In this post, I want to share a cool way to play a 1-chord.
What do I mean by “1-chord?”
It’s simple. Every major key has chords associated with each tone of its scale. For example, the C major’s scale is:
By simply numbering the scale, you get:
C = 1
D = 2
E = 3
F = 4
G = 5
A = 6
B = 7
I could go on to talk about how to form the chords on each tone of the scale, but there are plenty of posts here about that.
So the 1-chord simply falls on the first tone of the scale.
Normally, the 1-chord would be major. In this case, some type of C major chord:
But here’s a little trick you’ll find pros doing.
Instead of going straight to a C major chord, play the major chord of the 3rd tone of the scale over C bass.
In our case, that would be E major over C bass.
This turns the chord into a C augmented major 7 (or Cmaj7 #5). The only thing we’re doing differently is doubling up on the “E” (playing octaves, which means to play the lower and upper E).
Of course, you won’t stay on this chord because it doesn’t quite give you the feeling and resolution of a typical 1-chord. So you’ll move the two middle notes (“G#” and “B”) up one-half step to “A” and “C” respectively:
This turns the chord into a C major 6 or C major (add 6) and sounds really good coming from the previous augmented chord.
So how do you apply this in any key?
1) Press the 1-bass in your left hand.
2) Locate the 3rd tone of the scale and play its major chord on your right hand.
3) Make sure to double up on the lowest note of the right hand by placing it on top as the highest note as well. (E major = E + G# + B + E)
4) Assuming you’ve doubled up on the first note, take the two middle notes and raise them a half-step each to resolve to the Major 6 chord. Keep the bass note the same.
Voila! A chord movement in C major along with step-by-step instructions to take it to ANY key.
For more cool tricks and movements like this, I recommend GospelKeys “Ministry Musician” by world renown gospel musician and producer, Jason White. Click here for more information.