Rootless Left Hand Gospel Chords

This week’s gospel music lesson is called “Rootless Left Hand Chords”

It is about how to comfortably play chords with your left hand that frees your right hand up to do other things like extend the chords or play solos.

I also briefly talk about voice leading with the left hand. The transition from one chord to the next in a smooth way. Usually only moving half or whole steps with the left hand.

Enjoy the lesson and thank you for being a member of the HMPI community.

If you like this lesson then check out this one on Gospel Chords.

 

Gospel Music Lesson of the Week – Creating Contempory Chords

This week’s gospel music lesson is about playing within diminished patterns.  Taking major chords and creating a real contemporary, full sound.

I’ll demonstrate it for you and then break down exactly what I do so you can put this lesson to work right away.

Please let me know what you think by sharing your question or comment below.

If you really like it please share it via your twitter or facebook page.

Thanks for reading.  And caring to improve as a gospel musician.

For more, this lesson is on Gospel Music Chords.

 

Gospel Music Lesson of Week – Contemporary Chord Progression in the Key of Eb

 

This weeks gospel music lesson is on a contemporary chord progression in the key of Eb that can be used for background talking music or simply music to add to the chords and progressions that you already know. Enjoy the lesson and please share with a friend!

For more, this Gospel Music Lesson is about incorporating jazz licks.

Gospel Music Lesson of the Week – Expanding Dominant Chords


This weeks gospel music lesson was a real pleasure to put together.  It is how to take a dominant chord and explore different sounds and possibilities with the chord.  Enjoy and pass along to a musician friend.  Also make sure to check out the HMPI Store for additional resources and to get yourself ready to perform for mom on Mother’s Day.

Gospel Piano and Organ Chord Voicings

 

One thing that I love to hear when listening to an organist or pianist is when the musician really knows how to voice their chords.

A chord voicing is referring to how you arrange the notes within a particular chord. For example I can play a C major chord several different ways.

right hand    CEG

left hand        C

 

right hand    E C

left hand     C  G

 

right hand    GCG

left hand      CGE

There are so many different ways you can voice a particular chord.  Here are a few tips to follow when you are trying to figure out how to voice a particular chord.

 

  • Know or identify what specific notes make up a particular chord

For example a C major chord is comprised of 3 notes which are C, E and G

Now I know that C, E, and G are the notes that I have to work with. Now I will try to arrange these 3 notes to get the best possible sound.

I can use a particular note of the chord only once in my chord voicing.  I can also use a particular note of the chord more than once in my chord voicing. Let your ear be the judge of what is the best chord voicing

 

  • Look for the sweet spot

Take the notes that make up a particular chord and try to arrange them so that they sound just right.

You don’t want your notes to be too low (played to far to the left) which will make your chords sound muddy or cloudy. You also don’t want to play the chord too high (played too far to the right) which will make the chord sound thin.

You want to find what I call the sweet spot, which is the ideal place on the keyboard for the chord that you are playing. Sometimes a combination of high and low works well. Sometimes a very close voicing works well. (Where the notes a very close to each other)

Sometimes an open voicing works well. (Where the notes have larger spaces in between them)

Experimentation is the key!!! You will be surprised at the great things you can find from just experimenting with different chord arrangements.

  • Use Voice Leading


One thing that makes your chords sound good is good voice leading. Voice leading is how smooth the particular notes within a chord move to the notes in the very next chord.

You don’t want to jump around a lot when playing your chords.  Many times the notes within a particular chord don’t have to move more than a half step, whole step, or a third. This gives you a flowing and connected sound when you play your chord progressions. This sounds pleasing to the ear.  When you move from one chord to the next some of the notes may stay the same. Some may go up and some may go down. This is voice leading. The notes of your chords are the voices and you want them to move smoothly to the next notes of the chords.

I also like to think that the notes in my chord are like individual people singing in a choir. When someone is singing in the choir, the notes that the person sings does not have huge jumps and spaces in them. (Jumping from a really high note to a really low note)

That would sound unnatural and would be difficult to sing. Think of your fingers like little singers and you want each finger to move easily and smoothly from one note to the next note within a chord progression.

These are just 3 tips to think about when voicing your chords. I would love to hear your comments. Please let me know if you have any questions or want me to go into greater detail in any of the above mentioned tips.

KH

Lesson of The Week -Praise Chords in F

Thanks for viewing this weeks lesson Praise Chords in F.  Enjoy and please pass along to a musician friend.  Stay tuned for more lessons and instruction.

Playing Chords With Flavor

We all love to hear rich and full sounding chords when people play. It seems like some guys know just what to play, and how to play to really play with a lot of flavor.

Here are a few tips that I use to add more flavor to my chords. 

  • Find The Sweet Spot

I look for the place on the piano or organ that is the optimum place for  a particular chord. Doing something as simple as moving a chord up or down an octave can dramatically enhance the sound of a chord that you are playing.  I look for the place or area on the keyboard where the chord is not too high, or too low but rather just right.  If you play your chords too far to the left your chords can start to sound muddy and if you play your chords too far to the right they can start to sound thin. I love for chords to sound rich, full, clear,

  • Try Different Chord Inversions

Experimenting with chord inversions is another way to really enhance the sound of your chords. An inversion of a chord is to change the position of the notes of the chords while still playing the same note names.

 

The notes are the same but you change the arrangement or position of those particular notes.

A good rule of thumb is that how ever many different notes you have in a particular chord, then that is at least how many different positions that you can play that particular chord.

  • Adding Notes To Chord

Another effective thing to do in order to really add more flavor to your chords are to add additional notes to your chords.

For example: If I am playing a C major chord which are the notes C -E -G.

I love to add the second scale degree of the chord to add a bit of flavor to the chord.

 

C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

C  is the root or 1st scale degree

E is the 3rd scale degree

G is the 5th scale degree

The second scale degree for the C major chord is the note D.

So I would play:

C-(D)-E-G

Adding the 2nd scale degree is an easy way to add flavor to most chords (not every chord)

The 6th scale degree is another note that works well in adding notes to chords (not every chord)

Experimentation is really the best way to discover what works and what does not.

  • Study Other Musicians

I have learned so many wonderful and flavorful chords from other musicians. I am a big advocate for studying great musicians. Learn what they do and how they do it.

This is not to try to copy the person but rather learn how they think about playing. You can learn the concepts that they are using and can apply those concepts and come up with your own unique approach to it yourself.  Or if you really love how they play then copy them. It will be okay. lol But in the process look for your own style and voice when you play.

If you like this post please share it with a friend.

Thanks

KH