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Jazz Piano Lessons: Ear Training: Hearing Notes in Relation to Major Chords

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Time for
an ear training break.
In our previous ear training exercises,
we worked on identifying intervals
in relation to a root note.
Major six.
Major three.
Perfect fourth, and so forth.
The truth is that when we're playing
jazz we're really more hearing notes
in relation to a full harmony,
in relation to the quality of the chord.
In this case, here's a major triad.
That right there,
sharp 11
That could be anything.
It could be a the tri-tone on
top of an A flat, Major seven.
But when we hear the full chord down here,
the notes have a different meaning.
Playing against all three of the notes,
and for the time being,
we're just gonna use a triad.
So our next set of ear
training exercises involves,
hearing notes [SOUND]
that are possible notes,
notes that you're likely to hear,
against harmony [SOUND] down here.
And we're gonna do three different ones.
We're gonna do [SOUND] playing
against a major triad.
Playing against a minor triad,
and playing against the seventh,
let's start with the major triad.
What you're gonna hear on the exercise
that you can download on this page,
is you're gonna hear me playing a triad.
I think it's just gonna be a C triad for
the time being, maybe like this or
And then I'm going to play various
notes that work over a major chord.
And those notes [SOUND] That's not one.
[SOUND] That's not one either.
Those work great against
the seventh chord, but
against the major chord,
the nine works beautifully.
The D on a C major chord.
E is a great note.
This doesn't work.
We love our flat nines or sharp,
yeah flat nines when they're in
the right place for example this.
That's also a flat nine but
in this context it's
actually quite pretty.
But it's not pretty when it's rubbing
against the third of a major chord.
So we're not going to use that note.
But we will use this,
which is the sharp 11.
You'll hear that go by in
the ear training exercise,
the five of course goes by, that.
That doesn't work really.
You hear that in the movies sometimes,
cuz they want to go.
Like that.
But we're not gonna use that
in the ear training exercise.
The natural 13 yes, the A on the C
major seven chord, and of course the B.
So let's talk just a little
bit about how I hear these and
everyone hears these things
completely differently.
Some hear them wanting to resolve up or
down whatever,
but learning to identify
these is important.
For some reason when I hear the nine
on a major triad.
Maybe it's from that Barbra Streisand
tune, that I wanna hear it or something.
People who love
people is what that tune is.
The third should be pretty obvious.
The sharp 11 has a very
specific sound of course.
You hear this constantly in the movies.
Whenever it's time for
kind of wonder, when E.T.
sails off in his ship or whatever it is.
It clearly wants to
resolve up to the fifth.
You hear that motion constantly.
That's a pretty identifiable one.
The five.
That stark fifth interval is easy to hear.
This one.
The 13, which is, could be
degree six also, on a C major chord.
Again, I think of that
as kind of the corny
note on a major chord, because
it's, you know, when we had.
Whoever those singers were,
kind of those perky 50s,
I don't know, what would be the group?
But you'll recognize.
When they did close harmony like that,
they stuck that note in there, and
it's kind of unfortunate, because it gives
it a kind of a happy home maker sound.
We don't use it all the time, but
when I'm identifying the interval.
That's the thing,
kind of that sunny quality
is how I think of that one.
This one the natural seven,
if you know the tune by Chicago,
Color my World.
They give you that over and over again.
Figure out your own way that
you think of these notes.
A way that you can
consistently identify them.
And then put up this ear training
exercise and you'll hear for,
I think, nine minutes,
something like that.
you'll hear the major triad and
then just random notes playing against it,
and I'll identify them for
you after I play them.
Give you a chance to either find them on
the piano or identify them just verbally.
And that's how we're gonna
work on this for now.
In our next lesson,
we're gonna take a look at doing
the same thing on a minor chord.