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Guitar Players Can Learn To Play The Piano In No Time Flat

Aug 7, 2008
If you're a guitar player who desires to learn the piano, you're already ahead of the game. You can transfer your knowledge of chords and chord patterns to the keyboard. This means you could be playing a tune at the piano in no time. That's because chords are chords, no matter what instrument they are played on.

The composition of chords is the same whether you apply them to a guitar or a piano. The only difference is where the application takes place. On a piano, you use black and white keys on the keyboard to form different chords. It's akin to pressing strings to form chords on the fret board of a guitar. You press certain strings at certain fret positions to get a certain chord sound.

Guitarists can learn the piano rapidly because they already understand chord patterns. Some guitarists know chord patterns as written musical notation; others know these patterns by sound. Some know both methods. A guitarist who can read chord patterns, written using proper music notation, will be able to read a chord pattern on sheet music whether its for guitar or piano. All the guitarist has to do is learn the keys of the piano and then play the written music at the keys.

Someone who does not know how to read music must first learn the written form. Then he or she must learn the keyboard keys before putting the two together to play. A guitarist saves time by already knowing the written element.

What about guitarists who cannot read music, but play by ear? It is still easier for them to learn the piano because they have an ear for chord sounds. Those new to music must tune their ear to the sound of chords. They cannot usually just sit at a piano and say, "I'm going to play a C Major Triad." They must first understand what comprises this triad. When they play it, they must know whether the sound is right.

Guitarists who understand chord construction and know a chord's sound when they hear it are further ahead. When they locate the appropriate keys at the piano and play the chord, they know by the sound whether they've played it correctly. This is because they've heard the chord many times before on the guitar. The chord will sound the same only with the piano's characteristic sound underpinning it.

Guitarists will also learn to experiment and improvise on a piano faster than one who has never played another instrument before. Guitarists constantly manipulate chords, always trying new voicings and chord combinations. When they undertake piano study, they will do the same. Since they already know the theory and architecture of chords, and the scale notes they are born of, they can begin manipulating them at the keyboard immediately. There is no need to learn the reasons behind what they are doing.

The guitar and the piano have much in common when it comes to playing chords. If you know guitar chords, you will not find the piano an intimidating instrument. You will find it's another vehicle for your musical creativity: one you already know something about.
About the Author
Duane Shinn is the author of the popular online newsletter on piano chords, available free at "Exciting Piano Chords & Chord Progressions!"
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