Lecture 3: Key of D

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Hi.  This first key we’re going to go from is the key of D, and the key of D consists of D, E, F sharp, and G, A, B, and C sharp – those are the 7 notes.  So that’s your do re mi fa so la ti do on the key of D, which incidentally is the same do re mi fa so la ti do in the key of C because the key of C is really the blueprint key.  Remember, if you haven’t watched the music theory videos, definitely check them out – it helps to outline that stuff for you and you can better understand what’s going on in these sections.  I really suggest you watch those first, as they give you a good fundamental understanding of this stuff.

So if we start on D, do our whole step, we go to E.  Go ahead and get out your piano diagram if you have one.  If you don’t, go over in the PDF downloads section and download one, and come back and watch this video and all the other videos.  It’s good to have that open in a separate window and handy just to sort of use it as a reference guide.

Anyway, getting back to the key of D, we start with D, we do our whole step, we go to an E, we do another whole step, we go to an F sharp, we do another whole – sorry, half step, and we go to G and do another whole step, we go to A, whole step to B, and then one more whole step to C sharp, which is the 7th [?], and then we do a half step back to where we started again on B.

So the key of D is D, E, F sharp, G, A, B, C sharp - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.  For purposes of this key of D lesson, we’re only going to use the 1, the 4, and the 5, which are the basis for the blues, the basis for rock, it’s the basis for absolutely everything out there is based on 1’s, 4’s, and 5’s – at least the hits are.  It would be a 2, or a 6 like, thrown in there someplace, but normally, it’s just 1, 4, 5 all the way – all the way, all day, all the time.

So these are really good progressions to help you get started very quickly.  Playing stuff that people can recognize, and you know what, what’s really weird is people might recognize what you’re playing, but it’s going to be sort of part of something they heard because these progressions I’m going to show you are so common that they’re going to sort of accidentally intersect with what people already know and understand to be their favorite songs.  So people will be like, “what are you playing”, you know?  And you’ll be like, “well, I’m just messing around”.  And they also serves as good puppets to get good precursors to get into figuring stuff out too, because most – like I said, most songs are based on 1, 4, 5.

Okay, enough.  I’m going to [?].  So let’s start with the 3 chords we’re going to use.  We’re going to use D, which if you download the PDF that corresponds with this video, this is how it is – and you can also just take our quick course on Major, Minor, and Seven Chords video too and watch that.  So this is D, and it includes the A, the D, and then all the strings you’re holding down.  And for those who can’t see my strumming hand down here, strumming is not a big deal.

I mean, you just want to basically, you’re going to hold your pick like this, and you know, if you’re strumming and you want more sticking out at the end, and if you’re picking you want to kind of have it buried in there a little bit more because you want to be able to get into the notes.  But you know, you’re not going to be playing any scales for a while if this is your first time.  So you can just kind of just hold onto it semi tightly and you’re just going to go down, and [?] with this chord in particular, you’re not going to hit the bottom string, so this is off limits – below E.

And just lightly hit the strings, no big deal you know, and don’t try and get too perfectionist about it you know?  You’ll learn and you’ll get there.  I’ve been doing this for about 25, 30 years you know, and I’ve just learned not to try and be too perfect.  That actually kind of messes you up.

So here we go.  Key of D – we’re going to use D, of course, this is D, then we’ve got A7 – and we’re going to use our middle here and our ring here – and then we’ve got G, which is like this.  And contrary to the popular G, which is just the one on the top over here under my ring, I use both of these.  This just puts more fifths into the chord, and makes it sound a little more straightforward.  And this is the third back here under my index.

Okay.  Now as far as transferring goes you know, when you transfer from one chord to another, it can be kind of hard.  But you can make it easy just by basically drawing pathways from notes that you’re already on, to notes that you’re going to go to.  So if a note that’s under my ring finger here in the D chord, I want to stick on this note when I go to G.  You can see that this finger didn’t go anywhere when I did that.  So here’s D, G – I just move my fingers over on the other side, per the diagram on the PDF – here, and here, and then I stuff my – I put my pinky finger underneath my ring finger on the 3rd fret, and then that was the G chord.  Okay?

So D – just do this a few times – G.  D, to G.  And make these movements without even strumming yet, you just want to get the movements down, okay?  And at first it’s going to be really awkward, and if you’re having trouble forming these chords, I suggest you go over to the exercises section and look up some stretching exercises over there you can do, as well as strengthening exercises to help your hands get stronger, fast.  So D, to G.

Okay now, let’s go from D to A7.  So here’s D, A7’s like this, so what are we going to do?  We’re just going to keep this ring finger right here on the 2nd string in, and we’re going to lift up our index and our middle, and we’re just going to slide this back one fret, and this put this back down here.  So let’s do it again – start here – if you need to rewind or whatever, go ahead.  Lift these up, slide it back, this one comes down – that’s it.  Lift it up, slide it back up, and then put these down, and then you’re back to D again.

So I’m going to play a few of the progression on the PDF twice.  I’m going to do it sort of slow, but not too slow.  There’s a file that’s to the right of this video – actually over here – and it’s in the description of this video where you can click on a link and you can download 4 separate audio tracks, each being played at the different beats per minute – that’s BPM, or the definition is BPM.

So you can download the MP3s, get it to 40 beats a minute, 70 beats a minute, 100 beats a minute, and then I think 130 beats a minute – which is really fast.  But it’s a good way to practice so you can practice along with the audio track and you kind of feel like somebody’s playing with you instead of just sitting there trying to hammer it out on your own.

Okay.  So let’s go ahead and get started.  So here’s D, okay?  This is the chord we’re going to start on, and you can jump in at any time, you can just watch if you want, here we go.  1, 2, 3, 4 – and there you go.  That’s 3 chords in the key of D that will take you a long, long way to coming up with some really catchy stuff – to make a long story short.  And you’ll learn more about how to make catch stuff in our songwriting section.

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Lecture 3: Key of D

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