Real Piano Players here?

thanks mate :slight_smile: i should’ve mentioned that i played those with breaks in between; being separate progressions so to say. so they are actually not meant as a whole progression - i switched the notes on all of them. last one only uses the white keys while the two before that have the black keys in as well. what i mean is: in the first section for example - i have the feeling that the last chord i play (which is going up) should go down. i dont know why, you know, but something in my head says: this last chord in the first progression is wrong. but the moment while i play i have no clue. its like: i need to hear it first until i notice that it doesnt fit :slight_smile: i cant tell in advance by the notes how it will or might sound. and this happens all the time :smiley: seems like lots of training necessary …

@Callofthevoid: thanks for that chart. but the problem with charts always is: i cannot find the keys fast enough when looking at such charts :smiley: but i should take them for practice - i do already see some notes in there that i also played.

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Yeh maybe do stuff like choose 4 random chords from the chart, have a metronome playing at a rate that challenges you a little bit and just play the 4 chords in sequence over for a while til you’re on the beat for a few passes. Then choose another 4 and so on…

Sounds tedious but it’ll get your hands used to changing shape and hitting the right keys etc… Sadly there’s no real workaround for getting better at playing an instrument other than persistence :confused: Otherwise I’d go grab a drumkit, cello, violin and flute tomoro :wink: Frustratingly time-consuming to learn an instrument, you kind of have to naturally really want to do it and put hours in without really being aware of it. Or have insistent parents when you’re a kid :wink:

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Honestly I can’t remember exactly the terms of our discuss, I think I listen a song from you on youtube and you label it dub techno and I said for me it wasn’t that much… so then you label it minimal ? dark techno ? kind of joke with the music genre… then I think : who am I to tell him that, I do not know him anyway (and you have kind of same background and age etc…)… plus I really like what you do with your tutorial series etc…

oh and the mention of robin’s kind of chord progression was me on another tune from you on youtube…

After that I said oh man two times, he would think I’m a haters which I’m not, clearly the opposite… I hope so :joy: and I stoped to react publicly :stuck_out_tongue: but I will if I want but here and P.M. you I think for now on

Yes I agree I prefer to write my melody or bass line (FIRST and keep it simple)… and then with music harmony formula build my chord progression on top of it. Then I’m looking to inversion. Then I’m looking for variation (time to change and find some cool harmony mode switching), and then maybe I enriched my chords with some exotic notes …

Scale Formulas (root, whole step, half step)
Major Scale: R, W, W, H, W, W, W, H
Natural Minor Scale: R, W, H, W, W, H, W, W
Harmonic Minor Scale: R, W, H, W, W, H, 1 1/2, H (notice the step and a half)
Melodic Minor Scale: going up is: R, W, H, W, W, W, W, H
going down is: R, W, W, H, W, W, H, W
Dorian Mode is: R, W, H, W, W, W, H, W
Mixolydian Mode is: R, W, W, H, W, W, H, W
Ahava Raba Mode is: R, H, 1 1/2, H, W, H, W, W
A minor pentatonic blues scale (no sharped 5) is: R, 1 1/2, W, W, 1 1/2, W

Anyway plenty of formula on internet very easy to get

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Those chords are fine, your thinking too much, there’s no rules…
When I first started playin guitar I had a teacher. He taught me the basic chords and notes and would show me how to play my favorite Led Zeppelin riffs and stuff. We got into basic theory of scales and modes and shortly after he left town. I continued my learning of guitar without him. I realized that with just very basic theory he had thought me in a few months, I could extrapolate more things from the info he gave me. I’m glad it went this way instead of me learning fully traditionally, because with just enough theory, I can recognize keys and scales and such, but I’m not locked in to any traditional forms of approaching music, which can happen to folks who are trained for years.
Nothing in music is ever wrong if you meant to play it like that:
When I play keyboard I have to use this “guitar to keys” converter in my brain, which works but requires an extra step of thinking between what I hear in my head and playing it. Over the years, I’m slowly picking up the scales and such on the keyboard and my “converter” doesn’t have to be used as much…
I think you may enjoy looping…


Ah … I see your point … I didn’t see it from the angle of a composer. AFAIK there is a couple of celebrated jazz legends, who didn’t read notes. They did it with their soul and ears, which might be the best way to make music anyway :wink:

You are right, if there is no knowledge of scales, harmonic transitions, note reading, rhythm reading, arrangement etc. it might be hard to put a piece of music together. I believe that this knowledge can be learned autodidactically. One has only to see that there he is something missing, start search, seek advice, and invest quite some time to get there. Every education takes time … but with a “teacher” at the beginning, the first steps will be well guided and much more easy :wink:

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TBH … there is nothing wrong for me listening to your track. Yes the mood is changing, first there is a melancholy in it, later it lightens up a bit and get’s more positive … I assume you didn’t intend it this way … but it’s okay … you could use such transitions to underline a scene in a movie … really, not joking … take more a soft and string like sound or a glass-harp like sound, feed it through a decent reverb … and there you go … :smiley:

BTW … you can get to this “place”, really, it’s practicing, practicing, practicing … it’s the only way I know of, it’s not quick, because we learn a body-language doing this and the body asks for much time and patience. Once the muscle-memory has been built up, it’s for a lifetime. BUT most important … practice as slow as needed to do it always right, because if the muscles learn it right, the memory will be right, but if the muscles learn something wrong it will be hard to get rid of it later. that’s where a teacher is invaluable. Speed develops automatically after some time :wink:

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I would suggest to get some litrature, which is explaining what works for what reason and provides some examples to start with for practicing.

It might not be your kind of genre, but here is a book, which may shed some light on harmonic transitions:

“Chord Progressions for Songwriters” by Richard Scott.

It’s like the deconstruction of most successful produced western music. Just taking one of the progressions and practice it on an instrument can give, after a while, a deep understanding, how it works and how to generate moods, built tension, and resolve tension. I am sure that you can find similar material all over the net for free too.


My first music lessons were on the piano. I don’t always write music on the piano/keyboard though. I like creating stuff on sequencers because I get different results than if I’d written everything on traditional instruments.

I wrote this song on an app for Nintendo 3DS called M01D:

I used an app called ProChords to suggest a possible passing chord or two to insert between the chords I knew I wanted to use for this song. The end section starts at 2:30. I then inserted the passing chords and substituting the, well, substitute chords, starting around 3:00.

I did study some jazz and stuff before creating that track.

very nice too :wink: Full BOOK and all posters to put on the studio wall :stuck_out_tongue:

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thanks for your replies guys. nice to hear that a lot of you have some background to that. I read from those formulas you mentioned @William_WiLD. Tried it out and it works :slight_smile: But my brain cant hold this and while jamming you simply dont have time to remember. I simply have to practice i guess :slight_smile: Interesting to hear that YOU are actually William Bonnel :smiley: Yeah, i remember that little chat on my very old Track (my first one on the Rytm btw :slight_smile: And i remember the conversation from back then here at Nauts. You were right. I was refering to Vosne as his tracks moved into a similar direction but the sounds he used fitted much better in that respect. i then compared my track to Dub Tech Tracks in general and noticed that i was moving in a different direction, thats true. Opinions are always good - especially if you digged into a Style of music youre not familiar with.

Generally speaking i think i will do it like @SoundRider says. Because i feel the same. The stuff must come from the heart, it has to be expressive in its own sense. And i think that my ears can judge this very well. I have no background to chords, keys, scales progressions. I started by tapping around on the notes and after a while i noticed that some Notes played together - or in order - sound just; right somehow. you know. and that it also matters from which key you start. everything then offers different directions into which you can go and notes that sounded odd before do fit when you start in different corners of the octave :smiley: i do this freestyle play occassionally for several years already and the chords i played in the example above only come from that experience. nothing more. So i think i will continue to jam, jam, jam and try to remember some progressions while im doing it. Im not a fan of reading stuff. I tried that a long time ago and it didnt help. Because almost everything you find starts simple and then becomes very detailled or complicated with terms i dont even know what they mean :smiley: Nah, thats far away from being intuitive. A teacher would be great but i dont have the money for that. So i must let my ears decide and practice, practice, practice. Now that i got those Pickup Machines working in my favor i already had a lot of fun the last couple of hours with that (thx @Open_Mike for pointing this out in the other thread :wink: ). Seems to be the right approach because i can start simple and add to that with the overdubs. Totally nice :slight_smile:

Cheers and thank you all for your opinions on that.


Yes you can stick with intervals and make your own things and discover…

one word: Drop 2 voicings.

take the 2nd note from the top (hence the Drop 2 reference for this style of chord construction) and put it in the bass.

then do that for three inversions of the chord.

check out the magic of Keith Jarrett’s voicings in this tut by Kent:

essential elements of Drop2 voicing:


Please don’t take my suggestions for advice to use heart and ears only … this would be a misunderstanding and the hardest way to proceed. At the end of the day your heart will shape the uniqueness of your music and your ears will tell you, whether it sounds right or not. But I would recommend an advice, which I read in a book, when I autodidactely learned to play the saxophone … it was advice I had never heard before, because it was not part of becoming a classical musician. This advice divided practicing time like this, take one hour and give one third to theory, warming up, practicing of scales and various techniques, then give a third to music, which you are about to engrave and have to become fluently with, but at the end devote one third to making music just for it’s own sake, jam, let it flow and do it only to have fun, because this is, why we do it in the first place … :wink:

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Yes … Keith Jarrett is an exceptional artist, who creates music on the fly out of his heart and live. I have several albums and love his music. This indeed is the fine art of letting music flow from soul to keys and from keys to the audience :slight_smile:

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also Bodzin rocks the house live

I really like his sessions and his choice of hardware - I’m sure he will have a lot to contribute to this forum.

@umonox like a few of the guys here I started taking piano lessons when I was a kid and then lost interest unfortunately and have since forgotten how to read music. :slight_smile:

But it doesnt matter! using hardware sequencers (and now some modular gear) has really opened my eyes to new styles and combinations I wouldn’t dream of had I just just worked on a keyboard in the traditional sense.

Nothing wrong with your chord progressions either.
I’ve started taking guitar lessons as I’m trying to learn how to play some improvisational lead and revisiting some basic theory I was reminded how many “famous” songs share the same basic chord progressions. E.g. G,C,D,C (La Bamba, Wild Thing, etc etc)

In a nutshell, just enjoy using whatever method makes you happy and if you want to learn the nitty gritty, useful diagrams like the ones from @William_WiLD and @Callofthevoid exist everywhere and are great for practice.

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As nobody’s mentioned it yet, learning the cycle of fifths is a really important foundation imo. (For learning chords) Cycling through major and relative minor chords and scales in order of the cycle of fifths is much easier than looking at a big chart of chords in alphabetical order. It’s hard for me right now to describe in writing ‘why’ this is, so here’s a link to the tutorials I learn this from. From what I understand (feel free to correct me) the piano itself is designed around the harmonic series, so the cycle of fifths relates to how the keys are structured on the keyboard.

Whenever I want to learn or practice a certain chord extension (weird inversions etc)I work through the whole cycle of fifths with that chord shape until I can play all the way through without mistakes, then move on to another one. What I’ve found is during improvisation I’m starting to be able to jump to chords I want intuitively, and can create tension or release based on how close the chords are to each other in the cycle of fifths. Starting to apply the method to scales, broken chords and even motifs that I like!


I would say … it’s independant from any instrument and … after all … a keyboard is only one of many possible “user-interfaces”.

Basically the circle of fifths is a (geometrical) relationship between notes and chords in our western chromatic scale of 12 notes. Here is a nice little overview in the wikipedia :wink:

There is an interesting parallel to Euclidian-Rhythms … well, may be a bit fetched from the far end of the world … and hoping this is not nonsense … but if we draw triangles or geometrical figures inside the circle of fifth, we connect harmonies and receive certain often used cadences, if we do this on the circlular representation of note-lenghts or beats we receive by using Euclidian division the various rhythms of the world :wink:


“… so the cycle of fifths relates to how the keys are structured on the keyboard. …”

Sorry I could’ve worded that better; the layout of the keyboard was designed with that geometry in mind, and is the reason the black keys and white keys in their place (it’s not arbitrary). I’d be really interested to see how other instrument design is structured around these concepts!