Everyone wants to play beautiful piano music, but it’s not always easy finding creative ways that add interest and emotion to your playing.
Today, I’ll show you one of my favorite intervals that will bring new beauty into your performances:
A “6th” is a musical interval that encompasses 6 notes of a scale (In this case from ‘F’ to ‘D’). There are 2 commonly occurring 6ths: A “major 6th” spans 9 semitones, while a “minor 6th” spans 8 semitones. (ie: from ‘A’ to ‘E’). In context, a major chord will generally seem to have a happier disposition, while minor chords tend to sound more somber.
Today we’ll be focusing on 6ths in the key of F. Here’s the F major scale:
To create a 6th, pick a key and count 6 notes up the scale. Be mindful of the shape you are creating with your hand, and take time to practice moving back and forth from different keys: It can be very tricky to keep track of two notes at the same time.
Using that spacing in the key of F, there will 5 major 6ths, and 3 minor 6ths.
F6 – G6 – Am6 – B♭6 – C6 – Dm6 – Em6
📝🎹 Take Note! The 1-6-4-5 progression is commonly known as “The ’50s progression”. As the name implies, it was common in the 1950s and early 1960s and is particularly associated with doo-wop.
In the key of F Major, the sequence is as follows:
F – Dm – B♭ – C
Got it? Now all I want you to do is add some random 6ths over top of your new progression.
On top of all that, you can experiment with jumps and rhythms to bring extra interest to your playing.
This is where you can get creative. Try out different chord progressions, make the most of your diatonic chords, and don’t be afraid to experiment or test something new: Music is yours to discover!
Here is a 2nd sequence you can practice, with a ‘more melancholy’ feel to it:
The 6-1-4-5 progression in the key of ‘F’ is as follows:
Dm – F – B♭ – C
These are the same notes we played in the 1-6-4-5, but in a different order, creating a very different feeling.
It might be difficult to keep track of everything, but that’s okay! If you take the time with this routine it’s going to sound beautiful, no matter your speed or skill. Spend some time really focusing on your hand shape and how it fits across different keys, and don’t forget to have fun doing it.
There is so much beauty waiting to be discovered in 6ths, so try it out, and make sure to experiment in new key signatures and styles!
See you next time, and happy practicing!
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