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#1818535 - 01/04/12 05:06 PM scales or chords?
Gary D. Offline
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Obviously both have to be mastered, but which do you, as teachers, enjoy teaching?

I hate teaching scales, love teaching chords... smile
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#1818576 - 01/04/12 06:00 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
pianolady14 Offline
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I'm exactly the opposite: love teaching scales, chords not so much. I love talking about the circle of 5ths. So much so that a student once told me she knew what my favorite number was -- 5!
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#1818601 - 01/04/12 06:39 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Gary D. Offline
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I like teaching scales, by rote, as coming FROM chords. smile
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#1818614 - 01/04/12 06:52 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
pianolady14 Offline
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I always talk about chords coming from scales! Now what are your views on arpeggios?
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#1818643 - 01/04/12 07:22 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Obviously both have to be mastered, but which do you, as teachers, enjoy teaching?

I hate teaching scales, love teaching chords... smile

Hate to be the odd man out here, but enjoy both. Scales and scale passages add sparkle to music, so they are fun to use, and of course chords add meat to the foundation, so that's satisfying as well!

My teaching routine has changed over the years. Now I work on white key scales and their chords, root and inversions, then add in the primary chord sequence. Finally add arpeggios and inversions of the primary chord sequence. Try to get through the white keys before they are ready to start two octaves, but don't always succeed. If I can get through the white keys, I begin the minors, then add in the black key majors. Save the black key minors for very last, when students are very secure in their scale fingerings.
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#1818648 - 01/04/12 07:28 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Gary D. Offline
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Obviously both can be derived from both. It's a chicken-egg thing, but when I was young, I always wanted to play very big chords. smile


Edited by Gary D. (01/04/12 07:28 PM)
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#1818651 - 01/04/12 07:30 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
pianolady14 Offline
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That's interesting, John. I too have changed my routine, which is similar to yours in some ways. I have started delaying the black key majors until after the white key minors, too. I used to feel I had to slavishly follow the circle of fifths, but I started to think that introducing the black-key scales too early was slowing progress rather than speeding it up. I introduce scales very early anyway, usually at the beginning of level 1. Most of the teachers I know wait until much later.
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#1818653 - 01/04/12 07:33 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
pianolady14 Offline
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Gary, I still want to play very big chords! However, my hands quit growing too soon!
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#1818679 - 01/04/12 08:02 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: pianolady14]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: pianolady14
That's interesting, John. I too have changed my routine, which is similar to yours in some ways. I have started delaying the black key majors until after the white key minors, too. I used to feel I had to slavishly follow the circle of fifths, but I started to think that introducing the black-key scales too early was slowing progress rather than speeding it up. I introduce scales very early anyway, usually at the beginning of level 1. Most of the teachers I know wait until much later.


I introduce scales very early on as well, but we might work on the first 3 or 4 (going around the circle of 5ths) for quite a while. I don't find that the black key scales cause any more problem than any others by the time they get there.

Back OT, I prefer teaching scales, as those are the building blocks for chords and melodies. Usually students will do all major sharp and flat keys in scales, then I add chords to the routine (sometimes I add them along the way first time around the circle), and then I add arpeggios. So usually by the 2nd time around they've done all keys, one octave hands together of scales, chords (I IV V I progression in root position), and arpeggios (built on I only). Then we go on to minor scales or 2 octaves.
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#1818689 - 01/04/12 08:11 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Morodiene]
pianolady14 Offline
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I'm always impressed with how many routes can lead to the same destination!
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#1818712 - 01/04/12 08:40 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Minaku Offline
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Registered: 07/26/07
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Loc: Atlanta
I can't say I enjoy teaching either as most of the time it's tough for both teacher and student. Once the meat of the scales have been learned, then it gets fun. Same with chords. Teaching 4 basic chord progressions to undergraduate music majors has pretty much sucked any kind of joy out of it.
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#1818815 - 01/04/12 11:14 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: pianolady14]
Monaco Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianolady14
I love talking about the circle of 5ths. So much so that a student once told me she knew what my favorite number was -- 5!


Me too. I also use the circle of 5ths to teach chords though. I make them play their majors and minors around the circle. I found the easiest way to teach them is by color coding. C is all white. B is white, black, black. etc.
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#1818838 - 01/04/12 11:59 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Monaco]
Minaku Offline
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Originally Posted By: Monaco
Originally Posted By: pianolady14
I love talking about the circle of 5ths. So much so that a student once told me she knew what my favorite number was -- 5!


Me too. I also use the circle of 5ths to teach chords though. I make them play their majors and minors around the circle. I found the easiest way to teach them is by color coding. C is all white. B is white, black, black. etc.


That's how I teach arpeggios - we go by color groups, then major/minor.
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#1818864 - 01/05/12 01:27 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Offline
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Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Hate to be the odd man out here, but enjoy both. Scales and scale passages add sparkle to music, so they are fun to use, and of course chords add meat to the foundation, so that's satisfying as well!

I started on scales, officially, very VERY late. And I would not recommend this path to any serious student. But I was in 9th grade when my teacher, new at that time, simply told me to take home the Hannon book and learn all the standard scales, all keys. The strange thing is that I do not recall having any problem doing that, but that could be because I had already played so much music, in so many keys, and I think the patterns were already about 98% there.

The same thing happened with chords. She told me to learn all major, minor, diminished and augmented chords in all keys, all inversions, also dominant 7 chords, and to play all these in arpeggios.

Everything about my musical development was weird, so I really can't use my own "path" as any kind of norm. Most of my teaching life has been about trying to find ways to get students who don't pick these things up quickly to get there, some how.

I swear I've tried everything!

Right now I'm having even my very young students (as young as seven) play: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, those major chords. Then Db, Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb. I have them continue up and down a couple octaves, but once they have them, I will tell them to play them chromatically, in whole tone scales, in minor thirds, etc., whatever they can follow. Obviously the really little ones are not going to move right to parallel motion, whole tone, but you see where I am heading.

Then I tell them to play major triads at random, root position, both hands, experimenting. The idea is that by not controlling how they experiment, they start to discover how modern composers uses such devices to set moods.

I move from there to minors. I like having students have major and minor triads, the concept, in all keys, because I use chords in all keys very early. The B chord is probably most rare for the young ones, but B minor is not rare at all, Bb shows up all over the place, and I even use a Db chord with a sort of "Neapolitan feel" in a little waltz I wrote in C minor, adding it to the usual primary chords in that key.

Perhaps the bottom line is that our students end up learning, to some extent, the way we ourselves feel most comfortable simply due to our individual personalities as teachers, if they are comfortable with us.

And in the end, if they get really good, they have to know all about chords AND scales any way. smile


Edited by Gary D. (01/05/12 01:28 AM)
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#1819026 - 01/05/12 11:21 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
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Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I even use a Db chord with a sort of "Neapolitan feel" in a little waltz I wrote in C minor, adding it to the usual primary chords in that key.


Hi Gary. It was exciting to see your reference to Neapolitan chords because I had just been learning about Neapolitan 6th chords.

It's helpful to have some discussion about a new idea. Helps me to remember it. So for that reason I'll explain a Neapolitan 6th chord. smile An N6 is a major chord built on the lowered 2nd degree of the scale usually found in 1st inversion. It's used as a colorful substitute for IV. For example in A minor, an N6 would be a Bb chord in lst inversion.
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#1819039 - 01/05/12 11:33 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
So, in A minor, N6 = D F Bb? Substituting for iv = D F A?

What if you were in A major? Would it still be N6 = D F Bb (flatting the sixth degree of the scale to make the Bb major chord)? Substituting for IV = D F# A?

Any examples of pieces that include N6 chords?
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#1819057 - 01/05/12 12:00 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Pianostudent - yes. The bII6 will sub in for a ii6 or a IV. You can alter a chord progression thus:

I-IV6-bII6-V7-I or
I-bII6-IV6-V7-I
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#1819128 - 01/05/12 02:24 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
An example of use of an N6 is in "A Slow Waltz" op.39, no.23 by Dmitri Kabalevsky. It's included in Piano Repertoire book 5 of "Celebration Series Perspectives".
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#1819132 - 01/05/12 02:25 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Minaku]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Minaku
Pianostudent - yes. The bII6 will sub in for a ii6 or a IV. You can alter a chord progression thus:

I-IV6-bII6-V7-I or
I-bII6-IV6-V7-I


Is this read as "flat two six"? A Neapolitan chord can also be called a "flat two"?
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"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
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#1819289 - 01/05/12 07:17 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
I have a hard enough time getting my students to play the technical requirements for their CM test (which contains lots of scales and chords/progressions), so I only teach whatever is on the test for the student's level. I will throw in Hanon and Czerny if and only if the student has no dexterity whatsoever, and I don't have very many of those.

I prefer to teach repertoire and theory. I actually find the hands-together scales pretty useless, since you don't find that very much in actual literature.
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#1819290 - 01/05/12 07:20 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Minaku
Pianostudent - yes. The bII6 will sub in for a ii6 or a IV. You can alter a chord progression thus:

I-IV6-bII6-V7-I or
I-bII6-IV6-V7-I


Is this read as "flat two six"? A Neapolitan chord can also be called a "flat two"?


Yes.

I like your "Slow Waltz" example.
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#1819295 - 01/05/12 07:28 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4776
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Minaku
Pianostudent - yes. The bII6 will sub in for a ii6 or a IV. You can alter a chord progression thus:

I-IV6-bII6-V7-I or
I-bII6-IV6-V7-I


Is this read as "flat two six"? A Neapolitan chord can also be called a "flat two"?

Yes. A flat two six chord.

But the Neapolitan idea does not HAVE to 1st inversion.

Chopin Predlue in C Minor, Op. 28, No. 20

Check out M8 and M12. Root position Db major in both, lowered 2nd degree of school, moving to Gaug7 (V aug7) G B Eb F, where Eb resolves to D, typical V7 chord.

So Neapolitan is a "feel", as if you are hovering around a temporary tonal center just a wee bit above normal I chord. smile
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#1819356 - 01/05/12 09:45 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Minaku Offline
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Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Minaku
Pianostudent - yes. The bII6 will sub in for a ii6 or a IV. You can alter a chord progression thus:

I-IV6-bII6-V7-I or
I-bII6-IV6-V7-I


Is this read as "flat two six"? A Neapolitan chord can also be called a "flat two"?

Yes. A flat two six chord.

But the Neapolitan idea does not HAVE to 1st inversion.

Chopin Predlue in C Minor, Op. 28, No. 20

Check out M8 and M12. Root position Db major in both, lowered 2nd degree of school, moving to Gaug7 (V aug7) G B Eb F, where Eb resolves to D, typical V7 chord.

So Neapolitan is a "feel", as if you are hovering around a temporary tonal center just a wee bit above normal I chord. smile


I myself really like a bII-I cadence. It's just cool.
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#1819485 - 01/06/12 02:13 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: South Florida
Not to mention a bII chord with 7 and b5. smile

Example, in C major:

Db F G B to a I chord, proceed any way you please. It's the old tritone thing, since G7b5/Db = Db7b5.

I think Ann may want to hit us for making this so complicated. wink
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#1819496 - 01/06/12 02:52 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5240
Loc: Europe
Oh... I love teaching chords... But for compositional reasons, rather than piano playing... I mean it's vastly important to teach someone who wants to compose the vast alternatives of chord construction (rather than just chord progression): Quartal harmony, 12 tone harmony, mirror harmony, modal harmony, polytonal harmony, etc... So much interesting stuff in there.
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#1819506 - 01/06/12 04:10 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
beeboss Online   content
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It is the relationship between scales and chords that I find the most interesting although both are interesting individually.
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#1819561 - 01/06/12 08:34 AM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Not to mention a bII chord with 7 and b5. smile

Example, in C major:

Db F G B to a I chord, proceed any way you please. It's the old tritone thing, since G7b5/Db = Db7b5.

I think Ann may want to hit us for making this so complicated. wink


No, I'm grateful for the discussion even though a bit of it is beyond my comprehension. smile
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a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
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#1819723 - 01/06/12 02:32 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: AZNpiano]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Minaku
Pianostudent - yes. The bII6 will sub in for a ii6 or a IV. You can alter a chord progression thus:

I-IV6-bII6-V7-I or
I-bII6-IV6-V7-I


Is this read as "flat two six"? A Neapolitan chord can also be called a "flat two"?


Yes.

I like your "Slow Waltz" example.


Thanks. I wish I could take credit for it. The example came from the Teacher Handbook (CSP). It's a great resource.
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a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
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#1819739 - 01/06/12 03:10 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.


But the Neapolitan idea does not HAVE to 1st inversion.

Chopin Predlue in C Minor, Op. 28, No. 20

Check out M8 and M12. Root position Db major in both, lowered 2nd degree of school, moving to Gaug7 (V aug7) G B Eb F, where Eb resolves to D, typical V7 chord.

So Neapolitan is a "feel", as if you are hovering around a temporary tonal center just a wee bit above normal I chord. smile

Ok, I get the part about the "feel" and function. But is it still a 6 chord when in root position. Like, first inversion you'd have FAbDb which is a 6 chord. But in root position you have DbFAb which is a straight major chord.

So what I'm understanding is that it's outside the notes and chords of that key, which gives it the Neapolitan feel, even though technically it is not a six chord when in root position. (?)

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#1819803 - 01/06/12 05:32 PM Re: scales or chords? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4776
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Ok, I get the part about the "feel" and function. But is it still a 6 chord when in root position. Like, first inversion you'd have FAbDb which is a 6 chord. But in root position you have DbFAb which is a straight major chord.

So what I'm understanding is that it's outside the notes and chords of that key, which gives it the Neapolitan feel, even though technically it is not a six chord when in root position. (?)

We are running into a Roman numeral/ lettered chord clash.

6 after a Roman numberal is not a "6 chord". It is a 1st inversion chord.

But 6 after a letter IS a "6 chord".

So, for instance, Db6=Db F Ab Bb. It could also be written Bbm7/Db, but people who use letters, not Roman numerals, generally go for the symbol that seems both easiest to write and simplest to understand. At any rate, the name is: D flat 6,

But if you want F Ab Db, in the key of C minor, you would have to use something like bII6, and you would say: Flat Two Six chord. You would now have to know that "flat two" means a Roman numeral, that II is the second degree, that "b" means lower that degree, and that 6 is a hold over from figured bass.

In figured bass that F would be in the bass. In the key of Cm, already three flats, the Neapolitan in 1st inversion:

b6
F

If you are in C major, the same thing would be
b6
b
F

The F would be notated of course, no letter name.
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