• Michelle Ostrove


To write the music for a song, chord progressions are critical for good structure and sound. Every piano student should know how to play scales, chords and arpeggios; they should be incorporated in piano lessons. Voice students work on runs, which are sometime made up of scales and chords are used for singing harmonies. These three elements are the backbone for writing the music for a song, creating melodies and harmonies to sing or play.

Scales are played one note at a time and are played in sequence. The diatonic scale consists of major and minor scales. To describe a major scale, let’s started with C (D,E,F,G,A,B) and end with C. There are other scales: five-note scales called pentatonic, six note is the whole-tone scales and eight note scales called the octatonic (or diminished) scales.

Chords also called a triad (usually three notes) can be played all together (blocked) or separately (broken). The broken chord, let’s use the C chord as an example, would be played C, E, G, which can also be called an arpeggio; the notes are played in sequence. The word arpeggio comes from the Italian word arpeggiare (Read blog 11/24/20 “Singing or Playing Chords). The notes are played individually starting with C, E, G. There are four note chords which you can read about in the blog 12/9/20 “4-Note Chords.” The four basic types of chords are major chords, minor chords, diminished chords and augmented chords.

Bands, choirs, songwriters and composers all use scales, chords and arpeggios for creating songs and beautiful harmonies. Once you’ve learned how to play the chords in various ways, feel free to double the chord notes an octave above or below. If you are a singer, sing along with your favorite song and try finding a note below or above what the artist is singing that harmonies with the singer. Whether it’s singing or playing scales, chords/triads and arpeggios, they are the foundation of every song.


Why do people ask if you like live music. Of course, I like live music, dead music has body but it doesn’t have soul…

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