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Major and Minor Keys

Question: This may be very basic, but could give me a broad overview of major and minor keys and scales?

My real question is, for every major there is a minor in the same exact key, so...

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Melody Writing

Question: What is the definition of the following?

  1. Tendency tone
  2. Stable tone
  3. Active tone

– Timothy (Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria)

Albert’s reply: These are harmonic terms having...

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Memorizing the Keys

Question: Hi Albert,

I’m finding it nearly impossible to memorize the keys. (Which key has 5 sharps, which key has 4 flats, etc.) It may not help that I’m 74 years old, but I would...

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Minor Chords in the Major Scale

Question: Hey, good day to you. I’m a bit confused when it comes to chords/chord progressions. The thing is if I’m in a scale, let’s say G major, I would play the chords (triads)...

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Music Theory Intervals

Question: I have a question about intervals. My assignment is to write the full name of each interval:

  • D to C-sharp?
  • F to E-flat?
  • B to G-sharp?

I’m very confused. Can you help me?

–...

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Piano Key Chart

If you’re just learning to find notes on the piano keyboard, this basic piano key chart is designed for you. The chart includes naturals (C, D, E, F, G, A, B), flats and sharps. (Double...

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Piano Notes Chart

This simple piano notes chart is designed to help beginners find their way around the piano keyboard. If you’re just getting familiar with the piano keyboard, all you need to do is recognize...

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Piano Theory

A piano is indispensible for learning music theory. Piano theory implies the use of the instrument, which in turn implies sound, which of course is what music is all about. However, many music...

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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 played as sharps?

Albert’s reply:...

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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:

  • Of what is the major scale composed?
  • What...
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Accuracy on Black Keys

Question: As an adult (aged 54) student of the piano, I have encountered lots of difficulty achieving stability (and/or a firm grip) on black keys and have often wondered whether this is connected...

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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 stone”?

– Don...

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Chopin Etude Op. 10, No. 4

Question: Hi, I would like to have some explanation about the third measure of the Chopin Etude, Op. 10, No. 4. I already play it up to tempo, but only on this passage am I having some problems....

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Chromatic Minor Thirds

Question: I am in urgent need of the finger settings for the following scale: A-sharp chromatic major – double note thirds for both hands. Can you please help me?

– Heleen

...

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Chromatic Sixths Fingering

Question: Hello Albert,

It’s good of you to help me, thanks. Like you, I am an extremely “late starter” but I feel this is my time now to achieve my dreams. I only did 3 years of...

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Dynamic Balance and Voicing

Question: What’s the best way of practicing to make the left hand give a lower sound than your right hand? And to make a lower sound in one finger of another in the same hand?

– Ali...

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Fast Octaves

Question: I have problems with playing the fast octaves at the end of the third movement of Schubert’s Sonata in A minor D. 784 (Op. 143).

Do you have any advice on how to practice the...

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Fingering Myths or Facts?

Question: My question is, how important is “correct” fingering when playing?

I recently downloaded (THANK YOU) your scales reference, which showed all twelve scales. I’m already...

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Legato Octaves

Question: In bars 5–7 of the Capriccio in D minor by Brahms, the right hand is supposed to play legato octaves (the melody) while holding down a middle voice as well. How can you create this...

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Piano Fingering

Piano fingering is one of the most crucial aspects of learning the instrument, yet it is among the most overlooked. Here are seven of the most important rules for fingering, prefaced by an...

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Scales in Thirds and Sixths

Question: Hello Albert,

Thank you for your reply mail regarding “the fingering” for playing descending chromatic minor 6ths. It is most helpful and is going to take me some time to...

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Small Hands

Question: Hi Albert,

I am a retired female who has returned to the piano about three months ago. Haven’t found a teacher yet so don’t have access to answers to some of my difficulties...

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Strengthening the Left Hand

Question: Hello Albert,

Since I started playing the piano, I’ve mostly played Romantic-era music, where the left hand is just accompanying. In January I started with playing scales, 20...

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Thumb Accuracy

Question: Hello Albert, Thank you so much for the lessons.

I am practising the scales as you suggested, e.g., started with B major and want to ask you for a tip as the thumb will...

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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 on identifying those double...

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