Popular Music Lesson


You must be logged in to comment.

Loading comments

Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph
Hoffman. Today we're learning how to add
chords to the chorus of "Firework" so if
you haven't already learned how to play
the melody of "Firework" in my other
lesson you probably want to do that
lesson first, unless of course you have a
friend who knows how to play the melody.
In that case your friend could play the
melody while you play the chords and it
will make an awesome duet. Whatever you
decide to do let's get started learning
the chords. Today we can make "Firework"
sounds so much cooler by adding chords.
So you'll recall our right hand is here
in the G major pentascale. First G
above middle C. Left hand is going to
start off on this low G. Sometimes I call
it ground G because you can see on the
staff it's this bottom line of the bass clef,
and this song uses what's called power
chord. It's open fifth, so it's the
distance of five notes, which is called a
fifth in music. So I will call the chords by
its bottom name, but there's always going
to be a fifth above that, so if I say a G
chord I mean play a G and a fifth above,
which is B, just using fingers one and
five. Now you'll see in each measure we
have the chord repeated four times with
quarter notes, so we'll keep a very
steady beat. We have four G chords, one two
three four, then four A chords, one two three four,
then four E chords, so we've got to shift
our hand down to E, 1 2 3 4, then four C chords,
all the way down here on low C, 1 2 3 4 then
shift back and we repeat that pattern
again. four G chords, four A chords, four E
chords, four C chords. Now I'd
like you to press pause and practice
that on your own about five times. Count
out loud one two three four and let's
make these chords staccato. You'll see
that little dot under each note. That
indicates staccato
so it has a nice driving sound. This
would be the electric guitar part, so we
wanted to have a really strong gutsy
sound. Okay press pause, practice on your
own, then press play when you're ready to
go on.
Great, now let's try putting this
together. I'd like you to play the chords
with your left hand while I play the
melody with my right hand. I'll also play
the chords along with you too. I'd like
you to count out loud, one two three four,
and that will help you stay focused on
your part because what's going to happen
when I'm playing the melody, it's going
to distract you, and I want you to really
stay focused on four beats on each chord
the moment you start your chords is on
the word fire. Firework. Ok so when I get
"baby you're a" and then on "fire" that's when
you start the chords. Baby you're a play. All
right let's try it. So get your left hand
in position and when I get to the word
fire, you start and count one two three
four on each chord, here we go. Baby you're a
Good. Now if that didn't go perfectly that's fine.
Just rewind and try it again, or pause
and practice on your own. Once you can do
that comfortably with me you're ready to
try this next section. You'll see in the
next measure we shift from playing
quarter note chord to eighth note
chords where now it's going to be 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. Ok now
it's eight notes per measure or we've
got these eight notes 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4
now if that's too fast and feels
uncomfortable for you then you can stick
with quarter notes the whole time, like
this, but if you want to ramp up the
energy there, baby you're a firework, it's important when you're
playing these chords that you keep a
loose wrist. For example when you're
doing these fast eighth notes if you
play with a stiff arm and wrist you're
going to get really sore and it's going
to make kind of an ugly sound. You want
to kind of bounce. keep your wrist loose
as you're playing, just think really kind
of floppy and bouncy, 1 2 3 4. Don't worry
about playing it too loud. All right? So
let's try the chords starting here in
this measure. Cover up a G and now we're
going to say one and two and three and
four and so there's an and in between
each number, and then we shift up to the A,
it's the same pattern as before, G chord
A chord E chord C chord. Let's start on
the G chord. Count out loud with me one
and two and three and go one two three
four A chord 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, E chord, to the
C chord, repeat, [counting]
Once again if you find your hand
getting really stiff, or your arm, then
maybe you want to just stick with
quarter notes 1 2, 1 2 3 4. to do it this faster
speed you really have to keep your wrist
loose. All right so press pause, practice
that a few times, then press play when
you're ready to play along with me doing
the melody.
Okay, I'll take care of the melody and
chords, I'd like you to do just the chords.
We're going to start on this measure
where the left hand jumps to eighth notes
one and two and. I'll play the melody remember
you start when I get to the word "fire."
Here we go. Baby you're a [counting]
All right good job. If that didn't go well just rewind and try again
or press pause and work on it on your
own. Now as I mentioned you can do this
as a duet. You can have a friend play the
melody while you play the chords just
like in a rock group you've got someone
doing the singing, someone's playing the
guitar. You've got two parts that you're
putting together, or if you want to put
it hands together you can do that too.
It's important to look at how long
you're holding the notes in the right
hand, which is why I had you count it in
our last lesson, while your left hand is
doing the chords. Let's take a look at
that. If you'd like to try it hands
together then keep watching. In this
first measure we've got, baby you're a, then the
left hand plays the chords 1 2 3, and then
we play together here, -re work, and then
the left hand comes up, one two "come on show 'em" one two three
"you're worth" one two, okay? So look at when the notes
line up over each other, and that's when
they play together. Sometimes one hand,
usually the right hand, is holding a note
while the left hand keeps going. Whenever
they're lined up together they play
together, so watch this one more time.
Now press pause and try that hands together
on your own. go really slowly at first.
May take a lot of tries but stick with
it, then press play when you're ready to
go on.
Now let's look at this next section.
We're still on the C chord. We've got
"make 'em go" now on "ah" we play together
"ah," then the left hand plays, then the right
hand plays, left hand, and then together,
and it's one and two and three and four
and. So watch that again we're together,
left, right, left, together. Can you say
that with me? Let's say it out loud. We
have together, left, right, left, together.
Will you try that with me? So the right
hands repeating A, the left hands playing
this G chord. Let's try together three
times. This is a tricky rhythm. Ready, go.
Together, left, right, left, together. Again.
Together, left, right, left, together, one
more time, go, together, left, right, left,
together, and then right after that the
left hand goes up to A. Now before our
left hand was helping with this D, but
now our right hand's going to have to shift
down to play "as you" and then quickly
glide up to this D "as you shoot." All right,
watch that again. I'm starting on the
measure where the left hand's on the A
chord. We have one, right hand glides down
to this D, "as you," then glides up "shoot"
one, "As you shoot across the sky -y -y" one two, "Baby you're a"
that's the moment the left hand shifts
gears to the eighth notes.
Now getting this hands together is going to take some
serious practice so slow it down, take
your time, and rewind and watch as many
times as you need to. Let me show you a
way that you can end this. Again this is
just an excerpt, a little part of
"Firework." When you get to "awe, awe, awe" then what you
can do, and this is how the actual song
ends, is you have "da da da da da da da da." Just use the right hand
and left hand and play four notes stepping
down, C B A G, C B A G, that would make a great
ending. Alright, I'll show you the whole
thing hands together from the top of the
chorus, one, two,
Way to go learning the chords for
"Firework." I hope you have lots of fun
playing this song and I can't wait to
see you next time.