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Article: Harmonium Lessons: Learning chords for songs

By Haresh Bakshi
  Harmonium (keyboard) and guitar are among the most popular instruments for solo performance as well as for accompaniement. They can be used to play/accompany melody lines of a song, or to play chords appropriate to the song part.

1. First of all, learn the chords given in the online harmonium lessons. There are hundreds of chords, but you need to learn only those given in the harmonium lessons.

2. The same chords can be played on the guitar, but you will have to learn elementary guitar playing. For this, you may use a good elementary book, or, better still, take a few lessons.

3. Thoroughly know the song you want to play/accompany.

4. Break down the song into several very small phrases. Try the various chords you have learnt, with each small segment of the song line: check which chord 'fits' well. You can partly mechanise this process by first playing the small segment of the song on the keyboard. Then remember that, one of the notes of the suitable chord uses at least one of the notes you have used to play the song segment earlier. The following example will make this point very clear.

Let us take the first segment of the famous Mukesh song "meraa jootaa hai jaapaani" -- who has not heard this? On the keyboard, you will play like:

C   Db   F    F    F   E    F    F
me  raa  joo  taa  hai jaa  paa  n
By trial and error (or, intuitionally) you will find that the m minor chord, symbol mL, key# 6-9-13, notes m-d-S' sounds very appropriate, to accompany that part of the song. (see Harmonium Lessons - Chords: Part III: Minor chords). This is called F minor [F-Ab-C'] chord.

Instead of key# 6-9-13, notes m-d-S', we can use key# 1-6-9, notes S-m-d. This will be C-F-Ab.

5. Practice, practice, practice, using different songs, different chords. If you prefer, initially you may work only on the first lines of of different songs of your choice. This is usually the most familiar part in each song. Hence, it is the easiest to work with.

6. Additionally, plan to work in a small group of serious learners. This helps boost your mood for greater input and better output.

7. Note down the song parts and their related chords. In a short time, you will have an excellent collection.




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