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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:14 am 
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This is not whistle related, so feel free to move or even delete. This is the only music forum I'm a member of which is why I'm asking here, but I'll quite understand if it's judged as being off topic.

I've been teaching myself the keyboard for a few months, and I've just realised something a little troubling. The chords I've been learning were pulled from a table at the back of a beginners keyboard book (SFX Instructor Start Playing Keyboard). I don't use "auto chords" and play each chord manually. Lately I've figured out that this book has taught me all non-standard fingerings for chords - specifically 2nd inversions.

The reasons for this are (as far as I can tell) 2nd inversions are an easier hand-stretch for beginners and they make more efficient use of the designated "accompaniment area" on an electronic keyboard. The accompaniment area on my 61 key keyboard only extends as far as the high F on the bass clef, although this can be edited in the settings. The net effect of this is, if I want to use standard fingerings either I'll need to do some weird editing to my keyboard's settings, or I'll need to play the chords very low with the root key of a C major chord being the C just below the start of the bass clef.

Is it OK to stick with the 2nd inversion fingering, or should I retrain myself to use the standard fingerings? For accompaniments and harmonies the keyboard doesn't care - it plays the same things either way. It does cause some minor problems with some more exotic chords, for example when you play an inverted Csus4 the on-screen chord display thinks its playing an Fsus2, but that's just 2 names for the same thing isn't it?

Suggestions?


Last edited by AbrasiveScotsman on Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:17 am 
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Actually, on a closer look it is rather more complicated.

The chart taught me the 2nd inversion of C, but the normal form of A. The objective seems to have been to enable me to play all chords using the same 12 keys (3 black on left, 2 black on right).


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:21 am 
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Hmmm, where is the keyboard forum? :wink:

AbrasiveScotsman wrote:
Actually, on a closer look it is rather more complicated.
Yes. Agreed.

Perhaps a pianist will advise better but I'll give my experience.

I find it all depends on context. It is all situational. It depends on where you are and what comes next and so on, IME. Embrace and learn all the chord positions. They will come in handy eventually. Situations will determine what position you play. Going from a root position of the I chord and then the 2nd inversion of the IV chord is common enough as an example. Similarly it is common enough to go from the root I chord to the 1st inversion V chord and back again. Those movements will limit the range of keys used in a I, IV, V chord structure. That's about both economy of motion and limiting range on the instrument. But it does not give a rats hindquarters for the structure of the bass accompaniment of the melody.

Electronic keyboards do present their own issues, as you have discovered. And the frequent solution is as you have stated - move the chords down or edit the defaults to allow a greater range for that voice. Of course that effects the melody positions. Only better solution is to procure a 76 or 88 key keyboard. 76 keys has been enough for me, for the most part. 49 keys or 61 keys has not cut it for me unless I am playing in separate left and right hand parts.

Remember you don't always have to play full chords either. Bass notes or arppegiations will work as well. The bass note will frequently determine a chord inversion too. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

That's my view as a keyboard duffer anyway.

Feadoggie

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:53 am 
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AbrasiveScotsman wrote:
For accompaniments and harmonies the keyboard doesn't care - it plays the same things either way.

For electronic keyboard with auto accompaniment, any fingering will 'do' because you're normally going to be hearing root positions (or maybe root with root/fifth alternating bass) anyway. But alternative shapes will give you more options for tidy chord-to-chord transitions with reduced finger movement, and aren't hard to learn (even to work out for yourself) if you work on the principle of shifting a note at a time from bottom to top or vice versa.

For example, you could play C to G like (all given bottom up):

CEG to BDG
EGC to DGB
GCE to GBD

As well as many other possibilities, which are more economical (as well as give more musical voice leading in non-auto contexts) than:

CEG to GBD

Quote:
It does cause some minor problems with some more exotic chords, for example when you play an inverted Csus4 the on-screen chord display thinks its playing an Fsus2, but that's just 2 names for the same thing isn't it?

No. Since the auto accompaniment will be processing one to play with a C bass and one with an F bass, the effect will be quite different. Same thing goes for other similar cases (eg Dm7 and F6), where the bass will normally be the root of what the processor thinks you're playing. And having the full range of inversions at your disposal is pretty well essential if you want to ditch the auto accompaniment and play 'piano style'.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:29 pm 
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Thank you for the responses.

So what I'm taking away from this is that it is a good idea to learn the standard fingerings, but equally there's no real harm in keeping playing the songs I've learned the way I've learned them if that's how I like to play them.

I've downloaded a "standard" chords chart to put on the wall over my keyboard. I'll have to adjust my ears. The normal form of C just sounds "wrong" after playing it 1 octave higher all this time.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:30 pm 
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Quoted:

"The reasons for this are (as far as I can tell) 2nd inversions are an easier hand-stretch for beginners and they make more efficient use of the designated "accompaniment area" on an electronic keyboard. The accompaniment area on my 61 key keyboard only extends as far as the high F on the bass clef, although this can be edited in the settings. The net effect of this is, if I want to use standard fingerings either I'll need to do some weird editing to my keyboard's settings, or I'll need to play the chords very low with the root key of a C major chord being the C just below the start of the bass clef."




Inversions result to easy hand stretch but that is not the main purpose of inversion.


In music Theory there is what we call Tension, Rest and Resolution.

I'll be using movable "DO" in my definition.

Tension is/are combination of Active notes : Super tonic (RE), submediant (LA) , subdominant (FA) and leading tone (TI or SI)

Rest are combination of rest noted : Tonic (DO), Median (Mi), Dominant (Sol)


Resolution is the movement of Tension to Rest notes.


For a Chord Movement:
Notes with the active notes find a resolution

Depending on the Mode


Example: on V-I cadence or Chord Movement

G-B-D to C-E-G

it is best to use B-D-G (first inversion) most of the time than G-B-D

because of the movements of resolution.


B (leading tone) resolves to C (tonic)
D (super tonic) resolves to E (median)
G retains.


Although it seems senseless at first

looking at it on a note per note basis shows the real picture.

The movement of the Bass note G to C does not sound so resolve
like Bass notes B to C (however this depends on the voicing of the notes)


Another issue is the strength of the notes

Study the strength of the notes

C-E-G sounds different to
E-G-C

where the C on E-G-C sounds little/faint because of the Higher Octave C is used.

Each has its purpose and the normal purpose is to establish movement of the notes and
strength of the mood.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:17 am 
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AbrasiveScotsman wrote:
So what I'm taking away from this is that it is a good idea to learn the standard fingerings

Think you need to get away from this idea of 'standard fingerings' when it all ultimately depends on context. There are no 'standard fingerings' (as in use this position/inversion for C, this one for G and so on), though I can see why you might get that idea from beginners' methods and charts.

Quote:
but equally there's no real harm in keeping playing the songs I've learned the way I've learned them if that's how I like to play them.

This depends largely on how you're playing them (eg with/without auto accompaniment), but it shouldn't normally make the slightest difference if you're using the auto accompaniment.

Angel Shadowsong wrote:
Inversions result to easy hand stretch but that is not the main purpose of inversion.

Which is why I said...

Peter Duggan wrote:
as well as give more musical voice leading in non-auto contexts

And...

Peter Duggan wrote:
having the full range of inversions at your disposal is pretty well essential if you want to ditch the auto accompaniment and play 'piano style'.

Angel Shadowsong wrote:
it is best to use B-D-G (first inversion) most of the time than G-B-D

because of the movements of resolution.

Since most keyboard processors will be ignoring your inversions and substituting root positions when playing with auto accompaniment, you're back at choosing for fluent fingering for this purpose. If playing what (for want of a better term) I keep calling 'piano style', then of course inversions matter, but here it becomes over-simplification to say 'it is best to do X most of the time than Y" when (as you know) you've got bass line, harmonic stability etc. to consider as well as the voice leading of chord shapes which may now even be moving/split between hands. And this isn't something you can teach in a couple of short forum posts...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:43 am 
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I usually play my keyboard with auto accompanyment off, auto harmony on, and the keyboard split so that the accompanyment side does more than just control the harmonies. Different fingerings of the chords wont affect the harmonies, but they will impact whatever instrument I've set the left side keyboard to play. Usually strings or an organ of some sort.

I was interested to discover that the relationship between chords in the key of C (when using uninverted fingerings) is systematic. Groups of 3 keys simply move one to the right as you move up to the next chord. I hadn't realised that.

I was disappointed when I found that the same was not true of all keys.


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