• Bach’s Musical Signature - Question: How do I calculate Bach’s musical signature? Figure 27: Saloni Shah, An Exploration of the Relationship between Mathematics and Music, Manchester Institute for Mathematical Sciences School of Mathematics, The University of Manchester, May 2010, p. 70 Alfi M. Albert’s
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  • Atonal Dictation - Question: An atonal dictation question is part of the exam I’m preparing for. Do you have any advice on how to prepare for it? I really don’t know how I’m supposed to write down an almost random series of notes…
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  • Yamaha Digital Piano: A Pianist’s Review of the AvantGrand - I recently had an opportunity to play the AvantGrand, the new Yamaha digital piano that represents the current state of the art, and wanted to share my...
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  • Who Invented the Piano? - It was a harpsichord maker named Bartolomeo Cristofori who invented the piano in 1700. Cristofori (pronounced kris-TOFF-or-ee) (1655-1731) was from Padua, in...
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  • What Are the Notes on a Piano? - Question: I was wondering, what are the notes on a piano? Albert's reply: I assume you're talking about the names of the keys... but they don't really have...
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  • Upright Piano Value - Question: I have a Concord upright cabinet grand piano, serial #22580. I want to sell it but am not sure what to charge. I've been researching for a while but...
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  • Una Corda Pedal - Question: What does U.C. mean? Albert's reply: U.C. stands for una corda and it refers to a piano's leftmost of the three piano pedals. It is also called the...
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  • Types of Pianos - Question: Who invented the piano? When, and what types of pianos are there? Albert's reply: The piano was invented by an Italian harpsichord maker named...
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  • The Piano - The piano is an unmusical instrument, the least musical of all instruments. It is by nature impersonal, a purely mechanical device. Its hammers are totally...
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  • Roland Digital Piano - Although as a classical pianist I play an acoustic piano, there are people and situations for whom a digital piano is a practical solution, and I get asked for...
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  • Steinway vs. Boston Pianos - Question: Hi Albert, Thanks for this great site! My question is, I have a Yamaha upright that's about 20 years old and I'm thinking about buying a new piano. I...
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  • Piano Values - What factors determine piano values, and how much is your piano worth? While a piano, like anything else, is ultimately worth whatever a seller can get for it,...
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  • Piano Range - Question: What is the full scale of the keyboard/piano, and what is the first note on the keyboard? Albert's reply: The first key on the standard, 88-key piano...
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  • Piano Pedals - What are all those piano pedals for, and how did they get there? This article explores the pedals and their history. The piano pedals have by no means remained...
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  • Piano Pedal: A Blessing in Disguise! - My piano's right pedal broke the other day. The piano pedal didn't break off or anything; it just got disconnected. Since it seems all the piano technicians in...
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  • Piano Insurance - Question: Can anyone recommend a source for piano insurance? I've heard of Heritage, etc., and the closest source I've found was pianoinsurance101.com and...
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  • Piano Humidifier: What All Piano Owners Need to Know - One of the most important factors influencing piano tuning stability is humidity. A piano humidifier is therefore an essential investment for all piano owners.
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  • Piano Appraisal - The purpose of piano appraisal is to determine a fair price for a piano. Fair market value should not be confused with a piano's worth as a musical instrument,...
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  • Light vs. Heavy Actions - Question: Hi Albert, I have three pianos: two digital Rolands and a Steinway upright. All three have a very light touch. The problem is that after learning a...
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  • Layout of Piano Keys - A piano keyboard may look confusing at first, but the layout of piano keys is actually very simple. While it would be nearly impossible to identify individual...
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  • Keyboard vs. Piano - Question: Finances keep me from getting a piano. Can a keyboard help while one is getting started? Albert's reply: Keyboards can certainly be fine for the very...
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  • Harmony Museum Historic Piano - Question: We have a piano dating probably from early 19th century (could be earlier) bearing the name F. Domeyer & Osterhold, Hamburg. We have no...
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  • Famous Piano Players - History is full of famous piano players in all musical genres. Since key-notes is dedicated primarily to classical music, this article focuses on the most...
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  • Digital Piano Review - key-notes is pleased to present its digital piano review section, which aims to help its readers understand the benefits and drawbacks of digital and acoustic...
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  • Blue Book of Pianos - Many people looking to buy or sell a seek to appraise its value by means of a so-called 'blue book' of pianos. A blue book of pianos is a compilation of prices...
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  • Baldwin Piano Age - Question: What year is my Baldwin piano from? The serial number is 1518109. Thank you. Albert's reply: This Baldwin appears to be an Acrosonic from 1993,...
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  • Antique Piano Values - As discussed in the article Piano Values, a piano's musical value may well differ from its market value. This is particularly the case when determining antique...
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  • Antique Piano Value - Question: I have a piano for sale that's very rare and I do have some information about it already: The reason I'm inquiring is that I think it's worth more...
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  • Antique Piano Bench - For many, an antique piano bench can be a prized possession. From their elegantly carved, exotic woods to their varicolored fabrics, they can be a sight to...
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  • Antique Piano Appraisal - As emphasized in the articles Piano Values and Antique Piano Values, a piano's fair market value may not reflect its true quality as a musical instrument, and...
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  • Urtext Editions - Question: In your opinion, which are the best urtext editions with regards to fingering, paper quality, critical commentary, etc.? Thank you,
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  • The Entertainer Sheet Music - key-notes is pleased to offer The Entertainer sheet music for free download! Composed in 1902 by ragtime pioneer Scott Joplin, The Entertainer is among the...
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  • Out-of-Print Sheet Music - I'd like to share with key-notes readers the best imaginable resource for out-of-print sheet music ever. Its mouthful of a name, the International Music Score...
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  • Mozart Piano Concerto K. 175 Cadenzas - Question: Albert, Do you know where I might find a written out cadenza for W.A. Mozart's Concerto No. 5 in D Major, K. 175? I'm aware that Mozart wrote one out...
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  • Mozart: A Little Night Music - The opening of Mozart's 'A Little Night Music,' K. 525 is among the most famous melodies in all of music. It may even be Mozart's most famous piece. Titled...
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  • Moonlight Sonata Simplified - Question: Can I get easier sheet music for the Moonlight Sonata first movement? Albert's reply: The first movement of the Moonlight Sonata is really already as...
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  • Moonlight Sonata Sheet Music - key-notes is pleased to present a beautiful new edition of Beethoven's 'Moonlight' Sonata! The first movement, available for free download, was edited by...
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  • Kindle Sheet Music - As a member of the very first generation to grow up with personal computers, the prospect of digital sheet music has more than piqued my interest. I recently...
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  • Happy Birthday Sheet Music - By very popular request, key-notes is happy to offer the Happy Birthday sheet music for free download! This no-frills arrangement is easily accessible and...
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  • Für Elise Sheet Music - By popular demand, key-notes is offering the Für Elise sheet music for free download! This special, professionally typeset edition has been prepared just for...
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  • Free Popular Piano Sheet Music - Many hobby pianists are looking for free popular piano sheet music online, and I wanted to explore the issue with key-notes readers.
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  • Writing in Fingerings - Question: I am returning to playing the piano after 20 years. I took lessons from the age of 8 until I was 17. My problems are fingering, sight reading and...
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  • Free Piano Chords - In response to popular demand, key-notes is happy to add Free Piano Chords to its growing list of free resources. (It should go without saying that these and...
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  • Deck the Halls Sheet Music - Question: How do we know which chords to use in Deck the Halls in key of C? Albert's reply: I've created a simple arrangement and have made the 'Deck the...
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  • Christmas Piano Music - This holiday, I endeavored to compile a list of Christmas piano music by the great composers. The task turned out to be much more difficult than I had...
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  • Beyond Urtext Editions - Question: Hello Albert, I read with great interest your articles about Urtext Editions and Music Notation. I've been playing the piano for most of my life and...
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  • Bach Prelude in C - One of the most popular pieces among piano lovers, Bach's Prelude in C major (BWV 846) is also a prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier as a whole. It started...
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  • Whole Note - A whole note (also called a semibreve in British English) is the longest note typically found in music notation. It is notated with only an open note head...
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  • What Is Music Notation? - 'Music notation' is a contradiction in terms. Music is heard, while notation is seen. Notating music is thus a translation from one sensory modality to another.
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  • Treble Clef - This video is an excerpt from my course, How to Read Sheet Music. This symbol is called a G clef:
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  • Training the Eyes - Question: I have a few students who have great difficulty reading the notes on the staff. It has been brought to my attention that it may be due to a tracking...
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  • Time Signatures - A fundamental component of music rhythm, time signatures display the meter of a piece or section of music. A time signature is composed of a top number and a...
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  • Synchronizing the Hands - Question: Is there any 'rule of thumb' regarding playing notes in both clefs, at the same time? In other words, do the stems need to line up or do the notes...
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  • Solfège Note Names - Question: Hello, I am a beginner at playing the keyboard and I have just been learning to read notes. My teacher has given me notes to practice - like quarter...
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  • Simple Meter - 'Dictionary definitions' of simple meter (also called simple time) tend to be so confusing that they are of very limited use to beginning music students.
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  • Sight Reading Methods - Question: What do you think is the best method for training students for sight reading? Somebody said that one of the methods is practicing sight reading... do...
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  • Sight Reading and Training the Eye - Question: I have a question about sight reading and how it relates to piano theory. I can sight read a normal piece pretty well, but only at a slow tempo.
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  • Sight Reading and Timing - Question: Hello, I have been playing with the piano now for four years. The first two years I have been teaching myself while my daughter was taking lessons....
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  • Reading Sheet Music - In my experience, reading sheet music is usually the greatest challenge for most piano students. The difficulties can be mitigated some by understanding that...
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  • Sharp and Flat Together - Question: How do you play a note with both sharp and flat symbols in front of it? Albert's reply: There shouldn't be a note with both sharp and flat signs...
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  • Reading Piano Notes - Question: I just had my piano lesson yesterday and my teacher asked me to play this song and I did, and he realised that I was reading the numbers above the...
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  • Reading Piano Music - For most piano students, reading piano music is one of the biggest hurdles in learning to play the piano. I've therefore assembled a series of practical,...
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  • Reading Notes: Which Note Is Which? - Question: My main problem is identifying and remembering which note is which. Is there any special way I could train my mind and brain to recognize the notes...
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  • Reading Multiple Voices - Question: Does your course also cover how to properly read and practice the multiple voices found in almost every piano/vocal/chord sheet music I see? I have...
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  • Reading Ledger Lines - Question: I am having so much trouble reading the part where Schubert departs from the lovely, melodic scenario at the beginning and begins this dark left-hand...
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  • Reading Intervals vs. Notes - Question: My daughter is currently learning (almost a year now) and I am learning with her. My challenge is music notes. When I play, I am kind of simply...
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  • Quarter Note - A quarter note (also called a crotchet in British English) is a note in traditional Western music notation that is notated with a solid note head and a stem.
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  • Playing by Ear and Sight Reading - Question: When I was 8, in 1974, my mother sent my to the Cleveland Music School Settlement, in hopes I would learn to read notes to play the piano. I never...
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  • Piano Tablature - Piano tablature (or 'piano tab' for short) is an abbreviated method of music notation. While used for modern pop music, the idea is nothing new: interestingly,...
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  • Piano Note and Length of Stem - Question: Mr. Frantz, I'm so glad I found your website. It is very professional and beautiful—obviously a lot of work and thought went into it. The...
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  • Ledger Lines - Question: I know the notes are E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, but how do I tell what the note is when it goes over or under the lines? Albert's reply: You're...
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  • Learn to Sight Read Music - Question: I learned piano through the Suzuki method, and when it came to piano theory, I was aurally-dominant enough to fake it, too lazy to want to learn, and...
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  • Learn Music Notes - This lesson will allow you to learn music notes by introducing you to music notation. In it, I summarize the essentials of the system of notes and how you can...
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  • How to Write Music Notation - Question: How do you write music notation of songs or hymns? How do you concentrate on musical beats? Albert's reply: If you're new to writing music, you...
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  • How to See the Music - Question: Hi Mr. Frantz, I thoroughly enjoy reading your website. I have played single-clef instruments most of my life with very little formal piano training....
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  • How to Read Piano Tabs - Want to learn how to read piano tabs? Then look no further! Piano tablature notation is designed for simple music, and it's easy to learn.
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  • How to Read Piano Notes - Learning to read piano notes need not be drudgery! This article will introduce you to the basics of piano music notation. The first thing you'll notice when...
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  • How to Find the Melody - Question: I was wondering if there is a trick to figuring out the melody line on a score. Is it always the top notes? What happens when it goes to the left...
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  • Half Note - A half note (also called a minim in British English) is a note in traditional Western music notation that is notated with an open note head and a stem.
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  • Grand Staff - The grand staff (also called 'great stave' in British English) is a pair of clefs connected by a brace and used in particular for keyboard music:
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  • Finger Numbers - Question: I can read notes but I don't know which finger I'm going to use with that note. I just wish to have sheet music with finger number on every note or...
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  • Finding the Notes on the Keyboard - Question: How does one really remember to look at the key note on paper and find where it is on the piano? I want to be able to see the note and play it on the...
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  • Double Flats - Question: I am learning the Schubert Impromptu Op. 90, No. 3. Everything was going great until page 5. That's when the double flats came into play. I need help...
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  • Compound Meter - One of the more confusing aspects of learning to read music for many music students is compound meter. Also called compound time, I've seen virtually all music...
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  • Changing Fingerings - Question: When sight reading new music by professional piano players, are the fingering positions subject to interpretation or are the fingerings 'set in...
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  • Bottom Number of Time Signature - Question: What does the bottom number of the time signature tell you about? Albert's reply: In simple meter, the top number of a time signature tells us the...
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  • Beethoven’s Fifth - Question: I really hate to bother you with something so trivial, but I am trying to play a game and I'm stuck since I don't know anything about music. I need...
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  • Bass Clef - This video is an excerpt from my course, How to Read Sheet Music. Let's take a look at the F clef. Here is the symbol:
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  • Which Chords Do You Really Need to Know? - Question: Hi Albert, What are the chords that I really, really need to know as an intermediate piano player? Here's my guess: Major, minor, diminished,...
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  • What Is Music Theory? - Question: I had been formally trained in piano quite a long ago for a short duration of time. I have not been so much in touch with it since then, but I have...
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  • Transposing to C Major - Question: How can I transpose a hymn in any key into the key of C? My friend plays the organ by ear and can only play in the key of C, so I need to know how to...
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  • Transposing Scales - Question: I was wondering how to transpose C major into the key of F major, on scales. Albert's reply: Scales are the way to transpose! You have to make sure...
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  • Transposing Music - Question: Hello Albert. Thanks a lot for putting together this helpful website. My question regards transposing music. Would you say it is best to memorize a...
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  • Tonic in Music - Question: What's a tonic? Albert's reply: The tonic is the first note of any scale. If the key is C major, then C is the tonic. If you're in A-flat major, then...
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  • The Major Scale - Question: These are the questions that my music teacher asked me and I didn't quite know what he was trying to tell me. Here are the questions:
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  • Sonatas and Sonata Form - Question: I am confused about sonatas. I've read that sonata is a single-movement piece, but others say that it has several movements... or was it only a...
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  • Sonata Form - From the Italian sonare meaning simply 'to sound,' the sonata has undergone enough changes throughout music history to fill several encyclopedic volumes, as...
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  • Sonata Form and Symphonic Form - Question: Some time ago, I read your interesting article about 'Sonata Form' simplified. What's the relationship between sonata and symphony, both regarding...
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  • Sharps and Flats - Question: How do you know if a note is a sharp? When the sharp sign (#) is next to the G clef and F clef, how do I know what notes in the music piece are...
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  • Playing in Different Keys - Question: Hi, I am wondering how to get better at playing pieces in different keys. Different keys have different chords, which have different fingerings. For...
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