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Piano learning studio - Learn to play piano covers by ear - Chords

September 26, 2017 3 min read 0 Comments

Piano learning studio - Learn to play piano covers by ear - Chords

As a piano practitioner for more than 25 years, playing a piano cover of your favourite song has become second nature. Most of us started off with scores which were available and as we get used to playing the styles of our favourite genre, it becomes evident that the ease of playing a new song cover gets better through experience.

If you love to play a cover of your favourite song in your own style, we'll be sharing some tips that could help you!

Ever felt that you're not familiar with certain chord progressions? Chances are you've not gained enough experience in playing a range of songs. In the modern era, many musicians try to fuse genres and this has made some songs harder to master. It means that you have to understand the styles of different genres in order to get it right!

I always suggest to my students to play a range of songs from available scores. From jazzy tunes to love songs, the more you play, the more knowledge you gain and you'll have an easier time digesting your favourite songs into playable notes.

When learning new songs from music sheets, you'll want pay attention to the following traits:

  • The chord progressions
  • The different variations of the chords
  • The pattern of which the chords are played


Chord progressions

As you pick up more and more types of progressions, you'll have the ability to easily identify the chords for a song of a similar genre. 

For example, the ever popular Canon in C:

In case you're wondering which song is that, here you go:

Canon in C 

C G A E F C F G - This is the simple breakdown of the progression in this beautiful piece of music.


Now take a look at the next example. Behold, your graduation song by Vitamin C

Graduation - Vitamin C

C G A E F C F G - The breakdown of chords for this song.


By the way, there are tons of songs with this same progression, which means by learning just one song, you'll actually be able to play many of the songs with the same progressions and my thoughts are very accurately presented by this rant here:

Pachelbel rant


Variations of chords

To put it simply, I'm referring to the Gsus4, or C7 chords which you see on music sheets. These variations add flavor to your songs. The more you play, the more exposure you get to different variations. Some genres, such as blues and jazz, frequently use 7th chords in their composition. With more experience, you'll soon find yourself using some of these variations even in songs of different genres. From here, developing your personal style in playing piano covers wouldn't be far off.


Style of Chord

There are different ways to play a C major chord:

C E G C - running notes

This is one of the most common ways piano chords are played and would be the first pattern to be picked up by most pianists.





The triad style is considered one of the simplest, pressing down 3 notes at the same time for every beat. Not very common nowadays but you still hear it once in a while. If you watched guardians of the galaxy, this song might be familiar to you:

Mr Blue Sky


As you learn more styles, it becomes second nature to simply mash up the styles according to your interpretation. From smooth and lovely running notes to bold and rich triads, your music will be filled with colors using different expressions portrayed by your playing styles. It is common for musicians to adopt different styles for different sections of their songs.  


As your arsenal of songs grow, so will your skills. Once you've learnt a few of these chord playing tips, you'll find that playing songs by ear isn't actually that hard at all! 


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Sizing Guide for Piano Covers

How to measure pianos and keyboards


Grand Piano & Baby Grand

The biggest physical differentiator between Grand pianos or baby grands is their length. They range from 5" all the way to 8.5". There are also several concert grand models that are even longer in length.

Traditionally, Piano makers have found that longer strings tend to increase instrument power, reverberation and produces the desired tonal characteristics, which gave rise to the popularity of grand pianos. 

Before measuring your piano, please make sure to close the lids and keep the music rest down for a more accurate measurement.


How to measure a grand piano insturctions

Top down view of a grand piano

 Place measuring tape over red line [Measuring line guide]


Length: From the front of keyboard to the center of the tail at the back [ Longest points with the lids closed]

Width: From right to left over the music shelf where the music rest is located [ Longest points with the lids closed ]

Height: From the floor to the tallest point of the piano [Music rest folded down or kept under lid]

*Please note that the lids usually give slight extensions to the piano, it isimportant to account for the full length and width of the grand piano.



Vertical and Upright Piano

Upright pianos, also known as vertical pianos, features a compact frame and vertical strings. They are popular models purchased for home use due to their size and affordable pricing. 

The sizes of these pianos also vary among different manufacturers even though their shape stays relatively similar. Most standard sized upright pianos are around 150-154cm [ 4 feet and 11.055 inches ] in width while junior sized uprights are approximately 148-149cm [ 4 feet and 10.26772 inches ]

Our upright piano covers are designed such that it is able to fit almost all the different models from individual manufacturers. This is due to the overhang design, which also allows easy access to the keyboards. The overhang design has a natural and minimalist approach which provides greater ease and efficiency for the piano user.


How to measure an upright piano photo instructions

Top down view of the upright piano

  Place measuring tape over red line [Measuring line guide]


Width: Measure from left to right over the top of the piano [ Longest points with the lids closed ]

Depth: Measure from front of keyboard to back of piano [ Longest points with lids closed ]

HeightFrom the floor to the tallest point of the piano, usually on the piano lid [ Tallest point with lids closed ]

*Please note that Piano width is often mistaken with the term "piano length" for upright or vertical pianos. Certain electric or digital pianos, such as the Yamaha Clavinova Series, are shaped to look similar to an upright piano. In these cases, they are measured the same way as an Upright piano.



Digital Piano & Keyboards [ 76 - 88 keys ]

The Digital pianos are the smallest in size as they do not require strings to be installed. Portable and full of features, these pianos are highly popular with beginners and experts alike. 

The main difference between a digital piano and a keyboard is their action and size of the keys. Digital pianos are made to resemble the feel of an acoustic piano and they usually come with 88 keys, which is the usual number of keys found on an upright or grand piano.

How to measure a digital or electric piano instructionsTop down view of a Digital Piano / Keyboard


WidthMeasure from left to right over the entire span of the keyboard [ Include the body of keyboard, longest points]

Depth: Measure from front of keyboard to the back

Height: Measure from base of the body to the highest point [ Do not include the music rest ]

Please note that the height of the Digital piano or keyboard does not include the keyboard or piano support stand. Do not measure from the floor up unless specified to do so.  


Piano cover sizes are included in their own description pages. Please don't hesitate to contact us at if unsure of the size suitability of the piano covers.