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Metric Accents theory

Question: Hi, I just wanted to ask some short questions:

  1. Explain the following time signatures and tell where the accents fall in each: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4.

  2. What are accents and what effect do they have?

– Courtney

Albert’s reply: Courtney, these are really one and the same...

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Memorizing the Keys in Sheet Music theory

Question: I’ve often read that to play the piano properly, you must be proficient in key identification (knowing what the key is, based on the number of sharps or flats it has). As long as I play the music as written, why is it necessary for me to know what key it’s in? I’ve...

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Major Scales for Piano theory

Here are all the major scales for piano, with all proper fingerings, for free download! Simply right-click the download icons or links and select “Save” to download the major piano scales worksheet.

Major Scales for Piano

Most piano students struggle with learning their scales, but...

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Learning Music Theory in Lessons theory

Question: I am 67 years old and returned to piano less than a year ago. My teacher is a world class pianist who doesn’t have much time for me. But then too I don’t feel I need lessons every week as I practice 2–4 hours every day on the Bach invention and Beethoven sonata she...

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Key vs Scale Intervals theory

Which to Learn?

Question: I was about to memorize the number and types of intervals in the scales.

Then I noticed this distinction between keys and scales.

Any key (major or minor) comprises just 7 notes.

But a scale comprises 8 notes – we repeat the tonic note to make up an octave when...

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How to Tell the Key of a Song theory

Question: Hello Albert,

Many years ago, I was taught that by looking at the last note or notes of a piece of music, one could tell what key it is in, that is of course if one does not understand the key signature in the beginning of the piece of music.

That being said, I am practicing a piece of...

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How to Harmonize a Melody theory

Question: Hey Albert, I am glad to hear of your success at the TED convention.

My two-part question is one that may sound odd but “How can I be sure what chords to play on the melody note in a song?” and “Is it scientific or just creative?”

I hope you understand my...

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How Much Music Theory? theory

Question: How much theory is important when learning to play the piano? What’s most important to know?

– Barb (Wisconsin, USA)

Albert’s reply: This is a critical question for all music students. First, it’s important to understand the nature of music theory. In the...

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Double Expositions theory

Question: Hello Albert, My question today is:

Where did the idea of double expositions in piano concertos come from and how did it affect later compositions?

– Achilles (Malta)

Albert’s reply: As explained in Sonata Form Simplified, the first section of a movement in sonata form in...

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Bottom Keys of the Piano theory

Question: What are the bottom notes of the piano?

– Adrianna (Texas, USA)

Albert’s reply: Assuming you’re using a standard full-sized, 88-key piano, the bottom key plays A.

Always remember that the keys are not the notes. Since each of the piano’s keys has to be tuned to...

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Yamaha Digital Piano 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 experiences with it with key-notes readers.

First, as a classical pianist I must caution that no...

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Who Invented the Piano? 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 the Republic of Venice in northern Italy. He primarily built harpsichords and experimented with new designs, as became customary for...

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