Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

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The C Augmented Piano Chord

 

 

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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

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THE C AUGMENTED PIANO CHORD

There are only four basic types of three note chords: major, minor, augmented, and diminished. All other piano chords are based upon these four.

I like to explain and show to kids that the basic flavors of music are those of the chords:

Major = happy

Minor = sad

Augmented = mysterious and unstable

Diminished = danger

The augmented chord began not as a chord, but a melodic movement that involved the highest member of the chord moving up a single half step, almost always moving to the next higher half step.

It can only have been later in musical history that this melodic movement became codified into a chord, largely because of increasingly frequent use in the expanding harmonic vocabulary of the nineteenth century.

Take any major chord, and move the top key up a half step. That's all there is to the augmented chord.

Children readily grasp this.

In fact, one can describe all four types of chords as mutations of the major chord:

Minor = a major chord with the middle note moved down a half step

Augmented = a major chord with the top note moved up a half step

Diminished = a major chord with the top two notes moved down a half step

The augmented chord is often used in old or comic films for the wavy dissolve to a flash back or dream sequence. The chord denotes mystery, change and instability.

It's a major milestone in a child's ear training when they can distinguish between the augmented (mystery) and diminished (danger.)

The younger the child, the harder it is for them to distinguish the emotional qualities of piano chords. They often mistake dark chords (augmented, diminished) for sad chords.

Click here to play the C diminished chord.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2011 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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