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Music Principles of Piano in Beat Making

Introduction to Beatmaking

All right so welcome to my course learning piano for beat makers and producers in this course i wanna uh embed in you how to learn the piano as a beatmaker okay because learning piano as a classical piano player is a lot different uh than for us beat makers okay so for us beat makers we're really focused on um creating catchy loops whereas like a classical piano player they're really focused on always being in time um always learning um you know music theory and all these things and as a beat maker you do have to know these things but since we can edit with our midi notes that's a huge advantage where we don't have to learn piano like as well as a classical piano player we just have to know um you know scales chords and and kind of patterns allowing us to create catchy loops so i know for myself uh when i first started up making beats you know i actually used like my computer typing keyboard like my qwerty keyboard um and you know that was good just to you know teach me my music program but then it kind of got to the point where it's like hey well i want to start creating beautiful piano beats and in order for me to do that i'm going to have to learn you know music theory and i'm also going to learn how to play the piano i'm mostly self-taught i did take a few lessons in the beginning from a lady who actually lived down my street and she broke down how chords and scales worked and from then on it just kind of opened my eyes up and i was able to improvise so i do know how to read music uh to an extent like not at a high caliber level but again as a beat maker it's you know that knowledge is kind of useless to us we're creating loops we're trying to create things that are catchy so really knowing how to read music doesn't really benefit us you know i'm not saying you can't go and do that but as a beat maker someone who wants to make really catchy high quality beats you want to be able to learn how to improvise and that's what i'm going to be showing you in our course so going further you know i'm going to be showing you how a piano works you know like um scales chords keys major minor um we're going to get into like arpeggios because arpeggios is a big thing in beat making uh it's really good for filling in a track and uh you know a lot of emotion i'm also going to be giving you tips on using like your left hand with your right hand um that was a big thing for me for example i was able to play like maybe a chord with my left hand and then i'd be able to kind of really play with my right hand but i wasn't really able to blend them together so over my years i've kind of found certain ways to play with the left hand to make it blend with your right hand a lot better and then again i'm going to be teaching you how to improvise on a piano that's the biggest thing and then from there on it really is up to you to keep practicing every day or however like however often you can so that you can you know become better at the piano so for myself you know i've been practicing piano almost every day for the past like four years about you know i actually did out of town work there for a little bit and i even bought a piano off of amazon had it shipped up to me there just so i could keep practicing the piano every single night because uh with improvisation it's kind of one of those things that once you have your eyes opened to just play on a piano just random stuff the more you practice the easier it gets and you will see you know such improvement that it'll you know it makes you want to keep practicing and then finally i'm going to be showing you kind of like popular patterns uh to get you going uh for playing like you know piano notes to add into loops you know whether that be like on every beat or things with like syncopation just to give you a general idea of well what are some kind of popular patterns that i can use to work off of and then you know then it's up to you on how to make it work to be creative uh for yourself all right so that's a general course overview of this course piano for beat makers and producers hopefully you guys learn a lot and i really hope that my tips help you become a better beatmaker again because we're not trying to be classical piano players we're trying to learn the piano to make amazing beats okay so let's get into the course.

Tips for Piano Practice

Okay so before we actually get into learning about anything about this piano you know octaves scales chords anything like that it's very important to set yourself up to want to practice so for myself what i'm doing right now is i'm in fl studio and i'm using a plugin called addictive keys you don't have to use like a plug-in like this you guys can just use uh something like fl keys so if i right-click and go insert uh i'm not sure where fl studio puts it by default because i've organized these
into my old folders for organization purposes but as you can see fl keys is right here and it just sounds like this you know and you know that's fine but i find that hard to practice with so something you can do is you can increase uh the release on here okay you can increase this and what that does is when you push a note it allows it to play for extra long okay so i'll put it a lot okay if i turn all the way down now now all the way full. Okay so that's something i find that helps like release but what i really wanted to show you is as you can see i've routed it to number one here on the mixer so on the mixer i have a reverb i put some compression and i put some eq on it just to make it you know more enjoyable and more fun to play you guys can also even add like delay on and stuff too again just to help you want to practice it makes it a lot easier because when a sound is so dry it's very hard to know you know if it's going to sound good but once it has a tail either by adding reverb that release on or like delay you'll hear instantly it sounds a lot better therefore it makes you feel that what you're playing sounds better and it'll make you want to practice more okay so i'll play the piano i'll just remove fl keys here so i'll be using uh xln audio's addictive keys and right now the effects are off okay so this is what it would sound like okay now with the effects on okay just sounds a little more powerful so that's the first thing i want to tell you open up your plugins add on some effects make your playing a lot more enjoyable if you're practicing on a real piano just take advantage of the sustain pedal you'll notice that when you hold on the sustain pedal again it allows the note to sound longer and it won't sound so dry and it'll make you practicing a lot more enjoyable.

Octave Piano Notes

Okay so i think the best place to start for you guys to really take off with your improvisation is to understand what you're looking at on a keyboard okay so there's 12 notes in music and they keep repeating in octaves okay so you start off on c5 that's your middle c okay and then if we go down lower to the next c lower it's c4 if you go lower it's c3 okay higher you kind of get the point it just keeps repeating so if we start all the way down here on the far left side again it starts at c it would go to c sharp d d sharp e f f sharp g g sharp a a sharp b and then c again okay so c c and then it would repeat again so c c sharp d d sharp e f f sharp g okay so we have 12 notes 12 notes 12 notes and it keeps repeating and repeating so if we come all the way down here to like you know c2 this is typically really really good for like hip hop kind of tracks because you have that low piano for example would be like okay just to kind of give you an idea of what you're working with and kind of uh give you some creativity so that's the basics of how a piano works in terms of looking at the keys and what are you looking at you have 12 notes okay so from c to b here then c to b here again 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 and 12 and then it will repeat in the higher octave or lower octave.

Introducing Key and Scales

Now i'm going to introduce you guys to scales okay so there's major and minor scales people say that major is happy and minor it sounds sad this is going to sound confusing to you right now but once you get into it you'll see that a c major is actually a minor and an a minor is actually a c major now when people say happy and sad and stuff like that well it's just kind of still how you are playing those notes at the end of the day because you could be looking at all these things like the circle of fifths and i didn't really look into that stuff until later learning piano and even after reading and understanding it was just kind of like well it doesn't really help me tons because as a beat maker as a producer i'm wanting to know how to play the piano to make you know awesome beats and some of the theory that you're going to be trying to learn some of it is helpful and some of it isn't you know so things that you that we will be getting into is like learning how to count in time learning how to uh play notes off time but still you know stay in time it's something called like syncopation um but we're going to be learning about scales right now okay so what i want you to do is go to google and type piano world scale helper this is this is a tool that i have used in my beginnings to really really help me understand and visualize what i am doing on a piano and how it all works so when i first started i was always hitting the white notes and i was like yeah that sounds great and then as soon as i would try to combine some of these black notes in i was never able to get them to work and the reason for that is because i was playing in c major and what that means is c major is only white notes so you can hit the white notes and for the most part they're going to sound good but as soon as you start trying to bring the black notes into c major that was my problem it's like well in c major there are no black notes so here on the virtual piano uh helper here so i set my root note let's just say to c okay and then in the scale here we're gonna go major and you're gonna see it's highlighted only the white notes so this is the reason why i could never play the black notes is because i was playing in c major and this is a really really common thing for people just starting up so now watch
this remember i told you in the beginning of this video that c major is actually a minor so i'm not going to go to minor here i'm actually going to go to pure minor and i still have to select a in the root note okay so right now we're gonna we're looking at all the white notes are highlighted gonna go pure minor we're going to come down here to a and you're going to see all the white notes are highlighted it's like well are you actually playing a c major or are you playing an a minor when you're playing that so it all depends on how you play your notes and as i have continued to play piano um so for myself i like to play in actually c minor c minor is my favorite uh scale to play in so now the difference between a major and a minor scale is the third sixth and seventh note okay so if we're looking here again from
c to c it's all white notes but if i go to a pure minor you're going to see that the third note changes the sixth note changes and the seventh note so where we should have e and we should have a and b because they're white notes you're gonna see that these actually shift down okay and if i click pure minor you're going to see that e becomes d sharp a becomes g sharp b becomes a sharp okay so e became d sharp a became g sharp and b became a sharp so this is why it's so important to pick your key which is like your root note so let's say the key of c and your scale before you actually start producing your beat otherwise you're not going to know what notes you can play for that beat because this is telling us in c minor that we have these notes we we can play and they're going to sound like in tune and they're going to sound good now if you want to start changing scales as you are producing your beat this is where like the circle of fifths come in like like i was telling you before that a c major is actually an a minor so the circle of fifths is something you can just look up so let's go c is actually a minor okay and that's where you can change if you want to be from a minor to a major like like you know halfway through your song or something like that so this has been a really really helpful tool for myself just trying to learn the piano but don't get too far ahead of yourself it's just good to know the different scales that are out there because a lot of music that is written they will show like you know it's in like the key of g and it's g major or something like that and that's where it's important because a lot of times they have these different root notes and stuff because when you sing their voices can match better to like the certain frequencies of choosing in that key and this also comes into production too so there's certain scales which allow you to have lower base notes.

Piano Chords: Major vs Minor

Okay so now i'm going to introduce you to what is a chord how to play a chord and also the difference between a major and a minor chord and once you uh see the difference between major and minor it will really open your eyes and from there on you know things are going to start start becoming really easy and you're gonna start sailing in terms of like improvisation so how a chord works and what a chord is is is when you use three or more notes uh so in this case if i'm using c e and g that is a chord i've read online that people even say you know sometimes it's even any more than two notes but we're going to keep it simple and we're just going to go with three or more notes is a chord now how the numbering works because sometimes you'll read online like uh the first third and the fifth and it's like well what is that so on your hand it's numbered okay so your thumb is the one your index finger is the two your middle finger is the three your ring finger is the four and your pinky is the five so now it can get a little tricky because when we're talking about the third here we're not talking about like the third note or we're not talking about how many notes are in between we're actually physically talking about your middle finger okay that's your third so if i were to play the c major chord which is c e and g and again it's with your thumb your middle finger and your pinky so that'd be one three and five now how you know a difference between a major and a minor chord is just how many notes are in between your first which is your thumb and your third which is your middle finger so in this case there are actually three notes making it a major chord so one two three and then a minor chord only has two notes so i would actually move my third which is my middle finger down to d sharp in this case so it has two notes in between so you know major minor and that is the difference between a major and a minor chord that is you know like that's it it's not more complex it's not more you know it's it's that simple and whenever i play like this like this this is wrong but i do it so it's easy for you guys to see on the camera but yeah so that's all the differences between a major and a minor chord is just how many notes are between your first which is your thumb and your middle finger which is your third and in this case a major has three one two three and mine only has two what we covered in this is extremely important for you to understand.

Walkthrough C Major Scale

Okay so this is gonna be the video which is gonna open your eyes to understanding how to improvise on a piano if you don't get it just watch it over a couple of times until it really clicks okay i'm really gonna try and take my time and explain this to you so i've introduced you to chords you know it's just three or more notes i've introduced you to major and minor major only has three notes in between your first and your third minor only has two and the reason why that's important to know is because it'll let you know if there's a major or minor chord in that scale because i kept repeating in the keys and scales video that c major only has white notes right so that's telling us something that's telling us that there can only be white notes within that scale you know you can't go and add a black note in because c major doesn't have black notes so what that's telling us is that we either have to have a major or a minor chord but it has to be made up of white notes okay so c major is an awesome scale to have your eyes open to and to uh visualize uh to you know so you can improvise so as you can see we're in uh the key of c we're on the
major scale and it's only white notes so if we start at the root note which you know we see so our chord has to only have white notes and it's on our first third and fifth again that'll be thumb middle finger pinky so in this case it's all white notes so in the scale of c major it has a c major chord okay so if we come here to the root and we go to chords and go to major so as you can see we have c e and g there is no black notes so we have a c major chord let's continue on now let's look at d okay so be on our first third and fifth and how many notes do we have in between our first which is our thumb and our middle finger which is the third we only have one two so we have a d minor chord because a d major chord would have this black which is f sharp but again since we're in c major we can't have black notes and again so one two three so there's three notes that means that's a major chord which means that we have to have a minor d chord in the scale of c major okay and just to confirm you know so we go to d and a major chord as you can see it has that f sharp but if we go minor has you know the the white note which is the f so i'm going to keep working my way through the scale with you guys because this is very very important because now when you go to any other scale you're going to start to see it's just like oh okay well those chords are in that scale and oh they'll you know so once you start going to making your beats or starting you know trying to find new chord progressions you'll know what chords you can hit and then it's just a matter of finding what chords you like within your beat and over my years you know i've always kind of found certain progressions that i like more than others um but over your years of practicing you know you're going to start finding these different progressions and then even when you're listening to other people's music whether it be like in film other beats there's always these common chord progressions and you'll hear them over and over and over and you're like oh i love that chord progression you know so this is really eye opening if you've never seen this stuff before so let's continue okay so we're going to be working now onto e in order for our e chord to only have white notes let's see if it's a major or a minor okay so from here we have one two okay we only have two notes that's making it an e minor chord an e major chord we'd have the g sharp which would have one two three okay and just to confirm we're going to go e minor okay and as you can see only white notes because again you have to only have white notes in the scale of c major okay so moving on to the next note which would be f so if we put our one on f our third on a and then our fifth on c so this is an f chord but what you know is it a major or minor so we have one two three this is a major f chord so f major f minor would have the g sharp making only two in between there and just to confirm we're going to go f and we're going to go major okay so only white notes the minor again has that g sharp you know so only one two notes before we're actually hitting our note which is in the chord okay so now we're on to g so you know i could just play the chord but let's do it a little different this time so if we look at g here so we're going to come to g okay and we know it has to only have white notes this could be a different way for you guys to do it in case you get confused because you know for me i can just play this and i know that this is a g chord but you know it might take some time for you for you to get used to that so you can kind of keep going back uh to the you know in this case go to g and then c whether it's a major or a minor because you know it can only be white notes and that you know you can do it this way or the way i've been showing you is there has to be at least two notes in between for the minor chord or three notes for the major so if we go one two well that would be a g sharp so it has to be a major chord within that c major scale okay uh on to the next so let's put our thumb on a and let's just count you know our notes so one two oh it goes right to c so it has to be a white note because the next note is black and we're only a lot of white notes so it has to be c and then our fifth as on is on e here so which means that this is a minor chord so one two so a minor is in this is the scale of c major so just to confirm so a minor chord there you go only white notes so let's keep going now this is where it can get tricky for you.

Walkthrough C Minor Scale

Okay so now we're going to cover a minor scale so in this case c minor and for whatever reason c minor is like my favorite scale to make beats with to play in you know if i was going to improvise to practice and i don't know why over my years i've turned to liking c minor so much um but i just know where all the notes are again when i go to play you know i can actually kind of close my eyes and feel where the keys are and that's just not c minor okay so let's go back to c major just for a second so the reason why c major i find is so hard to play is because it's only white notes and since it doesn't have black notes you know there's nowhere to feel where you are on your piano because you have three notes and then two notes three notes i think it's only c major and a minor which highlight just like the white notes most scales typically implement at least one black note but for the majority of this course uh we are going to be playing in c major just because you know as you're tarting
it's very easy to learn it's very easy to practice and then as you start advancing i'd recommend picking a different scale which implements some black notes just because once you start practicing you can you can improvise a lot better because you can feel okay and so with that said let's go over the c minor scale so the difference between the major and the minor scales is just the third the sixth and the seventh note so in this case you know it used to be e it used to be a and it used to be b so if we come back up here to uh major okay so we have all white notes so it would be the e it'd be the a and the b so e becomes d sharp a becomes g sharp b becomes a sharp now when it comes to sharps and flats i'll just introduce each of this quickly so i don't really understand music theory in depth but at the end of the day it's still the same note okay so let me explain quickly just to uh get you up to speed so if i was to be here at a and i would go to the left it's a flat and if i'm at a and i go to the right it's a sharp so once you start looking at like the circle of fifths and stuff like that you're gonna see that it's just like oh there's this many flats and there's this many sharps or whatever right so i guess in this case these are flats so when i'm saying that it's g sharp i guess it's actually a
a flat so if you come down here you know so g sharp slash a flat so it is the same note but it just depends on which way you're going because once you start getting into like more in-depth music theory you know i guess um i guess it matters from a theory standpoint but for me telling you the note it's still the same note like even like what they're saying here like root so g sharp and a flat they're considering it the same note so sorry i'm not trying to go intense and in depth but with music theory music theory is technical and it is complex and it is confusing so i just wanted to let you know that flats are left sharps are right so let's go back to me telling you the difference between c major and c minor scale okay i just wanted to bring you up to speed on the flats and sharps so it's the third the sixth and the seventh notes which are different so instead of them being here they all just shift down to the left i guess making them flats okay so we're going to be going to c and right now we're major but we want to be going uh down to pure minor in this case because it's a c minor it's gonna have a c minor chord okay so previously you know in c major it was the e and that was one two three notes but since in c minor we don't have the e so there's two notes in between our chord making it a minor chord now we're going to be going to d so remember if we go back to the major scales it's the seventh which becomes the diminished in the minor scales it's the second which becomes diminished so if we come up here to the diminished triad so like it says here on the other hand the diminished triad in a minor scale occurs on the second degree so in the case of c minor which is what we are practicing uh it is d diminished triad so it's d f and then a flat so d f and it should be a but it went to flat but the reason why it can't be a is because if we come back here we don't have a within the c minor scale in the c major scale it's there but not in c minor for myself i typically stay away from d as a chord within my progressions i i just always kind of find it's always hard to add in and implement that's not to say that i don't use the d note i just stay away from the actual chord uh i just find it kind of tricky again you can read into it on wikipedia here for more information with the leading tone and stuff like that.

Understanding Music Degree for Piano Scales

Okay so there's one thing i want to bring to your attention before we start going further learning the piano and everything and it's called degrees okay as you can see here there's like a tonic a supertonic a median a subdominant dominant uh submediant and a leading and then uh we're back to uh the tonic so um inside of google i just searched uh degree music and i went to wikipedia like the first page and you can see you know the major and minor scales which is what we've been talking about already so as you can see here if we're working in c major c is the tonic d is a super tonic e is the mediant f is a subdominant g is the dominant a is is the sub mediant uh b would be the the leading tone and then as you can see in a major or in the minor scale you know so things i guess can change or whatever and then we come back up to uh the tonic which is just c but an octave higher now i just want to tell you all this music theory yes it is interesting to know and it can help you in terms of uh being able to have better conversations with people understanding what they're trying to tell you but we as music producers you know making beats we don't even really have to know how to read even like sheet music you know sure it would be nice but you don't need to know it uh to make amazing high quality music for myself like i'm saying like i'm i'm very self-taught on the piano so when it comes to talking to people you know when you know when dealing with things like tonic supertonic like i don't really relate that well because i i don't really know music theory in those terms so the reason why i'm covering this is just so that you are aware of it and you know you've at least seen it but i really don't deal with the piano i don't really think of the piano in those ways so i think of it more like this i think about okay so i have to first choose a key and a scale and then that will tell me well what notes am i allowed to play inside of my beat and that will also let me know what chords whether they be major or minor that i can also play inside my beat for myself as a beat maker and a producer that's all i feel i need to know and then from there you know as you start getting more advanced then you can start reading into like more music theory um you know dealing with bigger chords you know sevenths uh all that kind of stuff but what i just said that's what i feel is the most important to really help you improvise and take off with the piano but i just want you to be aware of it since we're talking about piano uh notes scales chords all that kind of stuff so let's move on.