• Passing Chords 103: Application Of Passing Chords In Hymn Songs

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Gospel music,Piano,Playing By Ear,Playing songs,Theory

    Post image for Passing Chords 103: Application Of Passing Chords In Hymn Songs

    If you’ve always wanted to learn passing chords that you can apply to hymn songs, then you’ve arrived at the right page.

    Every serious pianist must properly understand passing chords and how their application can spice up the harmonization of all songs and not just hymns alone.

    In today’s lessons, I’ll be taking you by the hand and showing you step-by-step, how you can take the hymn segment of the church service to another level by introducing a couple of passing chords and spicing up your hymn arrangements with it.

    At the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to use passing chords to spice up hymns like Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior, I Need Thee Every Hour, and so on.

    Although this lesson is written with beginners in mind, experienced players can benefit as well.

    A Short Note On Hymns

    I’m aware that in the 21st century, there’s been an evolution of several contemporary approaches to hymn songs. It’s also possible to attend a church service where hymns are not used in worship for certain reasons and that’s fine.

    However, there’s no gainsaying the fact that hymns are an integral part of christian worship because there are hymns for every season (Christmas, Easter, and so on), time of the day (morning, noon, night, and so on), message (repentance, forgiveness, and so on)

    From the structure of hymns to it’s melody and harmony, hymns are purely liturgical and believe it or not, hymn songs have a way of creating a worship atmosphere.

    If you’re lucky (like me) to belong to a denomination where hymns are sung, then you have to be thankful because you’re about to learn a couple of chords and progressions that can help you spice up the hymn segment in a worship service, especially if you’re stuck to the basic version.

    A Quick Review On Passing Chords

    A passing chord is a chord that connects two scale-degree chords.

    In the key of C major:

    …the F major triad:

    …and G major triad:

    …are scale degree chords of the fourth and fifth degrees respectively. These adjacent scale degree chords can be connected using a passing chord.

    The strongest passing chords are usually unstable chords that resolves to the target chord.

    In the case of chords 4 and 5 above, the target chord is chord 5. Consequently, the best option of passing chords should be an unstable chord that resolves to chord 5.

    Chord 5 is the G major triad:

    …and the strongest passing chord to the G major triad is the D dominant seventh chord:

    In a nutshell, instead of playing two diatonic chords – the F major and G major triads, both chords can be linked up with the D dominant seventh chord thus…

    The F major triad:

    …the D dominant seventh chord (passing chord):

    …and G major triad:

    A Short Note On The Strongest Chord Progressions

    For the past 500 years, chord movement in descent of fifth intervals have always been the strongest. A very good example is the movement from chord 5 to chord 1, which in the key of C major:

    …can be played as the G dominant seventh chord:

    …to the C major triad:

    The movement of the dominant chord to the tonic chord is the strongest progression in tonal music, and this explains why jazz, gospel and classical musicians use it to end songs 95% of the time.

    In the case of connecting the F major and G major triads in the key of C major, we introduced the D dominant seventh chord as a passing chord to the G major triad because the D dominant seventh chord is the secondary dominant of the G major triad.

    Due to the fact that we’ve covered the ins and outs of passing chords in previous lessons:

    …we’ll get right into the application of passing chords to hymns songs.

    The Application of Passing Chords In Hymns

    Please be informed that we’ll be covering four of your favorite hymns in this segment:

    Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior

    I Need Thee Every Hour

    It Is Well With My Soul

    Blessed Assurance

    …brace yourself!

    Hymn #1 – Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior

    “Here’s The Basic Version Of The Hymn…”

    Pass me:

    …not O gentle:

    …sa-a-vior:

    …hear my:

    …hum:

    …ble:

    …cry:

    While on:

    …others thou art:

    …ca-all-ing:

    …do not:

    …pass me:

    …by:

    Sa-a-vior:

    Sa-a-vior:

    …hear my:

    …hum-ble:

    …cry:

    While on:

    …others thou art:

    …ca-all-ing:

    …do not:

    …pass me:

    …by:

    “Here’s A Spicier Version Using Passing Chords…”

    Pass:

    …me:

    …not O gentle:

    …sa-a:

    …vior:

    …hear my:

    …hum:

    …ble:

    …cry:

    While:

    …on:

    …others thou art:

    …ca-all:

    …ing:

    …do not:

    …pass:

    …me:

    …by:

    Sa-a:

    …vior:

    Sa-a-vior:

    …hear my:

    …hum:

    …ble:

    …cry:

    While:

    …on:

    …others thou art:

    …ca-all:

    …ing:

    …do not:

    …pass:

    …me:

    …by:

    Hymn #2 – I Need Thee Every Hour

    “Here’s The Basic Version Of The Hymn…”

    I…

    …need thee e-very hour:

    …most gra-cious:

    …Lord no:

    …ten-der voice like:

    …thine can:

    …pe-e-ace a:

    …fford, I:

    …need thee O I:

    …need thee:

    …e-very hour I:

    …need thee O:

    …bless me now my:

    …sa-vior, I:

    …come to:

    …thee:

    “Here’s A Spicier Version Using Passing Chords…”

    I need:

    …thee e-very:

    …hour:

    …most gra-cious:

    …Lord no:

    …ten:

    …der voice like:

    …thine can:

    …pe:

    -e-ace a:

    …fford:

    I:

    …need thee O I:

    …need:

    …thee:

    …e-very hour I:

    …need:

    … thee O:

    …bless me now my:

    …sa:

    …vior:

    …I:

    …come:

    …to:

    …thee:

    Hymn #3 – It Is Well With My Soul

    “Here’s The Basic Version Of The Hymn…”

    When…

    …peace like a ri-ver a:

    …tte-en:

    …deth my:

    …way, when:

    …sorrows like:

    …sea billows:

    …row, what:

    …ever my:

    …lot, thou has:

    …taught me to:

    …say it is:

    …well, it is:

    …well with my:

    …soul, It is:

    …well, it is:

    …well, with my:

    …soul with my:

    …soul, It is:

    …well, it is:

    …well with my:

    …soul:

    “Here’s A Spicier Version Using Passing Chords…”

    When…

    …peace like a:

    …ri-ver a:

    …tte-en:

    …deth my:

    …way:

    …when:

    …sorrows like:

    …sea billows:

    …row:

    …what:

    …ever my:

    …lot:

    …thou has:

    …taught me to:

    …say:

    …it is:

    …well:

    it is:

    …well:

    …with my:

    …soul:

    It is:

    …well:

    …it is:

    …well:

    …with my:

    …soul:

    …with my:

    …soul:

    It is:

    …well:

    …it is:

    …well:

    with my:

    …soul:

    Hymn #4 – Blessed Assurance

    “Here’s The Basic Version Of The Hymn…”

    Bless-ed a…

    …ssurance:

    …Jesus is:

    …mine, O what a:

    …foretaste of:

    …glory di:

    …vine, Heir of sal:

    …va-tion:

    …purchased of:

    …God, Born of his:

    …spi-rit:

    …washed in his:

    …blood:

    This is my:

    …sto-ry:

    …this is my:

    …song, praising my:

    …sa-vior, all the day:

    …long, This is my:

    …sto-ry, this is my song, praising my:

    …sa-vior:

    …all the day:

    …long:

    “Here’s A Spicier Version Using Passing Chords…”
    Bless-ed a…

    …ssurance:

    …Jesus is:

    …mine, O what a:

    …foretaste of:

    …glory di:

    …vine, Heir of sal:

    …va-tion:

    …purchased of:

    …God, Born of his:

    …spi-rit:

    …washed in his:

    …blood:

    This is my:

    …sto-ry:

    …this is my:

    …song, praising my:

    …sa-vior, all the day:

    …long, This is my:

    …sto-ry, this is my song, praising my:

    …sa-vior:

    …all the day:

    …long:

    Final Words

    Getting to this segment shows me that you’re serious about learning how hymn songs can be spiced up using passing chords.

    Feel free to apply the passing chords used in the hymn examples to other hymns. Above all, transpose the hymns we covered in this lesson to other keys as well.

    I’ll see you in another lesson where we’ll be taking our first step to the reharmonization of your favorite hymns.

    All the best!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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.

    songtutor600x314-3jpg



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Martin

    Very nice explanation of passing chords/secondary dominates. The use of the graphics verses spelling out the chords was fantastic. I really appreciate the use of the lyrics since I rarely know the lyrics to ANY song.
    Also, having the lyrics helps to associate the melody to the chords used for the harmony. Especially helpful when reharmonizing.
    Love your blogs,
    Thank you.

    Reply

    2 zino

    great

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: