• 24 Amazing Ways To Play Dominant Chords (Beginners To Advanced)

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    If you’re interested in learning 24 amazing ways to play dominant chords, then this lesson is for you.

    Although there are various classes of chords, major, minor, and dominant chords are commonly used in popular and classical music styles.

    In today’s lesson, we’re focusing on dominant chords – which are long-established passing chords that are used to connect major and minor chords. In addition to that, we’ll be exploring 24 dominant chords – 12 that resolve to major chords and 12 that resolve to minor chords.

    Let’s get started.

    “What Are Dominant Chords?”

    A vast majority of experience players are familiar with the term dominant.

    However, for the sake of those who are NOT properly acquainted with its definition or those who are interested in refreshing their minds on it, we’ll start out in this segment by expounding on it.

    “On The Term Dominant…”

    There are eight degrees in every key – whether major or minor –  and music scholars have technical names they associate with every degree in the key.

    “Check It Out…”

    The first degree (aka – “tonic”)

    The second degree (aka – “supertonic”)

    The third degree (aka – “mediant”)

    The fourth degree (aka – “subdominant”)

    The fifth degree (aka – “dominant”)

    The sixth degree (aka – “submediant”)

    The seventh degree (aka – “subtonic”)

    The eighth degree (aka – “octave”)

    The technical name for the fifth degree in any key is the dominant.

    Dominant Chords Explained

    Dominant chords are formed on the fifth degree of the scale and just like their leading note counterparts they are positional. The dominant chord in the key of C:

    …lies in the fifth degree of the scale – which is G:

    Using the C major scale:

    …the dominant chord can be formed on G:

    …using the pick-skip technique.

    Due to the fact that there are various classes of dominant chords, you’re at liberty to use triads, seventh chords, ninth chords, and thirteenth chords as dominant chords.

    Dominant Triads And Seventh Chords In The Major And Minor Key

    Using the C major scale:

    …as a reference, we can form the dominant triad using the pick-skip technique.

    “Here’s what I mean…”

    Pick G:

    …skip A and pick B:

    …skip C and pick D:

    …and altogether, we’ll have G-B-D:

    …the G major triad.

    Also using the C harmonic minor scale:

    …we can form the dominant triad from the fifth degree (which is also G):

    …using the pick-skip technique. We’ll pick G:

    …skip Ab and pick B:

    …skip C and pick D:

    …and altogether, we’ll have G-B-D:

    …which is also the G major triad.

    The quality of the dominant triad in the major and minor key is major. Therefore, forming a major triad on the fifth degree of any major or minor key produces the dominant triad.

    If we extend the basic G dominant triad:

    …we’ll form the G dominant seventh chord:

    …which is the same quality whether in the major key or in the minor key.

    Summarily, the dominant triad and seventh chord in the major and minor keys are the same. It’s highly recommended that you take out sometime to learn the major and dominant seventh chord qualities in all the keys before you proceed with this study.

    Here Are 12 Dominant Chords That Resolve To Major Chords

    Due to the fact that in the key of C major:

    …the dominant (which is the fifth degree) is G:

    …most of the dominant chords we’ll be learning will be rooted in G and will resolve to C major chords.

    Dominant Chords For Beginners

    Most beginners are usually exposed to triads and seventh chords and that’s what they play most of the time. There are three dominant chords that are commonly played by beginners:

    • The dominant triad
    • The dominant seventh chord
    • The dominant seventh suspended fourth chord

    “Check Them Out…”

    Dominant Chord #1

    The G dominant triad:

    …resolves to the C major triad:

    Dominant Chord #2

    The G dominant seventh chord:

    …resolves to the C major triad:

    Dominant Chord #3

    The G dominant seventh suspended fourth chord:

    …resolves to the G dominant seventh chord:

    …before resolving to the C major triad:

    Dominant Chords For Intermediate Players

    Intermediate players incorporate extended dominant chords like ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords. We’re exploring five dominant chords that are commonly used by most intermediate players:

    • The dominant ninth chord
    • The dominant ninth suspended fourth chord
    • The dominant thirteenth suspended fourth chord
    • The dominant thirteenth add ninth chord
    • The dominant thirteenth flat ninth chord

    “Check Them Out…”

    Dominant Chord #4

    The G dominant ninth chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #5

    The G dominant ninth suspended fourth chord:

    …resolves to the G dominant ninth chord:

    …before resolving to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #6

    The G dominant thirteenth suspended fourth chord:

    …resolves to the G dominant thirteenth add ninth chord:

    …before resolving to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #7

    The G dominant thirteenth add ninth chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #8

    The G dominant thirteenth flat ninth chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chords For Advanced Players

    There are a lot of things to look out for in advanced dominant chords – fourth voicings, larger intervals, altered extensions, and more. We’re exploring five dominant chords that are commonly used by most intermediate players:

    • The dominant ninth chord
    • The dominant thirteenth flat ninth chord
    • The dominant thirteenth sharp eleventh chord
    • The dominant thirteenth chord

    “Check Them Out…”

    Dominant Chord #9

    The G dominant ninth chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #10

    The G dominant thirteenth flat ninth chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #11

    The G dominant thirteenth sharp eleventh chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

    Dominant Chord #12

    The G dominant thirteenth chord:

    …resolves to the C major ninth chord:

     

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Michael Akani

    Please I am a beginner and will like to learn how to play the piano, where should I start from.

    Reply

    2 Awe Oluwatobi

    Start by knowing by getting to know about the keyboard, then move on to scales especially the major scales, then go on to intervals and chords. This can be a starter. Train your hear to learn to follow the most simple songs. Do not forget to read the blogs on hearandplay.com. Look up blogs for beginners on the website.

    Reply

    3 Awe Oluwatobi

    This is great. Thanks bro for adding to my knowledge of dominant chords. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

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