Lesson video

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Hello, my name is Miss Charatan, good to see you.

We're going to start today with a warm-up before our lesson all about which are the most important chords.

So we're going to recap some syncopated rhythms which means off beat rhythms that emphasise the weaker beats.

So let's try.


Now as part of your one, can you come up with your own syncopated rhythm? So when we're thinking about the hands, one and two and three and four and, that would mean making sure you've got a rhythm, one of the notes on an and which kind of makes it a little bit more interesting and very syncopated.

Come up with your own synthetic rhythm now.

You might even want to share it with someone in your family and do the clap thing and when you're ready, let's come to the lesson.

In this lesson you will need the following items for equipment.

Piece of paper, a pencil or a pen, a voice instrument or app.

So if you don't have an instrument at home, use Virtual Piano on your phone or you can find one online.

Pause the video, find these things and come back when you are ready.

Lovely, let's get started.

So in today's lesson, we're going to first start by learning the three primary chords.

We will then learn how to play these chords with syncopated rhythms which is why we did our syncopated warm-up.

You will learn what tones and semitones are, you will then create your own melody using the C major scale and then you will learn how to harmonise your melody using the primary chords.

So we're going to find out why primary chords are really, really useful for harmonising melodies.

Let's start by learning all about the primary chords.

So what is a chord, before we even start learning about primary ones.

What are actual chords? If you said they are two or more notes played at the same, time you were totally correct, well done.

How many notes are in a triad? Two, three or four? Show them on your hands.

Yes, it is three notes in a triad.

So tri, same as a triangle or tricycle, that tells us it's three.

So how do you work out a triad on a keyboard? If you said press one, miss one, press one, you were totally correct, well done.

Let's now work out these triads and you'll play them on a real or virtual keyboard.

So the app I like is Virtual Keyboard.

You can find something very similar on Android or on PC devices.

So to work out triads, we need to press one, miss one, press one, miss one and press one.

So start with F major.

The first note is going to be F because that's the name of our triad.

Then we'll need to miss one, so we miss out G, we play A.

You miss out B, we play C.

And that gives us our F major triad.

You're going to complete the other three on there on your own.

For your stretch, what is the difference in the sound between the three major and the one minor triad? Pause the video, resume when you're ready to check your answers.

So let's check our answers now so G major, G, B, D.

C major is C, E and G and A minor is A, C and E.

So you might have noticed that this minor chord sounds a bit darker, sounds a bit more mysterious than a major chord.

So it sounds darker.

So in order to understand triads and the primary triads, we need to understand the notes of the scale.

So a scale is a set of pitches and these are the degrees of a C major scale.

So degree is when we number each letter.

So the first degree is C and then two is D, three, four, five, six, seven and an eight.

I'm now going to show you on the keyboard how to play the scale with the correct fingers.

You might want to try this on the Virtual Piano app which is a really useful tool, but you're not going to be able to use the same thing as I have.

but you're basically going to do, play the scale all the way from C up to the top C.

You could even try and experiment with different rhythms et cetera.

So I'm now going to show you how to play it with the correct fingers on the keyboard if you have one at home.

So to play the C major scale with perfect fingers, you first need to find C.

So C is to the left of the two black keys, so that's here.

Put your thumb on C and put your other fingers on each of the white notes.

Make sure your hand is nice and curved.

So then you're going to work your way up the scale.

C, D, E.

When we get to F you're going to put your thumb underneath like this.

And then go back down again.

And then now over with your third.

So the most important thing is you go under after E and then you go over when you're coming back down.

We're now going to pause the video to play your C major scale up and down, getting used to it.

This should take you about two minutes and resume once you are finished.

Great, let's now move on to how we can build chords on top of this scale.

So just like I showed you before, you can build a note of a triad on the notes of the scale using a press one, miss one, press one method.

It will be easier to do this on a virtual keyboard or a real keyboard 'cause you can really see the press one, miss one in action.

So what you're going to do now is you're going to build triads on each of the notes on the C major scale.

I'm going to show you how to do this on the keyboard now.

So to build triads, we first need to find the root of the chord and then we count up.

So we play, we miss, we play, we miss, we play and we can do that for all of the chords.

So we could do this method.

So press one, miss one, press one, miss one, press one, but a lovely way to do is actually just to keep the same hand position and just keep it exactly the same and you can play all of the triads.

You are now going to pause the video and play the triads on each note of the C major scale.

Can you work out which ones are more important than others? My clue is to pick three.

Pause the video.

This should take you three minutes and resume when you are finished.

Lovely, so we number chords in the same way as the number of scale, but rather than using numbers, we use Roman numerals so that we know we're talking about chords.

So chord one in C major is C, E and G.

If you're not quite sure how to read Roman numerals, here's a very, very quick guide.

So one, and then two I's is two, three I's is three.

The V means five.

So if you have a one before a V, that means four 'cause it's five take one.

V is five, V and I is six and V and II is seven.

You only need to know up to seven for now, so you don't need to be panicking if you don't know any more than that.

So we've got three chords which are more important than others and these are called primary chords and they're used to harmonise loads and loads of melodies.

So our primary chords are one, chord four and chord five.

So in C major, the primary chords are C, F and G.

These are the most important chords and you might have guessed this when you were playing them 'cause they are also major chords in C major.

You might notice here that we have got this seventh chord.

Don't worry too much about that one, we're not going to be using that very much and it sounds a bit different.

It sounds diminished.

And just remember these are all Roman numerals.

So we can work out the primary chords in the same way on another scale.

So for your stretch, what are the primary chords in G major? Remember they are one, four and five.

Pause the video, take 30 seconds to work them out and resume when you're ready.

So the primary chords in G major would be one, which is G, four which is C and five which is D.

So G, C and D are the primary chords in G major.

So why can primary chords be used to harmonise anything? So I'm saying they're really important 'cause they can harmonise so many melodies and why they actually call primary chords in the first place? Let me tell you why.

So they contain all the degrees of the scale.

So let's look at the scale of C major.

C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

So that means any note of the melody, there's going to be a chord that fits with it.

So let's get, let's just choose a F in the melody.

If we have an F in the melody, we can harness it with the F triad.

If we've got B in the melody, we can harmonise it with a G triad.

So that means no matter where the melody goes, as long as it's in C major, the primary chords can harmonise it.

That is why their primary chords is a bit like primary colours.

They're the most important colours.

Those are the colours that can be mixed to make other colours.

These chords can be used to harmonise any melodies in that key.

So let's now have a look at an example of a melody that can be harmonised with all primary chords.

So you might know the melody ♪ Oh when the saints ♪ ♪ Go marching in ♪ ♪ Oh when the days go marching in.

♪ So I'm going to harmonise that now using only primary chords.

♪ Oh when the saints, C ♪ ♪ Go marching in ♪ ♪ Oh when the saints go marching in ♪ Can you now see how long is each chord? See if we can spot that.

♪ I want a be in that number ♪ ♪ Oh when the saints go marching in.

♪ So you may have noticed that the chords at the very beginning are four beats long.

♪ Oh when the saints ♪ two, three.

♪ Go marching ♪ One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, four.

At the end, it's a little bit faster.

One, two, marching, one, two, three, four.

So saints go marching was slightly quicker.

So what number are these chords? We are in C major so therefore what is cord C in C major? What number is it? If you said one, you are correct.

So we have four lots of chord one.

Each one of those is four beats long.

What is G in C major? You said chord five, you are correct.

We go back to chord one which is C.

What is F in C major? What chord number is it? And what is it in Roman numerals, don't just say four.

Yes it would be IV.

So we would say four, but it was written IV, and then we have one, five and one.

So this is a really typical example of how you can harmonise a melody using your primary chords.

These are all major chords as well so this means that when the saints is a particularly bright song.

So we're now going to look at playing these chords by ourselves.

So you might have a variety of options to do this.

If you have a guitar ukulele, pause the video and go and get that now.

A keyboard is also great.

A Virtual Keyboard is also fine.

So you can find that on an iPhone or an Android phone or even on your computer, you can find some really good virtual pianos there.

So I'm first going to go through with you guitar and ukulele.

I don't have a guitar on me, but I do have a ukulele.

You can see those numbers on the grids and these are the numbers of your fingers that you need to use.

Confusingly they are different numbers the ones we use on the piano.

So finger number one on ukulele is your index finger.

So make sure, when we're playing G major, make sure you are following the right numbers for the right fingers.

So finger number one is on the second string from you, on the second fret.

Finger number two is your middle finger at the bottom and finger number three is here.

And that's your ukulele fingering.

Use these fingerings because it will make it much, much easier to switch between the chords.

The guitar, it's a similar way.

So if you have a guitar, make sure you're reading and doing the fingers really, really carefully.

As for the keyboard, it's more confusing because you want to use fingers one, three and five, but on the keyboard, your finger number one is your thumb.

So you're using your thumb, your middle finger and your little finger to make your chord shape.

On a virtual piano, you can find G, B and D on here.

Oh, why is it not working, G.

Here we go.

Here we go, and then maybe play them.

I tend to use my middle three fingers for this one.

So we've got three chords to learn.

G major, F major and C major.

I'm going to pause after each one so you have time to go away, learn it, play it a few times and then move on.

So pause the video now, play G major.

This should take you about two minutes.

When you're ready, move on and we'll go and look at the next chord together.

Right, so hopefully you can apply G major.

Let's now have a look at C major.

So C major is actually quite easy on the ukulele.

You just need one finger.

So finger number three, show that to me now.

So you should not have shown me your middle finger, you should have shown me your fourth finger, this one, and that needs to go on the bottom string, the third fret like this.

Here we go.

And virtual piano and keyboard, we're also using one, three, five for the real keyboard and probably your middle three fingers for your virtual keyboard.

Pause the video, work out C major now and resume when you're ready.

Great, let's now look at F major.

So on the guitar, F major is challenging.

If you're a more advanced player, this is a bar chord and there's another fingering for it.

So you can use that one if you know it already.

If you don't know it, please use this fingering.

The one means that your first finger goes over both strings.

I'm showing you my ukulele now what it will look like.

So your finger needs to go over both strings, not just the bottom one, and the cross in the very top, do we know what that means? The cross means don't play that string.

So you're not going to play the top string, you need to just strum the other strings.

Ukulele is pretty straightforward and keyboard as well, using that one three and five on the real thing or your middle fingers on the app.

Pause the video now, work out F major, should take you one or two minutes.

Come back when you're ready.

We're now going to pause the video to complete your final task.

So you've learnt the three primary chords.

You're not going to practise them on your instrument.

So practise playing four beats by chord 'cause often that's what they're going to last for when you are playing them in a chord sequence.

So for example four beats would be C for four.

One, two, three, four then G, one, two, three, four.

Then F, one, two, three, four.

So practise shifting between them.

If you're finished and find that really quick, then you can play the bass note in your left hand on the keyboard or you can experiment with strumming on the guitar ukulele.

So if I'm on the ukulele.

For example, if you're finding it's all too easy, then go back and look at Oh When the Saints and sing along and that will be a challenge for you to play it really fluently.

Resume the video when you are ready.

You should spend about 10 minutes on this task.

Great, welcome back.

So let's have a recap, what are the three primary chords? If you said one, four and five, you are correct, well done.

What are the three primary chords in C major then? C, D, E, C, E, G, C, F, G.

So the correct answer is C, F, G.

C, D, E is the first three notes of the C major scale, so that's not correct.

C, E, G is the C major triad.

So that's the actual chord.

C, F, G are the three primary chords of C major and they can be used to harmonise anything.

So we're now going to have a look at some chord progressions and a chord progression is a set of chords, a chord sequence.

So we're going to use all the chords we've learned so far including A minor to play some chord sequences.

So you can see I've got the Roman numerals, I've got the chords in C and I've got a song where they're from, but there's loads and loads of songs that also share these chords.

So the first one, I have my C major chord for each of four beats.

two, three, four.

Then G, two, three.

Then A minor, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

Pause the video, take two minutes to work out the Roman numerals and the chords in C for the other two songs and then resume when you're ready to check your answers.

Okay, so let's now check our answers.

The second one we had A minor, F, C and G and that's the song Poker Face by Lady Gaga.

If you know it, there's many other songs that share it and one, six, four, five is C, A minor, F, G and that's in loads of songs for example Stand by Me.

So we've got these three chord progressions and you're now going to put all the chords you've learned so far into practise.

So you're going to learn the three chord sequences on the previous page.

You're going to play it four beats per chord.

If it's too easy for you, vary the rhythm of the chord.

So if you're playing it on the keyboard, for example.

So I've actually done by mistake but one, two, three.

That could work.

If you're on ukulele or guitar, you can vary your strumming pattern.

If you're on your virtual keyboard, you can also change the rhythm.

Even finding this too easy? Go and find some other chord sequences using the chords that you know already.

Pause the video to complete this task.

This should take you five minutes to learn these three cord sequences, off we go.

Lovely, so we have learned the three primary chords.

That's quite a big part of our lesson and we've done a lot of work there.

We're now going to explore how to play these chords with syncopated rhythms. So can we remember which was the weak part of the beat and which was the strong? So if you're with me last time, we had one on our chest and two, we did in our hands.

So it was kind of like this.

So one and two and three and four and.

Which is strong, is it the number or is it and? If you said it's a number, you were completely correct.

So we've got our four beats and the number was stronger.

Let's clap these rhythms together.

You're going to clap it first and then I'm going to clap it and you're going to check that you've got it right.

So I'm going to count you in, you will clap, I will clap.

That means you can check.

One, one, two, three, four.

Number one, should sound like this.

One, two, three, four.

Number two, two, three, go.

Should sound like this.

One, two, three, four.

Well done if you got both of those correct.

Let's move on two, three, your turn, one.

If you said.

you were correct.

Let's do the second one, two, three and, one.

If you said this, one, two, three, four, you were completely correct, well done.

Now we've got something harder.

So if you don't know what a dot is yet, don't worry.

Have a look about where the notes are in relation to and and the notes.

Have a go at clapping that first one.

We're going to do a bit more slowly.

One and two and three and four and.

One and two and three and four and.

If it was like this, you were correct.

One and two and three and four and one, like that.

I'm going to clap the second one for you and you're going to tell me, what do you think the line underneath those two notes actually means? One and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and.

The line means that the notes are like glued together.

So I don't play both of them.

It's like the second one is stuck to the first.

So rather than going one and two and three, I go one and two and three.

So it's like I don't play that second note even though I hold it on if I was playing or singing it on a wind instrument.

So the difference between the two is that one is syncopated and one is not.

Syncopated means stressing the weaker beats in the music.

So I'm going to play these two rhythms. Which one is syncopated and which one is not syncopated? I'm going to play on a keyboard actually.

One and two and three and four and.

That's the first one.

Second one, one and two and three and four and.

So if you said the second one was syncopated, you were completely right because the note comes in, the note falls on the and and that is the weaker beat, the weaker part of the beat and that emphasises it and that kind of throws us off a little bit.

So that's a syncopated rhythm.

Here are some more syncopated rhythms. So I'm going to clap them and you're going to clap them back after me.

One and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and.

Can you clap that by yourself? Make sure you're really staying one and two and three and four and, your turn.

Be careful for that last one, don't put it on the four.

So it's not this.

One and two and three and four and, it's one and two and three and four and.

That second one, can you work it out by yourself and repeat it around a few times? So repeat, work out the second one by yourself now.

Check with me.

So it should sound like this.

One and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and.

So that's a really popular rhythm using sort of jazz samba, that kind of thing.

What was that called? The line underneath, and what do we think the dot is for? There's two things on this note which are very interesting.

So that was a tie and underneath my picture it which glueing the notes together.

So we're spoken about that already.

So that means we don't play both the notes, we glue them together.

And the dot, we're going to come on to that in a moment.

So here's another syncopation rhythm here.

You might have seen that another time with me.

So this is four quarters, but they've all been shifted.

So they're all on the ands.

So it's one and two.

Sorry, one, and two and three and four and.

That gives the music lots and lots of drive when we have a syncopated with them like that.

It should be written like this.

I'm not just shifting it over, I should have a quaver on the end to make it really accurate.

So you've got loads of different syncopated rhythms there.

So you're now going to be practising playing chords C, F and G in a syncopated rhythm.

So you're going to go back over.

You can look on the worksheet as well, go back over and practise all of those syncopated rhythms. So for example.

Okay, if you have backing beat on your keyboard or online, you can just click that on and you can practise it with a backing beat.

This should take you five minutes to explore the syncopated rhythms. Pause the video, explore them and come back when you're ready.

So let's have a quick recap.

What does syncopated mean? It means emphasising the weak beats.

Well done if you got that one correct.

So we're now going to learn what tones and semitones are because that's going to be really important for some later work we're going to do on scales and creating our own ideas.

So what is a scale again, can we remember? A scale is a set of pitches.

So let's have a look now at the C major scale.

So remember we numbered it from one to seven.

On the keyboard, that's all the white notes, but you may notice there are some notes that have no other notes in between them.

So for example E and F.

There's no black note in between.

Can you spot another one on the keyboard which it doesn't have a black note in between? Well done, if you found B and C, that's correct.

So there are some notes that have a black note in between.

C and D and some that do not.

We're now going to talk about how we measure the distances between notes.

So a semitone is the smallest distance between two pitches.

So it's one step.

So that'll be the nearest note up or down.

So for example for if we had a G the nearest note up would be a G sharp or A flat.

The nearest note down would be an F sharp or G flat.

E and F, the nearest note up is F and the nearest note down is D, D sharp or E flat.

So that is a semitone.

A tone is two semitones.

So a tone would be C to C sharp, that is a semitone.

C sharp to D.

So that is a tone.

So you'll notice that our scale is made up of tones and semitones.

We're now going to do a very quick task to identify tones and semitones.

So using the keyboard on the right of the page, write down whether each one is a tone or a semitone.

Pause the video now and resume it when you're ready to check your answers.

Lovely, let's now check.

So C to C sharp is a semitone 'cause there's no note in between.

E to F is also a semitone, no note in between.

D to E is a tone because we have a D sharp in the middle, so it's two steps.

G to a is a tone again, 'cause there's a note in between.

A to B flat is a semitone.

There are no notes in between.

B to C is also a semitone, there are no notes in between.

That was really quick work, well done.

So we've learnt what terms of semitones are and we're now going to create your own melody using the C major scale.

So pause the video again.

We looked at the C major scale earlier in the lesson.

Play the C major scale up and down and think if you were to write a melody, what pitch would you start and end on.

Pause a video, take a minute to play up and down on your device or an instrument and resume when you're ready.

Lovely, let's go.

So to write a melody, you need to be thinking about starting at ending on C 'cause that will make it sound really finished.

Limit yourself to C, E, F and G to start.

If you find that really easy, then use some more pictures.

So you should be choosing two kind of groups of eight beats and try and make the first section end on G.

So you should be writing your pitches down and using that C major scale.

So for example, my melody is going to start on C.

I'm going to have eight beats.

I might just want to do crotchets to start with.

So I've just used eight beats of crotchets and I've ended on G.

And now I'm going to end on C.

So I'm going to start on G and C.

So pause the video to write your melody.

You should only be taking five minutes on this task.

Lovely, let's now move on.

So for your melody, what pitches did you use and why? How long is your melody and which notes did you start and end on and why? Think about those questions now and resume when you're ready.

Great, so you've now created your own melody using the C major scale and we're now going to harmonise it using the primary chords we learned about earlier.

Let's recap, what are the three primary chords? If you said one, four and five, you were correct, well done.

So let's now harmonise the melody.

So you should have written down your melody and you should use the primary chords to harmonise your melody.

What are the primary chords in C major, tell me now? So that is C, F and G.

So chords one, four and five.

You should be using these to harmonise.

So here is my melody written down.

If you don't have a melody, you can use my one.

So this is what my melody sounds like.

So those are the two parts of my melody.

If you don't have your own melody, you are now going to try and harmonise my melody with chords.

You should only use two chords per box.

A chord here, a new chord.

A new chord.

If you've got your own melody to harmonise, I'm just going to work through my one with you and then you're going to go and harmonise your own.

So first one C, E, F.

What chord will fit in with C, E and F? I'm going to look and I'm going to see chord one has C and E in it, so that's going to fit best.

How about the next bit, so I've got.

And then for G.

I could put that G chord there, so I could put chord five.

And now for the F, F, F, what could I use for that one? Chord four would fit perfectly.

And then chord for E, C, C, what chord has E, C, C in it? That would be cord C.

So generally speaking, it's going to be really easy to look at the notes that you have chosen if you've written them down.

You could also use your ear, that can be helpful.

So you've got a choice of three chords.

I could also maybe add it in another chord.

So I can add an F after that first C chord.

If the chord doesn't sound good to you, you know you've made a slight mistake, so try the other two chords.

So if I chose this chord for example.

I know that sounds bad, so I know I've chosen the wrong chords.

So use your ears, use your eyes to see what notes you've chosen to harmonise your melody.

Read the instructions here to double check that you know what to do.

Spend five minutes to harmonise your melody.

If you're finished really quickly, experiment with playing your chords in a syncopated rhythm or write a longer melody.

Resume the video once you're finished.

Now reflect on your work.

So what chords you chose, how did you choose them and how did you know they fitted in.

Pause the video to think about your answers and move on when you're ready.

Great, so it's now time to perform your melody.

I'd like you to go and find an audience member in your house and show them your melody and harmony.

You might even want to teach them a part and you can play it together.

Pause the video, find someone to perform to and then come back when you're ready.

I hope it goes very well.

Lovely, let's move on.

I hope the performance went very well indeed.

Well done for being courageous and performing to somebody else.

So now we're going to go back to our key question, what are the most useful chords? Pause the video, answer these three questions and resume when you're ready.

Great, let's check our work.

So the set of chords is called primary chords.

The numbers, if you wrote in Roman numerals, I hope you did.

One, four and five and they should be looking like I, IV and V, if it's in Roman numerals and in C major, the chords are C, F and G.

Fantastic work, well done.

You have done a great job today.

We've had a very, very busy lesson.

Feel free to go back and rewind if there's anything you're not quite sure about and do be really curious and look out for some other pieces you can play with all these chords you are learning.

Don't forget to go on and complete the quiz 'cause you've learnt loads and it'll be really good to show that off.

All that's left to say is take care, enjoy the rest of the day and keep being musical and curious, bye.