Lesson 20

Frog in the Middle: Adding Chords

You must be logged in to comment.

Loading comments

Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
You've probably noticed, I've got the frog family back with me today.
That's because we're going to learn how to add chords to "Frog in the Middle."
A chord is when you play two or more notes at the same time.
It's a more advanced technique that will make your piano playing
sound much more interesting and professional.
So, let's come to the piano to learn how to play chords.

A chord is when you play two or more notes at the same time.
So, you can have a two-note chord like this, where I'm playing C and G
at the same time, or a three note chord like this, or an eighth note chord,
or you could even have, like, a–I don't know, twenty-three note chord.
In college, I actually learned about a composer named Henry Cowell,
who wrote a lot of piano music where you're literally supposed to play it
with your whole arm, like this. But today, let's learn how to do a two-note chord
with fingers 1 and 5 on C and G, two notes together. And, to practice this,
I'd like you to find a flat surface. I'm going to use my piano lid,
but you can use the table or anything that's nice and solid and flat.
And, I'd like you to practice just touching with your finger 1 and your finger 5.
Touch whatever flat surface you're on with those fingers,
while fingers 2, 3, and 4 gently float in the air. And just practice touching.
Remember, your finger 5 is going to touch near the tip.
Your finger 1 is going to point sideways, and you're just going to touch
and then float by, lifting your forearm and letting everything go limp and relaxed,
because it's very important you relax after playing a chord:
Touch, then float, touch, then float, touch, and float,
and you want only your fingers 1 and 5 to touch, because those are the fingers
that are going to play the chord.

Now, let's try it with our left hand. So take your left hand finger 5.
Remember to play near the tip, and your finger 1,
which is going to kind of point sideways, and touch with those 2 fingers
while fingers 2, 3, and 4 float in the air. Touch, and then float your hand and arm.
Touch, and then float. Touch, and then float. Now try with both hands.
Touch with your fingers 1 and 5. The other fingers float in the air:
touch, float, touch, float, touch, float. Let's try it on the piano keys.
When you play the piano, it's most often your left hand
that's going to play the chords. So let's try it first with our left hand.
Take your finger 5,. Remember to play near the tip. Your finger 1 on G.
So you're in the C major pentascale, but you're only playing C and G.
Play those two at the same time. Drop and then float, and try and use gravity.
Remember, arm weight is going to help those notes go down.
So you just kind of drop, and then float. Drop and float. Try it with me.
Drop, float, drop, float, and when you float, you don't have to go
way up high in the air. Just enough to let go and let the arm and wrist relax.

Now let's try it with the right hand.
Find a C major pentascale with fingers 1 and 5 on C and G.
I'm going to let your other fingers float slightly in the air...drop.
Use gravity to make those notes go down and then float up. Try it with me:
drop, and then float up and relax. Drop, float, drop, float.

Now, let's try it with both hands. I'm going to drop and float, drop, float, drop, float.
Great job. Now we're ready to try playing chords with "Frog in the Middle."
I'd like you to use your left hand. Find a C and G chord.
And, what we're going to do is just play chords with the left hand
while we sing the melody. You're going to play a chord every time you sing
the word "frog," and also once on each word for "can't catch me."
Let me show you what this will look like. You can just watch this time:

♫ Frog in the middle, ♫
♫ Frog in the sea, ♫
♫ Frog in the middle,
♫ Can't catch me. ♫

So notice, when I sang the word "frog," I play a chord at the same time,
and then the chord holds down while I sing the other words
♫ Frog in the middle. ♫
Notice how, while I'm singing, the chord keeps going. Now will you try with me?
Use your left hand find this position, and whenever we sing the word "frog,"
that's where you'll play a chord. So get your left hand ready to play chords.
Sing and play with me, ready, go:

♫ Frog in the middle, ♫
♫ Frog in the sea, ♫
♫ Frog in the middle,
♫ Can't catch me. ♫

Great job. Now, let's try it with the right hand. Once again,
we're going to sing "Frog in the Middle" while we play chords on the word "frog,"
and then on "can't catch me," and then just hold it down for all the other words.
Get your right hand ready, sing and play the chords, ready, go:

♫ F ...