Learn about keys, chord progressions and tempos as you play a five-piece string band with one finger and sing along.
Fun and educational, it is the door into music for those who don’t play a regular musical instrument and a useful tool for those who do.
This free educational music app is ideal for families. Even non-musical parents will be able to share it with their children.
Song sheets and full instructions are provided below.
CountryDIY – Your Tap-n-Play String Band – is a free songwriting tool as well as a DIY karaoke app.
Tap the Playing Screen button.
The Playing Screen shows a family of chords in one key.
These are the typical chords for this key in most Country/folk/pop/rock/blues music.
The default key is C major – visible in the centre of the horseshoe shape of chord buttons.
This is the ‘tonic’ or Key Chord.
Note the key name display beneath the central chord location.
Each button displayed on the horseshoe of buttons has the name of a different chord. When you tap one of these chords it moves to the center and begins to play.
With the sound on you can experiment with the different moods each chord produces.
Chords with a single letter are major chords. They sound strong.
Chords with a letter followed by ‘m’ are minor chords. They tend to sound sadder, more reflective than major chords.
Chords with a letter followed by ‘7’ are dominant seventh chords. They feel as though they need to resolve by moving to another chord.
This chord is followed by the flat symbol. It is a major chord, in this case B flat major.
Note the guide button at the bottom.
The guide suggests chords you might like to use.
The blue lines indicate the strongest chords in the key.
The yellow ones are next strongest.
The green ones are neutral, but are quite common chords to move to.
The guides are only suggestions. Of course, you can use any chord you think is best.
Using the Key Chord and the blue and yellow chords you have the famous ‘3-Chord Trick’ with which you can play a million songs.
In this case the chords are C major, F major and G major.
A series of chords for a song is called a chord progression.
Try these chord progressions with the sound on, letting each chord sound for a few moments and repeating the whole thing for a while.
Try humming to it to see if it brings a song to mind which you can work on!
Notice that the chord changes happen when you lift your finger off the screen, not when you tap it.
This is another common chord progresson.
Put a song title plus ‘chords’ in your search engine to find the chord progression for any song.
Tap the Key Screen button.
You can choose from six major keys and three minor keys.
They are all typical keys for Country/folk/pop/rock/blues music.
You choose the key to suit your vocal range.
Tap the key you want and then tap the Menu button.
If you navigate to the Playing Screen you will notice that the band is playing in the key of E major.
If you put the guide on you will see that the patterns are the same for all major keys.
The relationships between each major Key Chord – ‘tonic’ – and its family of chords is always the same.
These chord progressions share exactly the same relationships.
The only difference is that the C – F – G – C chord progression is pitched slightly lower than the D – G – A – D progression, and so might suit a lower voice.
This is true for the three minor keys too – though they have different patterns from the six major keys.
Tap the Tempo Screen button.
The number between the arrows is the Tempo in BPM – Beats Per Minute.
Tap the Up Arrow to increase the tempo.
Tap the Down arrow to slow the tempo
Tap the 3/4 button to play in waltz time and the 4/4 button to play in sqare time.
Tap the Band Screen button.
Use the sliders to balance the sounds.
Don’t want an instrument in this lineup? Put it in its case for a while. Listen to each instrument on its own and experiment with volume levels and combinations of instruments.
The chord symbols are normally written above the words.
When a chord changes it does so when you sing that word.
The chord stays the same until you reach a word with a chord symbol above it and then it changes.
Sometimes the chord doesn’t change for ages.
Don’t forget that the chord doesn’t change when you tap it, but when you lift your finger off the screen. You’ll soon get the hang of this with a little practice.
Try playing with only guitar at first and bring in the other instruments gradually.
SONGS TO GET YOU STARTED
A Commitment to Excellence
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