Sunday, July 26, 2009

Piano Lead Sheet for Beginners Part 1

Some tips for any of you who wants to learn to play piano using contemporary Lead Sheet-based songs.

Background:
  1. Makeup of a song: Usually there are two parts in a song which are the accompaniment and the melody. Melody is the pitch of the song which you will sing out (Lead) while the accompaniment is music played to accompany the lead. By default, the LH (Left Hand) will be the accompaniment while the RH (Right Hand) will be the lead.
  2. Piano Notes: The alphabets attached to their respective notes on the piano are shown below. Note: Black notes are named by sharps (#) or flats (b). Eg. C# = Db; D# = Eb.Memorize the piano notes.
  3. Key: Each song has a main key and key can generally be divided into major and minor eg. C major, D minor etc. The key will direct the background music to the lead. Choosing of keys is important as it will determine the characteristics of the song. Major key will sound happier while minor key may sound sad though this might not be true all the time. Eg. Eb major - Grandeur; Eb minor - Angry, tragic, passionate; Bb major - Fun, playful; C major - simplicity etc.
  4. Key signature: Each key is defined by its own signature (you have to play certain white and black notes). For eg. C major key has no black keys while G major's key signature is F#. Click here for more info. You'll have to memorize each key signature.
  5. Scale: Each key has its own scale. Eg. C major scale: C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C (No black notes i.e. # or b); G major scale: G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G (You have to play F# to make scale sound like G major. Thus, the key signature is F#)
  6. Chord: Chord usually comprises 3 notes which are the 1st note, 3rd note and 5th note of the scale. C major chord: C,E,G; G major: G,B,D; D major: D,F#,A (D major key signature: F# & C#. D major chord's 3rd note falls into one of the key signature which is F#, so F# needs to be played). You can download some lead sheet songs from the net and you'll see the chords on the top of the music stave (The 5 lines music notations) like C, Dm (D minor), E7 (Will come to that later) while the melody will be written on the stave.
To be continued...

Example of a lead sheet based song. Sung by Michael Jackson (In remembrance of him...love this song).

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