• Gospel Pianists: Don’t Leave Home Without These Essential Chords

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

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    In today’s lesson, we’ll be learning the essential chords used in the gospel music style.

    But before we do so, let’s take a look at the basic concepts in the key of Eb major, where all our references will be drawn from.

    Overview Of The Basic Concepts

    The key of Eb major:

    …has three flat notes in classical music theory – Bb:

    …Eb:

    …and Ab:

    Therefore, if you apply that to all the white notes on the keyboard from E to E:

    …you’ll lower B:

    …to Bb:

    …to form:

    Next, you lower E-E:

    …to Eb-Eb:

    …to form:

    “We’re Not Done Yet…”

    There’s one more flat…and that’s Ab. So you lower A:

    …to Ab:

    …and you’ll have the Eb major scale:

    …with three flats (Bb, Eb, and Ab).

    Attention: The key of Eb major is so unique. All notes are white apart from do, fa, and sol notes, which are Eb, Ab, and Bb, respectively.

    Basic Scales On Eb Major

    There are vital scales you need to know in the key of Eb and here they are:

    The Eb Natural Major Scale

    The Eb Major Pentatonic Scale

    The Eb Blues Scale

    “Are You Ready?”

    The Eb natural major scale:

    …consists of all the notes in the key of Eb major.

    The Eb major pentatonic scale:

    …consists of all the notes in the Eb natural major scale:

    …save the fourth and seventh tones (which are Ab and D respectively):

    The Eb blues scale:

    …is a minor pentatonic scale and is related to the key of Gb major:

    That’s why 5 out of the 6 notes of the Eb blues scale:

    …are in the Gb natural major scale:

    Basic Chords

    Get started with the most basic chords – they are called triads.

    Here’s the numbers to use while forming triads in the key of Eb major:

    There are seven tones in the any key, not eight. The eighth tone is usually a duplicate of the first tone. So the Eb major scale:

    …has two Eb tones:

    …the first:

    …and the eighth (which is the duplicate):

    “So, Here We Go…”

    Eb = 1

    F = 2

    G = 3

    Ab = 4

    Bb = 5

    C = 6

    D = 7

    Using the notes of the Eb major scale, you can form the following chords:

    1 – 3 – 5 = Chord 1

    2 – 4 – 6 = Chord 2

    3 – 5 – 7 = Chord 3

    4 – 6 – 1 = Chord 4

    5 – 7 – 2 = Chord 5

    6 – 1 – 3 = Chord 6

    7 – 2 – 4 = Chord 7

    “Let’s Add Notes To It…”

    1 – 3 – 5 = Chord 1:

    …the Eb major triad.

    2 – 4 – 6 = Chord 2:

    …the F minor triad.

    3 – 5 – 7 = Chord 3:

    …the G minor triad.

    4 – 6 – 1 = Chord 4:

    …the Ab major triad.

    5 – 7 – 2 = Chord 5:

    …the Bb major triad.

    6 – 1 – 3 = Chord 6:

    …the C minor triad.

    7 – 2 – 4 = Chord 7:

    …the D diminished triad.

    Worship Chords In The Key Of Eb

    Now that we’re done with the basics, let’s learn some chords and passing chords that we can play worship songs with.

    Chords Starting On Eb (Chord 1)

    The Eb major [add9] chord:

    The Eb major ninth chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Chords Starting On F (Chord 2)

    The F minor ninth chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    You can turn heads with this one:

    the F minor eleventh chord.

    Attention: First three notes of the F minor eleventh chord should be played on the left hand, while the last four notes should be played on the right hand.

    Chords Starting On G (Chord 3)

    The G minor seventh chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Here’s another one – the G minor eleventh chord:

    Attention: The first three notes of the G minor eleventh chord should be played on the left hand, while the last four notes should be played on the right hand.

    Chords Starting On Ab (Chord 4)

    The Ab 6/9 chord:

    The Ab major ninth chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Chords Starting On Bb (Chord 5)

    The Bb sus4 chord:

    The Bb dominant thirteenth [suspended fourth]:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Chords Starting On C (Chord 6)

    The C minor ninth chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    You can also check this one out:

    It’s the C minor eleventh chord.

    Passing Chords Starting On Eb (Resolving To Chord 4)

    The Eb dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    The Eb dominant thirteenth [add9] chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Passing Chords Starting On F (Resolving To Chord 5)

    The F dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    The F dominant thirteenth [add9] chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Passing Chords Starting On G (Resolving To Chord 6)

    The G dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    The G altered chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Passing Chords Starting On Bb (Resolving To Chord 1)

    The Bb dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    The Bb dominant thirteenth [add9] chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Passing Chords Starting On C (Resolving To Chord 2)

    The C dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    The C altered chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Passing Chords Starting On D (Resolving To Chord 3)

    The D dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    The D altered chord:

    …which can also be played this way:

    Application Of The Chords Learned

    Let’s go ahead and apply the chords learned in a couple of worship songs.

    Song Example #1 – El-shaddai, El-shaddai


    El sha (passing chord 6):

    …ddai, el sha (chord 2):

    …dai, El-ly (chord 5):

    …yon, and Ado (chord 1):

    …nai, age to (chord 6):

    …age you’re still the (chord  2):

    …same, by the (chord 5):

    …power of your (chord 1):

    …name (chord 6):

    El-sha (passing chord 6):

    …ddai, el-sha (chord 2):

    …dai, El-ly (chord 5):

    …yon, and Ado (chord 1):

    …nai, I will (chord 6):

    …praise and lift you (chord 2):

    …high, El-sha (chord 5):

    …ddai (chord 1):

    Song Example #2 – For You Are Glorious

    For you are (passing chord 6):

    …glori- (chord 2):

    …ous and (chord 5):

    …worthy to be (chord 1):

    …praised, you’re the (chord 6):

    …lamb u- (chord 2):

    …pon the (chord 5):

    …throne (chord 1):

    Passing Chord (passing chord 6):

    Unto (chord 2):

    …You I (chord 5):

    …lift my voice in (chord 1):

    …praise, you’re the (chord 6):

    …lamb u (chord 2):

    …pon the (chord 5):

    …throne (chord 1):

    Final Words

    There are are 24 chords and 36 chord voicings in this lesson and I can guarantee you that if you master these voicings, your chordal vocabulary will explode.

    I recommend that you practice these chords in other keys as well.

    See you in the next lesson!

    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.

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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Martin

    WOW! This is a lesson! My chordial vocabulary has exploded already. I thank God the day I met hear and play.

    Reply

    2 Eben

    Ohhh Wow!!!.. Just reading this gets me excited. Then playing this on all keys?? Thanks sooo much sir

    Reply

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