Many people ask me how I know what chords to go to when I’m playing a song by ear.
First you must realize that it’s all about “hearing” the chord changes during a song. If you listen to the radio, you have to realize that every song you hear doesn’t have just ONE chord that is played throughout the song. In fact, songs that involve many different types of chords are very beautiful. So, when you play by ear, you must train your ear to “hear” when you need to switch chords. Which chord you change to will come easier as you learn chord patterns that are the same among many songs and how to train your ear to “hear” what chord will come next. That is a great start.
And yet, that is not the only thing you must know in order to play by ear. Even though it is very helpful, you must also possess a knowledge of the piano (scales, chords, etc.). Here’s some things to know in order to know what chords to go to when playing a song by ear.Navigate to learning piano online website
1. Learn the major scales and chords first in order to be able to change between chords quickly.
2. Learn the three major chords that are typically used for each key and be able to move to and from each of them quickly.
3. Learn the “pattern” that many songs follow among the three major chords for the key you are playing in.
That pattern is: *1–*4–*1–*5–*1
Another common pattern is: *1–*4–*1–*2–*5–*1–*4–*1–*5–*1
4. Using the three major chords,”sing” the melody to songs you know and change between them, using your “ear” to decide which chord will come next. You can also do this with your favorite songs on a CD.
Using these four steps will help you “train” your ear to hear the chord changes. Then, as you begin learning many other types of chords (such as minor, augmented, seventh, major7, sixth, second, etc.) and when to use them, you’ll be able to hear where they go as well.
For example, many songs that are played using the *1–*4–*1–*5–*1 chord change can be “spiced” up using the following chord changes: (Note: m stands for minor)