One of the challenging things about music theory is the fact that it is a moving target. In other words, it is not a clear cut discipline in the way that mathematics might be. In math, 2+2 will always be 4 regardless of the time period or culture. That is not true with music. I […]
Triads are sort of the basic building block of homophony, which is a technical term for the dominant way that harmony has been used in Western music for the past few centuries. They are useful without doubt; you can play most any song with triads.
If you are like me, getting started on a piece of music (arrangement or composition) is often the hardest step. We all have tendency to get stuck looking for that idea that will define the song.
I saw on Facebook this week where James Koerts posted the following: “Parallel 5ths” get a bad rap. I have to agree. In fact, I had to laugh because I just posted an arrangement last week that blatantly ignores the prohibition on parallel 5ths. Here is the ending. The prohibition on parallel 5ths is most […]
If you are reading this lesson before reading my first lesson on playing lead sheets, please take the time to read it here before continuing. To review the last lesson, I explained why I think there is value in knowing how to read lead sheets, and gave you four steps to get started. Here they […]
Today, I am going to teach you how to play from a lead sheet. If you do not know what I am talking about, a lead sheet is music notation that includes the melody line, the lyrics, and chord symbols. At the present time, you do not see many lead sheets in church music. They […]
How many different chords do you have to know? Probably not as many as you think. Below are examples of the chords I will regularly talk about. By the way, you will not see simple triads here because they are rarely used. You are going to learn that we are almost always going to add […]
Let’s take a song and walk through all of the chords in it. I chose “Just As I Am” for this exercise because it is a very typical hymn from a harmony perspective. It contains I, IV, and V major chords and has a few 7th chords, a 9th, and a few inversions. Here is […]
Remember that slash chords are chords written like this: Amin7/D. When you see one, it means to play the first letter as a chord with the second letter as the bottom note in the bass. Slash chords are often used to simplify things for the instrumentalist and they do make things simpler. If you do […]