Mateusz asks about the best way to learn chords:
"I recall reading one of your articles on your website about learning chords. I had a hard time understanding how to go about learning chords. Do you have any tips on how to get started with learning chords? The goal in mind is to increase my harmony knowledge and thus increase my ability to sight read and learn four part hymns and other music. I just don't know what is the "best" way to get started in learning chords. I don't know if I should just memorize each chord and their inversions by route memory or get used to "listening" to the chords and their inversions? Hope you can help me out."
I'm glad Mateusz appreciates the importance of learning basic chords and their inversions. From there you can go into harmony, modulation, and expand into the realm of improvisation of preludes or versets.
So in my experience, the best way to learn chords is this:
Take one chord or inversion per week and transpose it into all major and minor chords in the order of increasing the number of accidentals. The way you transpose is by translating the notes into scale degrees of C major or A minor and simply transferring them into a new key.
Make sure you know how to resolve them into tonic chords or inversions. You can sing them, write them, recognize them, and play them. If you choose to play them on the keyboard, try not to go into the next key unless you can play them slowly at least 3 times in a row correctly.
Of course, you can do this on your own, there is no reason why it can't be done. You just have to be very systematic about it and strict with yourself when you will want to quit (and this time WILL come for everyone sooner or later, believe me). But if you want to learn much faster and with less pain, then this course will help you learn the chords efficiently.
Ausra's Harmony Exercise:
Do you have a question about harmony for Ausra? You can reach her by email.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.