Chapter Six : Major Chords > Easy Piano by Ear

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Chapter Six : Major Chords

There are  3 major chords in every major scale (as we learned in chapter four). These 3 chords are built on 1, 4, and 5 of the scale.  We will work only in the key of C + at this point.

The I chord is built on C (C,E,G)and is called C major. This chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd. and 5th. notes of the scale. Using both hands play in solid and broken form. Find in various locations on the keyboard. (use correct finger numbers 1,3,&5 in the right hand and 5,3,1, in the left hand; refer back to chapter two)

Now is the time to start becoming familiar with the sustaining pedal. If you are on an acoustic piano it is the pedal on the right.

Correct use of the pedal is: the chord ….  while the keys are depressed…press the pedal down.   2. play the next chord…while the keys are being depressed, raise the pedal quickly and quickly depress . (play – pedal up and down); (play – pedal up and down)…This quick action releases the sound of the first chord and holds the sound of the second chord. Executed correctly each chord should be very clear and separate while maintaining a continuous and unbroken flow of sound. Have some fun!!
C major chord

The IV chord shown below is built on F (F,A,C) and is called F major.. This chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd. and 5th. notes of the scale of F major ( which we haven’t covered yet, but doesn’t stop us from learning something about the chord).

F  major chord

The chord built on the V note in the key of C is  G major (G,B,D) shown below.  This chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, notes of the G major scale.
G major chord

I know you are anxious to add some left hand harmonization to the melodies we learned in chapter three.  So let’s go!

The following lyrics have been assigned suggested chords, noted by the”C” & “G” above certain words. These chords are to be played (and held) for the duration of the words and changed as the lyrics move on. The C and G are to be played as major chords.

I am throwing you a wild card here  🙂  I am going to include a minor chord to add to the “Streets of Laredo” to add a little colour  and make it more interesting.     *Dm (D minor) is the minor chord built on II in the scale of C + and is played as D,F,A.  I think you will like it’s effect on the whole piece.

Let’s now add the left hand (harmonizing) chords to “Streets of Laredo” and “Love Me Tender” (need a review ? check back to chapter three)

Streets of Laredo
recorded by Marty Robbins – [3/4 time] Bold print words are beat 1

C                       G                  C              G
As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
C                      G            C                G
As I walked out in Laredo one day
C                          G                   C                               G
I spied a poor cowboy all wrapped in white linen
C                                   * Dm           G                   C
All wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay

C                                 G                    C                    G
Oh beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly
C                            G                       C                G
Sing the death march as you carry me along
C                            G                    C                   G
Take me to the valley then lay the sod o’er me for
C                    *Dm                    G                            C
I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve done wrong


Love Me Tender…(the Am chord in line 5 is made up of A,C,E)
recorded by Elvis Presley
written by Vera Matson and Elvis Presley – (2/4 time)

C                            Dm
Love me tender love me sweet
G                       C
Never let me go
C                                   Dm
You have made my life complete
G                          C
And I love you so

C                           *Am
Love me tender love me true
C            F                   C
All my dreams fulfilled
C                            Dm
For my darling I love you
G                       C
And I always will………..G, G (up one octave)G, E    (Final notes as played on guitar in the original recording)

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