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#2110726 - 06/30/13 05:27 PM How do chord symbols relate to the master staff?
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94

Sorry if this question is way elementary, but I asked 5 people in the music store yesterday and they did not know...I know the treble clef and bass clef...this is how I play using the master staff...but what are those chords on top? Am I supposed to add those as well? I don't have 3 hands....LOL


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#2110732 - 06/30/13 05:34 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Those chord symbols are telling you what chords you're playing.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2110737 - 06/30/13 05:42 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: rnaple]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2416
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: rnaple
Those chord symbols are telling you what chords you're playing.


Yes, or to play on the guitar. Or do what I did for years and years and just improvise around the melody and those chords like in a fake book.

I shudder to think there's a music store out there where someone doesn't know the answer to that!
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#2110747 - 06/30/13 05:53 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: rnaple]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
But I am not playing any chords...just the melody in the right hand (G Clef) and left hand (Bass Clef)...I am still a bit confused about this....

Also, what do you mean by improvising around those chords?

Do you mean that instead of the bass line, I should play chords and just ignore the bass clef?

Many thanks
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#2110751 - 06/30/13 05:58 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: Andy Platt]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 989
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Originally Posted By: rnaple
Those chord symbols are telling you what chords you're playing.


Yes, or to play on the guitar. Or do what I did for years and years and just improvise around the melody and those chords like in a fake book.

I shudder to think there's a music store out there where someone doesn't know the answer to that!
A music store that hires people who don't know music... interesting.

As you learn more about chords and how to use them, you can take this very simple arrangement and embellish it a little more. Like Andy said, you can ignore all but the top note (the melody) and use the chord symbols to fill in the rest. Many styles of music don't translate well into traditional notation the way classical music does.

Also, if you or someone else is singing along to it, you wouldn't play the melody along with them. In that case, you could use the chords to create an accompaniment.
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#2110763 - 06/30/13 06:13 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I can see from your reply, Pianolover. You really don't understand intervals and chords yet. You need to study them. You are looking right at them. I'm rationalizing that with easy music, they list the chord at the top to help us. It is important for us to learn chords. I know about improvising chords or changing them while they are still the same chord. I don't know enough to explain to you well about it.
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Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2110764 - 06/30/13 06:13 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: Brian Lucas]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Thanks Brian. Well, I went late at night and they were nearly closed. SO I think they were just tired and had no time explaining. I will check out your sight reading course. Would it teach me to read intervalically?

Also, I have encountered another weird situation: a song starting with a double bar line in the beginning with the dots pointing toward right...I know it is a repeat sign, but the score does not have another left=repeat sign so I know where to start or end repeating...

Thanks...
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#2110766 - 06/30/13 06:15 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: rnaple]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Well, if they are not played at the same time they are not technically chords...they are arpegios...right?
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#2110773 - 06/30/13 06:25 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Arpegios are broken chords. What you are calling chords are block chords. You can also use the terms: Melodic and Harmonic. Now get to studying.
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Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2110774 - 06/30/13 06:25 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: Maine
[cross-posted]

The word "chord" is used in two ways. One way meaning a set of notes all played at the same time. Another way is to name a set of notes played relatively close together (perhaps all in the same measure, or half measure) which fit into one named harmony. So if you play CEG in one measure, either one after the other or all at the same time, you might say "that measure has a C major chord". It's useful to identify harmonies this way because for example if you decide to improvise with the rhythm and/or the order of notes, you know that you want to work with the notes of the C major chord: C E and G.

Conversely, if you start looking closely at your arrangement of Scarborough Fair, you will find that sometimes there are notes in a measure which are not part of the named chord written above the staff. These are called "non-chord notes," and deciding when to use them is part of the art of arranging or improvising.


Edited by PianoStudent88 (06/30/13 06:26 PM)
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#2110776 - 06/30/13 06:31 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11801
Loc: Canada
Pianolover, you could say that our music is built on a series of chords that move the music along. A chord typically has 3 or 4 notes to it in its basic form. The melody will use one or more of the notes in that chord, and the accompaniment uses all or most of the notes. Then sometimes there are other notes that don't belong. That's how the music is "constructed". You don't have to worry about that part - all you need to do is play what is written.

But some people like to improvise or they don't know how to read music well, but they do know their chord symbols. So they would use the symbols and create their own accompaniment. The symbols are there for them.

If you look at your music, the first two measures are "built on" a Dm chord (DFA). The bass has the DA, and the melody moves from D to A and toggles down to the G. There is no F probably to make it easy as beginner music. Now, if you know this much theory, you might actually want to experiment in how it sounds if you add that F.

In measure 3 it has moved to a C chord. You see all the notes of that chord in the left and right hand. You can use these chord symbols to educate yourself about how music is structured, since you have them right there. laugh

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#2110784 - 06/30/13 06:48 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Pianolover.....What are you doing?
Everyone of these people will tell you that you need to understand chords if you want to play well. I've seen you post where you said you wanted to play seriously. Even though you have some good answers. This is no way to study chords. I know darn well that everyone of these people will agree with me.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2110834 - 06/30/13 08:20 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: rnaple]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Oh I am really sorry.... By no means I wanted to say what you may have got from my post...My knowledge is very limited and hence the question....Thank you for all your answers...I appreciate it very much and once again sorry for the misunderstanding.

Warm regards,


Edited by pianolover85 (06/30/13 08:21 PM)
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#2110839 - 06/30/13 08:27 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: rnaple]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11801
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: rnaple
This is no way to study chords. I know darn well that everyone of these people will agree with me.

I don't. Pianolover was not trying to study chords this way, but rather ran into symbols in new music that s/he didn't understand.

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#2110850 - 06/30/13 08:51 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
And just to mix you up a little more, Scarborough Fair is written in D Dorian mode smile

Don't worry about that for now though! But its useful knowledge to acquire down the line.

Here's an explanation with sheet music if you'rer interested: http://www.harpcentre.com.au/news/scarborough-fair-dorian-mode-fifths/

John


Edited by John_In_Montreal (06/30/13 08:54 PM)
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#2110904 - 06/30/13 11:44 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
this is how I play using the master staff


grand staff* smile


edit: Also, go to my thread titled "Music Theory 101" by clicking here and look at the resources listed under the topics "Music Theory Basics" and "Chord Theory" for great, free lessons

http://www.musictheory.net/lessons also has very good (and free) lessons - the relevant categories you should look at there being "Intervals" and "Chords"


Edited by Bobpickle (06/30/13 11:51 PM)

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#2110995 - 07/01/13 05:50 AM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 989
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
Thanks Brian. Well, I went late at night and they were nearly closed. SO I think they were just tired and had no time explaining. I will check out your sight reading course. Would it teach me to read intervalically?
You're welcome. To answer your question, yes and no. I teach intervallic concepts only for smaller intervals to beginners. I personally don't think learning larger intervals is helpful in reading until you really have a good working knowledge of keys and scales.

Like Ron and others have mentioned, be sure to study from the beginning. If you don't understand the basics, learning the more complex stuff will only confuse you. Also make sure you apply whatever theory you learn to the piano and be able to play it. Music theory doesn't just live academically, it has a sound attached to it.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
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#2111208 - 07/01/13 01:38 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: Brian Lucas]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Of Course! I got your sight reading book yesterday and am working through it. Thanks for writing a book dedicated to sight reading. I actually believe in learning the theory wholeheartedly, but these chord symbols always posed a question to me. Do you recommend any specific theory book for a beginner or have you written one yourself?

Warm regards,
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#2111215 - 07/01/13 01:47 PM Re: How do chord symbols relate to the master staff? [Re: pianolover85]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Hi PL,
Not sure if anyone explained this already but you are playing two out of the three notes of the chord in your left hand.

Take the first chord symbol Dm (thats D minor and consist of D F A). According to the music you are playing the D and the A in your left hand.

Sometimes the middle note will be left out of the chords that are lower on the keyboard so they don't sound as muddy. Anyway, just thought I would mention that in case it might help you make sense of things a little.

I bet if you look at the notes in the bass clef that are below the chords symbols you will see they contain the some or all of the notes in that chord. If you don't know what notes are in the chord you can look it up. I think the act of doing that kind of research/study can be helpful.
Also, you might find this website helpful: http://www.musictheory.net/
best of luck - keep up the good work-these kinds of questions are good ones smile
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