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Archive for the ‘Music Theory’ Category

Piano Chord Tips and Songwriting

Posted by Ms.Tris On April - 11 - 2011

Great morning to you! I am feeling super 🙂 Went to StreetLegal Studios last night for an epic session. Six emcees on a fire track I produced. I will surely keep you posted on this one!! …

I’m onto music theory lessons this morning. I have been working on a few pop type tracks for an artist. I am still having a little trouble doing the melodies before chords. So far it’s been easier for me to work, using chords 1st. Sometimes I have an idea in my head and need to lay it down before anything else. I know the only way to really get this down is to learn more music theory.

I found the perfect site that covers songwriting, theory, and song structure: The site theme is “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”. I’ve read three articles that cleared up some of the chord and theory questions I’ve had for a while. It’s honestly one of the most complete music blogs I’ve read. I’m checking out another article now about What Is The Circle Of Fifths. Not only does author,Gary Ewer, explain theory in an easy manner, he also gives a few chord suggestions to help you understand his post clearly.

Like myself, I know that many of my readers use piano, keyboards, and or keyboard midi controllers. I am sure you will find tons of valuable info atGary Ewer’s blog. Since many aspects of music theory and songwriting are covered; writers, guitarist, and players of other instruments will benefit from the site also. “The Essential Secrets Of Songwriting”

Happy Theory Learning To All!
Pz Til Later!~

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Suggested Reading:How To Read Music

Posted by Ms.Tris On July - 29 - 2010

I am sitting here in awe. I’ve had this book for over a year and finally picked it up again last Sunday. It is written so clear and I honestly learned to read a basic melody in a couple hours.

Looking at music scores has been the same as looking at foreign language for me. I learned a tiny bit of notation when I was in grade school. After a while I just got off the path and into other things. Since I started the site, I have been studying theory much more. I’ve been learning scales, notes, chords, and key signatures. I haven’t learned to read them on a “stave” (the sets of lines where music is written).

I try to explain what I am learning; here, in a way easy to understand. I also share the books and sites I use most. Most of what I’ve shared so far, only uses the alphabetical letters to write or read music. This is cool, but it really relies on memory or having to have references available. Now that I know some music theory basics, it’s time to take it to the next level, (which should have been the first level). It’s time to “read” and understand all the things mentioned above by learning music notation.

If you have the opportunity, remember it’s best to take a few courses on theory. If you are new to music theory, music notation is the way to start. I skipped around notation for many years, and my musical journey has taken me back.

This book cost around 10 bucks, and you can get from the MsTrisMusic Amazon Store:

Thanks to all who have been supporting the site by purchasing from Amazon through MsTrisMusic links

Happy Learning To All
Pz Til Later!~

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How To Make Chords From A Scale

Posted by Ms.Tris On July - 15 - 2010

Good Morn to all! We are finally having clear weather today on the east coast. I have a little to business to handle later, it will be good to get out.

I am back on dirty south beats today before heading out. I have so many artist lined up, and I’m in the mood to compose some advanced chord progressions. I am understanding scales and key signatures, but I am still having problems making chords from scales.

For my first track this morning, I am looking in my books. So far I’ve come up with more progressions from studying a few different piano books. Here is one of my favorites “How To Write Songs On Keyboards”:

It’s become my go to book for chord help lately. I’d also like be able to make “advanced” progressions without the book. I found a great youtube channel with lessons on music theory.. Woo Hoo!

For me the lessons are easy to follow. She uses some traditional methods, as well as non traditional methods. The following video got me going in the right direction fast:

How to Make Chords From A Scale

richardjpugh on youtube
click “see all” and scroll through for music theory lessons…
Check out the whole series when you have time, and I’ll add more over the year..

Happy Beat Making To All
Pz Til Later!~

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Circle Of Fifths?

Posted by Ms.Tris On June - 3 - 2010

Here I am at the keyboard. I have been studying music theory for a little over a year. I am beginning to understand scales ,key signatures, and I know some chord progressions. The thing I have the most trouble with is understanding which chord progressions go with which scale… 🙁 ?

I am on a mission this next blog year. I will make it my business to learn theory enough to write a complete song by notes. After doing a little research, I still asked “where should I start?”

right click to download.. I made it for you today 🙂

The Circle of Fifths seems to be the answer everyone is telling me. I should learn how to use this after learning the 12 notes of the chromatic scale. From my understanding it will help me understand how to use” perfect intervals” to write music. Perfect intervals occur when notes are closely related in pitch and tone, which makes them sound good together. The Circle of Fifths is made up of notes which go up or down by perfect fifths (7 half -steps apart)…cool. the following video will help us understand this concept:

Circle Of 5th’s – Easy Piano Theory Lessons
video by

Let’s learn together on this. DON’T take this one lightly, take time to really get the concept. It’s starting to come together for me after watching the videos… if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section:

Using the Circle of Fifths for Major Keys
video by

Using the Circle of Fifths for Minor Keys

Happy Music Theory Learning To All!
Pz Til later!~

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Easy Way Of Finding Chords On Piano

Posted by Ms.Tris On May - 4 - 2009

Good Morning all…how are you? Did you know it’s been almost a year..yes we are coming upon a one year anniversary. I plan to do something special, a few giveaways, and some free stuff … I am open for suggestions..

A quick note about my music theory post:
I am a producer who started off almost 100% sample based. Any compositions made prior to around 06′ were done by ear. As I continue to grow and learn theory, which I should have done yrs ago.. I will share here. I mention this because I really don’t want music teachers,or those who have studied theory for yrs to think I’m avoiding essential steps in theory. I post as I learn, or post things that I think will help others like myself. If you teach theory or have studied extensively feel free to jump in and help, leave comments and links. Help spread the word and make us better musicians :-)….

Now on to the chords…

photo from

You hear the terms all the time Major and Minor. If you make music you will use a major or minor something. So you dive in and learn a few chords from a book or the net. This is cool and it gets you up and playing. But what happens if you don’t memorize the chords right away. When it’s time to make your next beat you will have to go back to the books.

I admit I am not fast at committing theory to memory. There are a few ways that will help us all build chords when we don’t have the written music and guidelines at hand.

A chord is made using 2 or more notes. The most popular chords consist of 3 notes and are called “Triads”. The concept covered in the video uses the number pattern 4 + 3 or 3+ 4. The spaces in between notes on a piano will be measured in increments of 3 and 4.

Major Chords from root note have a pattern of 4+ 3 and minor chords have a pattern of 3+4. Let’s look at C major and C minor.
C major:
Starting at C count up 4 notes including the black keys, then 3 notes including the black keys.


Using the technique we end with: C E G

C minor:
Starting with C, count up 3 notes including the black keys, then 4 notes including the black keys


Using the technique we end with: C Eb G

So an important thing to remember is: major=4+3, minor =3+4

The following video will help you get a better idea

Video By Brad99r of

Aaah now you’ve got it! Continue to find chords using all the keys, and of course practice, practice, practice..

Happy Chord Finding To All
Pz Til Later!~

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A Few Questions About Theory and Finding Music: R&B

Posted by Ms.Tris On January - 7 - 2009

R&B Producer Rodney “Dark Child ” Jerkinss

Hey everybody! I had some really good questions ending out last year. I usually answer them in the comment section. Recently I started using post to get the word out to everyone. I can’t do this for all comments, but some which are about theory, hardware and software in general, or that several people need help on.

Here are a few about R&B, but covers music theory in general.

I’m beginning to learn music theory and I seem to be having very little luck
formulating an R&B/Ballad type of song, I was wondering if you could give me any
pointers.2nd I was wondering how do I find out what key a song is in, because I
listen to r&b and soul music and can’t seem to figure it out.Last but not least
where do I find import european soul that you once mentioned. I know I’m asking
a lot of questions but you seem to be a wealth of knowledge and I wouldn’t ask
if I hadn’t already tried to figure out on my own. Well Thanks in advance

When I create R&B tracks, I usually start with the melody and follow with the chord progressions. If you listen to some of today’s R&B you’ll notice that there really isn’t too much going on. Some of the main ingredients are: melody, bassline, and a few harmonic chord progressions. The song format is pretty similar to hiphop, rock, gospel and other genres: Song Intro, Verse, Chorus/Hook, Verse, Bridge, Chorus/hook, Outro. Some R&B may have 3 Verse or only 2 Verses which are paired with the other sections. Song structure is actually up to the producer, but usually follows a mix of the above formats . The most important part of R&b is usually the vocals. Let’s take a listen to ” Say My Name” Destinys Child produced by Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In this ” Say My Name” snippet, Rodney has: Intro, Verse, Bridge, Chorus/Hook. They are quite obvious to hear. 28 sec a change occurs from intro to verse, 58 sec verse to bridge,1:11 secs bridge to chorus.
This was released in 99, but it’s still one of my favorite R&B tracks. You can hear Rodney’s “Key/ Key Signature” of the song in the first verse. Finding the correct key usually takes a bit of knowledge about major and minor scales. Learning scales through playing and listening will help you identify the “Key or Tune” much faster. For us newbies in theory there are other ways which will take a bit of ear training.
Here are two videos that will lead you in the right direction. Both require playing or humming a music source, listening, and trying to recreate the melody by humming, playing or singing the “main” melody. It’s sort of hard to put into words but you will understand after watching..

How to determine the key of a song (PIANO) by:

PianoPodDotCom Youtube
The song is actually ” Strangers In The Night” but the basic concept can be used for many genres including R&B :-)..

The next one is from
He uses “Happy Birthday” as example..we all know that one…

After listening and using the techniques in the videos, I found ” Say My Name” is in the Key of “C”

Now for the European Soul Question: Crate diggers would bash me if I told you specifics .. 🙂 ..but for my readers I go far beyond the norm..well at least a step out of “the secret box”… I will give a couple sponsored sources, then you can have fun digging for your treasures…**when you by from, or sign up through the site links you help sponsor which is greatly appreciated**

Amazon has made it easy to buy World Music and there are a lot of snippets to listen to here:

Amazon World Music

Another great resource for finding World Music is a paid service with thousands of songs to download and browse full length: Real Rhapsody

You noticed I used the term World Music, but try looking for international music as well. Once you are in the main category try searching in the “Pop” genres of World/International. From here you can get valuable info on the labels that released the songs, even find precious vinyl over the net.

Now it’s time to get to my first full day back to music this year..

Happy Music Creating and Finding!
Pz Til Later

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Beginner Chords, Scales, and Progressions: A Closer Look

Posted by Ms.Tris On October - 10 - 2008

I have my book open today: I must say it’s one of the best 7 bucks spent. I’ll be making a Dirty South beat in a few. I am beginning to really understand chord progressions finally. I’m leaning more, and more toward starting beats with chord progressions. For me, I find it easier to follow a chord progression with a melody rather than melody 1st, chords second. The book includes pictures of all the chords in one scale, for example:C Chords = all the major, minor, aug etc. with images of the root position, 1st , 2nd , and 3rd inversions.

In the beginning of the book are all the scales in each key signature.There are also pictures showing which piano keys make up each chord. There are letters printed on the keyboard, as well as a staff showing proper written notes.

Here is what the one of the chord pages looks like:

It’s super important to keep up with study and practice in order to learn various terms and modes of music. This is why I mention books and various music sites all the time. Recently, I’ve made a little schedule for myself, adding time for music theory at least 3 times a week.

Read the rest of this entry »

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About Me

Introducing Ms.Tris Beats a Hip Hop Producer, Artist,and Blogger from Baltimore, MD. Currently producing for a host of Maryland\'s hottest Mc\'s, and artist from all over the country. Her music is in demand to the who\'s who in Baltimore Hip hop. Please enjoy your visit as Ms.Tris takes through her musical journey of production, hiphop and life....



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