“2 Sounds of Music”


kids or adults, play right now


The “piano improv method” can instantly launch a total beginner or trained music student into playing free improvisation by ear and sight, without reading music. This method is made easy and immediate by applying a new music theory that divides the white piano keys in two sound domains identified by color, ivory white or blue.  

By shifting your playing between keys of the two domains, you can improvise appealing music right now with the 3 components of music: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Right hand melody notes overlay basic left hand harmony chords, played in rhythm counts.
The “piano improv method” works within the “2 Sounds of Music” theory identifying 2 basic sound domains that form the structure of music. Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, & Ti, are the 7 primary notes, and each note is the first of a 3 note (triad) chord. These 7 basic chords divide into 2 sound domains. A sound flow between the 2 domains gives music it’s motion, beauty, expression, and resolution; without it you would hear a form of monotone.

The seven basic three note chords, are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The 1, 3, 5, chords share a common note pattern, so they have a similar tonality forming one unique chord domain.  The 2, 4, and 6 chords share a different set of notes, giving them a similar tonality, and forming a second unique chord domain. (see photos) All these chords have their individual sound, but chords in each domain share a definite commonality of sound.

Improvised play is easy by an intentional flow from chords and notes of one domain, then to the other domain, and continued alternating in rhythm measures.  Seeing the white keys in two colors, gives instant recognition of notes and chords in the two sound domains, and is an amazing aid for immediate improv playing. If you feel putting color on your keys is just too elementary or crude, admit that there is no apology for keys colored black.

All of life is defined by a mysterious interplay of converse interdependent components, the examples are endless; hot or cold, light or dark, happy or sad, spring or fall.  Likewise, the musical sound spectrum is balanced by two complimentary chord groups.


On an amplified speaker, select one of several YouTube audio clips titled “improvise harmony backing track in C”. You will hear two alternating chords (in the key of C ) corresponding to ivory or blue color notes on your keyboard.  Each chord holds through two measures of an eight count rhythm.

This exercise gives you a learning experience of playing random notes in harmony over the alternating chords you hear. You can do it simply by shifting your notes played from one color to the other in rhythm with the track.  Start simply, one or two fingers, then expand to more fingers and both hands.

Most of the tracks start with the 1 chord, ivory color, then shift to a chord of blue notes. You’ll hear harmony if you’re playing on the correct chord, or not. Play mostly notes included within the chord color, but any passing notes will sound fine. As you play, listen to the pleasing resolution between the two sound domains.


To improvise a song, start by finding the song’s most familiar phrase, it’s “hook”, or beginning melodic notes on the scale.  “Sounding out” a melodic phrase is a “trial and error”, ear and finger picking process with right hand notes. Once you have found it, apply left hand chords to create the supporting sound of harmony.  In simplest form, most any song can be played without black keys.

Most songs will start with the one chord (1,3,5 notes), and be followed by the two chord ( 2,4,6 notes). As you play, you can hear the melody making a shift from notes of the 1 chord, to a prominent note that works with the 2 chord, so change chords at that point. The 1 and 2 chords may be all you need to play a song; adding the three chord or maybe the four chord will complete most any song.

When you have grasped the playing of a song’s hook, then find other melodic notes that expand on the song. You can improvise extra phrases using similar notes over the basic chords. Be conscious of shifting between chords and notes of the two sound domains, and feel your rhythmic sense of 8 repeating counts.

Music’s sister art form, painting, also relies on a seven element structure divided in two groups. The seven colors of the rainbow, or the artist’s palette, is recognized in two groups of either warm or cool colors. As with music, successful paintings weave the two complimentary domains together.


Copyright 2020 – Will Caldwell Productions, Sun Valley Idaho