I was surprised by the hostility here, calling them "rubbish" is not only insulting but also foolish.

Of course, this happened numerous times in science field. Those entitled and established like to call others' work "rubbish". It only reflects poorly on them. My own publications and proposals have been rejected numerous times by prestigious peers, that never stopped me from producing even better work.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #42 on: October 04, 2021, 03:16:49 PM »
In case it's of interest and/or useful - some explorations just of major and minor.

As the teacher in the video said, a major triad in root position (stacked noteheads on the staff will look like a snowman with not gaps) will have M3 going from the root note to the middle note, and m3 from middle to top, and the outer notes will form a P5 (perfect fifth).  Mostly I think we see the M3 and the P5.   The minor triad has an m3 from root to middle, and it also has this P5.  The order of root to middle, middle to top, is reversed as she says.

Most people if they hear a major triad and then a minor triad, will hear a "happier" sound for the major, and a "sadder" sound for the minor, but both are sort of "settled" - whereas a diminished triad (C Eb Gb) or augmented triad (C E G#) will sound unsettled and put you on edge.  Those are what give the "qualities".

(2) The closed position, root position, stacked-snowman appearance we often see are like dictionary definitions.  We write "run, ran, running, runner, runs" but the alphabetic listing will be "run".  "women, womanly" but it's listed under "woman".  You are given the "dictionary entry" of chords.

(3)  The notes C E G form that chord regardless of where those notes appear vis-a-vis each other, how far apart there are, or how many of each (when you only have those notes).   You will hear a "sameness" and also a "differentness".  That is, you will always hear that "happy quality" to your CEG regardless of inversions, or how the notes are spread out.  But it will also sound differently.  I saw a demo once, where red tissue paper was shown folded in many layers - a rich deep red - and unfolded into thin layers - a faded looking red - but always red.  It's like that.

Composers will use these attributes to give their music the colour that it gets; it is part of their paint pots and brushes.

(4) Goetschius wrote that music is harmony and melody painted over a canvas of time.  I loved this analogy ever since I first read it.  Melody moves forward in time, and ofc you'll know what melody is.  The melody notes go together with the chords, because mostly the melody notes are derived from the chord in the main.  If your chord is CEG, your melody is unlikely to contain primarily Db F Ab.   Your melody will move forward and there is some point where you feel that the melody has reached some kind of conclusion - traditionally and commonly finally landing on the Tonic.  Your chords work in sync with that.

Meanwhile, the chords themselves will have some main "progressions" in the manner that I described the other day - the most fundamental one being I V(7) I; the commonality of some progressions nicely illustrated in the Pachelbel rant.  Choices of chords makes the music "move forward" - sometimes the composer may have a surprise by suddenly sticking in a minor chord to "change the mood in a surprising way" - that's all part of it.

In composing music, the composer has to keep all the elements in mind - get the progressions do their job, create the mood you want, have all the notes of the chord in there that you need, and have melody and harmony neatly fit together.  To do that, the composer will be deciding on inversions, note distribution etc.

If you later study harmony theory, maybe getting into the world of whatever is taught in jazz, etc., you will also start getting into the grammar of it.  We have "run, runs, ran, running" - when do you use what?  When do you say "I run" (presently, habitual), vs. "I am running."(presently, right now)?  Music grammar, harmony theory etc., is like that.  You will know by then that the notes of a chord can be distributed in various ways, and in various inversions.  The "grammar of music" will give you an idea of when you might choose what.

Does this help at all, or does it just confuse?

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #43 on: October 04, 2021, 03:22:40 PM »
If you liked Pachebel Rant, you should watch the Four Chord Song.

Even if you didn't you should watch that, because it quickly shows you what a large percentage of popular songs are based on four basic chords. 

Others have explained elegantly some of the why that chord progressions work, but you don't really need to know that.  Common progressions are common precisely because they reach something fundamental in the listener's brain; we don't always need to know why if we observe what is happening. 

Call up Happy Birthday and sing it in your mind.  Happy Birthday to............YOU.  On YOU, didn't your brain attach a different chord?  If you were playing right hand melody and left hand chords by ear, do you know what chord that would be?  If you've done those exercises you will know.

When I started playing church piano I did not have the skills to play SATB, so I did right hand melody and left hand close position I, IV, and V7 chords.  It wasn't great but I was all they had and it worked. 


Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #44 on: October 04, 2021, 03:25:28 PM »
keypeg, thank you for the suggestions. I learn from my teacher mainly on Piano technique, once a week. As an adult working professional piano student starting from scratch two years ago, I have a lot to catch up. We do not have too much chance to talk about music theory. She just gives me assignment, mainly on wrist movement, repertoire, exercise etc. I am mainly learning music theory on myself with a few books. I am a quick learner but still a newbie. I thank all the people that helped me learn here.

These videos are not made for me, they are made for the group piano class to supplement the teaching. I showed the videos here "student corner", just thought they could be helpful to someone else. These are almost textbook instructional videos with a personal touch,....

Thank you for clarifying.  I would say that music theory is a separate thing that not all music teachers do well, (or were taught well).  My impression is that your teacher is probably excellent for the playing side, which is essential, and the part that you cannot do well on your own.

I would honestly not see those videos as "textbook" because it would be a poorly designed textbook.  I'd advise you to explore theory on your own, and this is also a subject that one can learn on one's own.  Always supplement theory - which can come "academically" - with exploration of sound itself, and exploration of its occurrence with music.

In regard to the I IV V7 I video (the Clementi one) ---- this can be useful if you use it right.  You do have a summary of the three chords that often come together in music, in a "compact" form that fits in the hand - maybe it's like a jingle for remember pi = 3.14... - but I'd want to get to really know these chords, and not just a "readily compact music jingle" which it can end up being.

Did you notice that the Clementi one also had a ii6 chord? (ii6 means, the ii chord = chord built on the 2nd degree note of the scale, in 2nd inversion - the 6 gives you that inversion).

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #45 on: October 04, 2021, 03:37:38 PM »
It doesn't matter if the OP of a thread is possibly a scammer as long as it leads to interesting conversation.

I was in doubt also, based on the variety of videos, the language, and the fact that there is a Sep 23 post of a video from a piano teacher using Rode microphones for the first time (see the Brahms), followed by a post from this OP asking for help with Rode mike saturation, you can see why it could be confusing. 

But in the end it's easier to answer as if the questions were sincere, because answering questions may help others and always helps clarify our own thoughts. 
Tim

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #46 on: October 04, 2021, 04:19:21 PM »
to timothy42b,
"It doesn't matter if the OP of a thread is possibly a scammer as long as it leads to interesting conversation."
It matters to me, because we are NOT a scammer!

The Brahms is performed by another adult piano student from our studio, who worked as a carpenter for 18 years! They asked me to assist recording since I am the only engineer in the studio, and I saturated the mics! But that's a great performance apart from my poor  recording technique. The Steinway B is also out of shape due to poor maintenance and budget cut in the department. So I personally paid for all the mics and used my own cameras. For those who care to watch, here it is:


Offline j_tour

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #47 on: October 04, 2021, 04:30:34 PM »
Did you notice that the Clementi one also had a ii6 chord? (ii6 means, the ii chord = chord built on the 2nd degree note of the scale, in 2nd inversion - the 6 gives you that inversion).

All right, here's my turn for a small confusion, I suppose.

I know that the ii6 (short for 63) is utterly standard, is in all the textbooks, yadda yadda.

But I swear I've heard at least one person describe the ii6 as just a IV chord with an added (major) six interval.  Does this interpretation hold any water at all, or is it just a case of simplifying the harmony by reducing it to the simpler progression?

It does explain the cadential ii6 pretty well, but seems like a stretch.
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Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #48 on: October 04, 2021, 04:47:47 PM »
j_tour, thank you for asking that, i do not even know where to start when timothy42b mentioned that ii6 chord. I will ask my teacher as well next time when I am having my class. She said she picked this piece carefully to demonstrate the concept.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Who is not confused with chord progression and inversions, help ~
«Reply #49 on: October 04, 2021, 04:51:44 PM »
All right, here's my turn for a small confusion, I suppose.

I know that the ii6 (short for 63) is utterly standard, is in all the textbooks, yadda yadda.

But I swear I've heard at least one person describe the ii6 as just a IV chord with an added (major) six interval.  Does this interpretation hold any water at all, or is it just a case of simplifying the harmony by reducing it to the simpler progression?

It does explain the cadential ii6 pretty well, but seems like a stretch.

In C major, the ii6 would be a d minor chord in first inversion f-a-d (starting from the bass). That chord functions as a subdominant. It is common to hear a cadence ii-V-I, rather than IV-V-I. It is also common to hear ii7-V7-I, where you are using the seventh chord of ii, ie d-f-a-c, in this case. In classical harmony, in that role that chord is generally described as a seventh chord built on the second degree of the scale. As far as I know, classical theory does not often use a notation for adding a sixth to an existing triad. BUT... you are quite correct that you would get the same four notes by taking the subdominant (F major in this case) and adding a sixth above the root, to get f-a-c-d. Most classical texts would describe that as the first inversion of a seventh chord on D, but the notes are the same, as you said.