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Musicademy Playing by Ear in Worship

Nov 17, 2014




Seminar notes by Musicademy for Breakforth 2013.

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  • 1. Playing By EarWhen you hear a new song do you wish youcould just play the right chords by ear,without the music in front of you?In this session we gothrough a simple threestep formula that willhelp you work out theright chords for anysong in any key.

2. About Musicademy The Musicademy teamDVDsGuitar, Vocals, KeysDrums, Bass, Orchestral Worship Backing band 3. For seminar notes, please add youremail address to the listYoull also get our (rather good)weekly Worship Newsletter+ Free prize draw! 4. Defining a Key Pieces of music are defined according to their key.Hosanna is in the key of G major. Each key is made up of a series of individual notes(referred to as a scale) that all fit with the melody,harmony and chords of the song without jarring on the ear. However, there is one note in each scale which seems to fitthe song more than any other.It is often referred to as the note that sounds like thehome, or most comfortable note that can be played all theway through the song and seems to fit all the time.This note is called the Root note.The root of Hosanna is G. This is why that song is in thekey of G. Hosanna is in G major. Major scales or keys soundhappy and minor scales sound sad. 5. How to find the key ofa song on your guitar Whilst listening to a piece of music play each fret of the first string(high E). Start with the open E note and work your way up evenly toaround fret 13 and then back down again. Dont miss out any frets! Find the note which seems to fit most comfortably over every chordchange and note of the song. That note will be the key the song isin. Sometimes you may find two, or even three notes that work well.These are because you have found some notes that are containedwithin the key. So in the key of G, you may have found the C, the D, and the Gnotes which all fit quite well. However, if you play all those options again over the song then oneof those notes will definitely sound more home than the others.This note is also known as the root note of the key. This is the first stage of being able to work out any chord or part forany song you choose to. This process is known as transcribing. 6. Step 1-The Major Scale The Major Scale is the backbone of music theory.Most other melodic and harmonic information is explained interms of how it relates to the scale. Two distances between notes the tone and the semitone.A jump of a semitone is moving one fret up or down on theguitarA jump of a tone is moving two frets up or down theequivalent of two semitones. A major scale is recognized by the singing of the song Do,Ra Me . Work out how many steps between Do, (sung low) and Do,(sung high) There are always . notes in any major scale. 7. The 3 Major Scale RulesRule 1 There is one of every alphabetical letter between A andG - the musical alphabet.There are never two of the same letter in the samescale. E.g. You wont find Bb and B together in a key.Rule 2 You never miss out any letters. E.g. A scale will never go ABCDEF, missing D.Rule 3 You never mix sharps (#)and flats (b) together in thesame key. Eg. A scale will never go A, Bb, C, D#, E, F#, G 8. Working out notesin the Major Scale Lets not worry about putting in the sharps andflats at this stage, just write out what the correctalphabetical letters are in each of the followingkeys. C F A G B D E 9. Step 2 - TTsTTTs The major scale is built up from a series of tones and semitonesin this order:Root Tone Tone semitone Tone Tone Tone semitoneWhich we will abbreviate to:RTTsTTTs If we start on the note C this would give us this series of notesC DE FGABCR TT sTTTS1 23 45671 10. TTsTTTs With the key of G GA BCDEF# G RT TsTTTS 12 345671 With the key of F FG ABb CDEF RT TsTTTS 12 345671 By following that simple formula of tones and semitones, you will beable to discover the correct notes of any major scale.It doesnt matter which note it starts on. It could be E, Bb, A# etc etc. 11. TTsTTTs When we name notes in the major scale, there arethree familiar rules:Rule 1 You must use every alphabetical letter from A throughto GRule 2 There must be only one of each letter e.g. you canthave Db and D in the same scale it would have to beC# and DRule 3 We never mix sharps and flats in the same scale 12. Step 3Chords within the key Each major scale or key has a series of seven notes that all fittogether melodically over the song. In addition to this, there are alsoseven chords that fit within each major key.The chords themselves are all made up from individual notes takenfrom the relevant major scale. The formula for the chords looks likethis: 1 2 34 56 71(8) Major Minor Minor Major MajorMinor Minor Major ( diminished) If we line up our notes in a major scale as before, the chords we findmay seem quite familiar in certain keys.For example, if you have played a song in the key of G, you mayremember that certain chords crop up regularly. For instance, GMajor, C Major, D Major, E minor. 13. Chords within the key Lets work this formula into the chord table above and line up ournotes from the key of G major.12 345 671(8)G ABCD E F#G Major Minor MinorMajor Major Minor MinorMajor( diminished) As you can see, the chords of G major, C major, D major and Eminor fit right into our table of chords in the key. These being thenumbers of 1, 4, 5 and 6. You may also have played the chords of Aminor and B minor in songs within the key of G. This pattern of chords works with every major scale. 14. Major Scale Chart 1 234 5 6 7Key Major Minor Minor Major Major Minor Minor (1/2 diminished) C C D EFG AB D D E F# G E E F# A F C GB A B E 15. For Further Information Sign up there area for free resources and toreceive our weekly e-newsletter packed withuseful articles and special offers Sign up on our mailing list at theMusicademy booth to receive these teachingnotes by email + a free prize draw!