free musical instructional materials

Presentation slides can be viewed within your web browser - visually explain how to play various pieces of music -- with focus on the harmonic structure.

Videos - which show an on-screen piano keyboard -- often, in addition to slides shown, in-tandem.

For Beginners

If you are a beginner, here are my thoughts on what to teach first and how to approach your development: The very first steps for a beginner.

  • Proper piano posture, explained by other pianists on YouTube (links)
  • How to learn music by-ear

    Sound like a Jazz pianist in 5 minutes! -- shortcut for beginners.

    simple chords

    One early lesson for a beginner is to get familiar with simple chords (triads). It can be fun to see how these Major and minor triads can work together.

    Perhaps it is best to start with simple repeating patterns, that involve playing one note at-a-time. These simple repeating patterns (phrases / sequences) are good for builing facility. These are technique exercises (but they can sound hypnotically-cool to listen to).

    Modal "Hanon" exercises -- Presentation slides

    parallel 3rds move in-tandem - using both hands - (an approach to 7th chords) i7 ii7 and III7.

    So far, we have built chords based upon harmonic intervals of 3rds. However, it is possible to build chords using 4ths...

    Eamonn Andrews

    A simple modal composition * that I have found to actually serve as a good introduction for beginners.

    * by Mike Ratledge, who played keyboards for The Soft Machine.

    Chord Connections

    For each individual popular song:

    Modal Jazz

    Musical notation

    Modal Jazz

    Lydian mode

    with a samba beat , in 'F' Lydian, which is (diatonically/predominantly white keys on the piano keyboard): MuseScore (".mscz") file -- exports of that score in the following formats: Music XML (compressed) file | MIDI (sequence) file | view PDF (in browser) .

    I placed some relatively simple scores and bits of arrangement on

    ... which includes a rough distillation (harmonic reduction / sketch) of "Sergio Samba"

    MuseScore offers a similar platform. Intuitive Music's profile on

    SoulPicnicLauraNyro_chords-in-D.mscz MuseScore notation file of chords to "Soul Picnic" by Laura Nyro - starting in the key of 'D' (Major). The Fifth Dimension recorded their hit version a whole-step higher -- in the key of 'E' (Major) ; and Laura's own version is a half-step (in-turn) above that: in 'F' (Major).

    Musical Construction goes beyond two hands on a piano keyboard. This is for thinking about and developing the broader scope of music (ensemble, counterpoint, composition)

    I am studying and examining and dissecting the musical construction of compositions by Frank Zappa, and Kerry Minnear (of Gentle Giant). I would also like to dig into and learn (transcribe) "Half Asleep / Half Awake" (composed by John Greaves, bassist of Henry Cow).


    First line features the chords, with simple (simplistic) not-precise and easy-to-read rhythmic values for the notated notes. In 4/4. 2 voices used for treble cleff staff.

    Next line features the syncopated rhythmic values that are heard in original by Gentle Giant (Power and the Glory album).

    The third line is a related idea that isn't part of the composition and instead utilizes similar parallel Perfect-Fourth (P4) , but in a way that spells (third-based / triad-based) 7th chords, like traditional Jazz harmony.

    Revised MuseScore transcription

    I have made transcriptions of the music of The Soft Machine. Their keyboard player, Mike Ratledge, wrote a number of truly special compositions that make use of unusual time signatures (metres), in addition to modal Jazz harmony. search 'Ratledge' on to find those scores that I transcribed by-ear.

    nice chords in B-flat dorian
    Is that an Augmented 7th chord? The harmonic context is B-flat dorian mode. I tried notating it using different enharmonic equivalent (#s and flats) , and on different staves with different clefs (including the "C" tenor/alto clef).

    Above, I listed the chord changes to "Backwards" by Mike Ratledge, in the original key that the Soft Machine played it. However, if that same chord series/sequence/cycle is transposed down (lower) one Major-3rd , the starting chord is on 'F',

  •     f min.7 , e-flat min.7 , E Maj.7 , g# min. add9 ,       c min.9,     b-flat min. 9 : ||
  • in terms of enharmonic equivalent pitches:
  •     e# min.7 , d#-flat min.7 , F-flat Maj.7 , A-flat min. add9 ,       b# min.9,     a# min. 9 : ||
  • The bass player, Hugh Hopper, also wrote some compositions in a similar vein: "12/8 Theme" and "Kings and Queens."

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