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  • Organ Worship Basics & Chords

    by Jermaine Griggs · 18 comments

    in Organ

    The organ is a lot different from the piano, although the concept of progressions and how chord changes work generally remain the same.

    Basically, a “2-5-1″ progression on the piano is still a “2-5-1″ progression on the organ. For example, in the key of C major, the progression would still consist of some kind of D chord (almost always minor) going to a G chord, finally ending at a C chord. While this doesn’t change on the organ, how you play each particular chord will differ from the piano.

    I would argue that if you understand the way music works… how scales create chords >>> chords create progressions >>> progressions create songs — then you already have a head-start when it comes to picking up a new instrument (…even guitar).

    Don’t get me wrong… there are some differences:

    One major difference between the piano/keyboard and organ is what I call the “third element.” You’re now managing a foot pedal along with both your left and right hands.

    Right off the bat, it requires more coordination. Then… there’s the “don’t lift your fingers” rule and the “slide” technique to make your chords sound smooth. Of course, you have to know how to operate the organ (the drawbars, settings, switches, percussions, etc.).

    With all of this aside, what it all amounts to is the foot and left hand, in my opinion.

    In gospel music, most of us are familiar with playing chords on the right hand. If you play with a band, then you’re probably already accustomed to splitting up your chords into two hands with both your left and right hands constantly at work.

    If you’re solo, then you’ve probably grown to play bass patterns (or power chords) on your left with full chords on your right.

    The organ changes all of this because it gives you a “bass player” (so to speak) — YOUR FOOT!

    The good thing about this is that it frees your left hand up to do many things.

    ==> For example, you can play chords on your left and solo with scales, modes, and “licks” on your right hand.

    ==> You can play a huge chord by starting it on your left and ending it on your right.

    ==> You can take what you are playing on your right hand and play a variation of it on the left hand making your chord sound full!

    ==> You can play the same “lick” on your left and right hands while walking the bass on your foot.

    … and the list goes on.

    So on that note, I want to give you some of the same chord progressions you’ll be learning in GospelKeys 450 – Worship Chords & Voicings!” I warn you… the chords taught in 450 aren’t for the pure beginner.

    Note: You will hear a piano sound on the midi files that accompany these written examples. However, these chords sound best when played on the organ with a foot pedal, left hand, and right hand (exactly as shown).

    Example Chord Progression #1

    First, I’ll give you a 2-5-1 progression..

    “2-5-1″ progressions are very popular and commonly used to end a song or to wrap a verse back around to the beginning.

    They are called 2-5-1’s because each number represents a tone of the major scale you’re playing in.

    C major:

    C D E F G A B C

    C=1

    D=2

    E=3

    F=4

    G=5

    A=6

    B=7

    C = 8 (or basically “1″ again).

    In the key of C major, the 2nd degree of the scale is D. Likewise, the 5th degree is G and if you’re catching on, the 1st degree is C itself.

    So basically any chord based on D (usually minor) going to any 5… then back home to the 1st tone would constitute a “2-5-1″ progression.

    On the organ, this is no different.

    Since there are 12 major keys, there are 12 major keys a chord progression could possibly be in.

    In GospelKeys 450, we’re in the key of Db major.

    Therefore, our numbers would come from the Db major scale:

    Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

    Db = 1

    Eb = 2

    F = 3

    Gb = 4

    Ab = 5

    Bb = 6

    C = 7

    Db = 8 (or basically “1″ again).

    Now for the chord progression:

    Ebmin11 (pronounced “E flat minor eleventh”)

    Left hand: Db F Ab Bb

    Right hand: Db F Ab

    Bass pedal: Eb

    Ab13 (b9)

    Left hand: C Gb

    Right hand: C F A C

    Bass pedal: Ab


    Db 9/6

    Left hand: F Bb

    Right hand: Eb Ab Db

    Bass pedal: Db


    Midi file example (must be logged in):

    http://zone.hearandplay.com/soundexample1

    *With a program like Van Basco’s Karaoke ( http://www.vanbasco.com ), you can load these midi file examples and it will show you exactly what notes are being played.

    Need help? Visit our message board at http://www.hearandplay.com/board

    Example Chord Progression #2


    This next set of chords is also a “2-5-1″ chord progression.

    Ebmin11 (voiced differently)

    Left hand: Gb Ab Bb

    Right hand: Db F Ab

    Bass pedal: Eb

    Ab13 (b9)


    Left hand: Eb Gb A C

    Right hand: F A C

    Bass pedal: Ab

    Db 9/6

    Left hand: F Ab Bb C

    Right hand: Eb Ab C

    Bass pedal: Db

    Midi file example (must be logged in):

    http://zone.hearandplay.com/soundexample2

    *With a program like Van Basco’s Karaoke ( http://www.vanbasco.com ), you can load these midi file examples and it will show you exactly what notes are being played.

    Example Chord Progression #3

    Now, we’ll change things up a little bit and learn examples of the “7-3-6″ progression. In GospelKeys 450, you’ll learn how to apply these progressions in real-life songs. For now, I’ll introduce them just so that you can get an idea of how chords are voiced on the organ.

    Similar to the 2-5-1 progression, the numbers come from the major scale that you’re playing in.

    In our case, it’s Db major:

    Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

    Db = 1

    Eb = 2

    F = 3

    Gb = 4

    Ab = 5

    Bb = 6

    C = 7

    Db = 8 (or basically “1″ again).

    So in the key of Db major, a 7-3-6 progression would be some kind of C chord going to an F chord… then resting on a Bb chord. Let’s check out an example:

    C7 (#9#5)

    Left hand: E Bb

    Right hand: Eb Ab C

    Bass pedal: C

    F7 (#9#5)

    Left hand: Eb A Db

    Right hand: F Ab Db

    Bass pedal: F


    Bbmin9

    Left hand: Db F Ab C

    Right hand: Eb Ab C

    Bass pedal: Bb

    Midi file example (must be logged in):

    http://zone.hearandplay.com/soundexample3

    *With a program like Van Basco’s Karaoke ( http://www.vanbasco.com ), you can load these midi file examples and it will show you exactly what notes are being played.

    Example Chord Progression #4

    Here’s another version of the 7-3-6 progression:

    C7 (#9b5)

    Left hand: C E

    Right hand: Bb Eb Gb

    Bass pedal: C

    F13
    Left hand: Eb G

    Right hand: Bb D F

    Bass pedal: F

    Bbmaj9 (add 6)
    Left hand: D F G

    Right hand: A C D F

    Bass pedal: Bb


    Midi file example (must be logged in):

    http://zone.hearandplay.com/soundexample4

    *With a program like Van Basco’s Karaoke ( http://www.vanbasco.com ), you can load these midi file examples and it will show you exactly what notes are being played.

    Example Chord Progression #5

    My last example has the same purpose as the previous two progressions (…that is, to get you to the 6th degree of the scale). However, instead of using conventional ways to get there like the 7-3-6, it uses the #4 and #5 (”sharped fourth and sharped fifth”) to get to the 6th degree.

    Bass pattern: G >>> A >>> Bb

    G7 / 6 (#5)

    Left hand: F B Eb

    Right hand: F B E

    Bass pedal: G

    Amin7 (#5)

    Left hand: G C F

    Right hand: G C F

    Bass pedal: A

    Bbmin11
    Left hand: Ab C Db F

    Right hand: Ab C Eb

    Bass pedal: Bb


    Midi file example (must be logged in):

    http://zone.hearandplay.com/soundexample5

    Conclusion:

    I hope you enjoyed these worship chord voicings for the organ. As you can see, these aren’t basic chords and may take some time to get used to. However, once you learn the secrets to how these fancy worship chords are constructed, you’re playing will never be the same.

    If you were intrigued by the lesson above, I invite you to check out http://www.hearandplay.com/organ for more information on GospelKeys 350 and GospelKeys 450.

    Until next time!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Related posts:

    1. Playing scales with major seventh chords
    2. 10 Video Lessons On Mastering Worship Chords
    3. The Secrets to Playing Contemporary Worship Music
    4. Chord progression with various altered chords
    5. Another altered chord progression you can try
    6. How to Listen Effectively: The Basics of Relative Pitch
    7. Using Amazingly Simple Patterns to Learn Contemporary Worship Songs



    { 18 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Sunfly

    More great information for those keen to learn how to play the organ.With the organ progressions available to learn at hearandplay.com and the legendary founder Germaine Griggs who,s various courses i recommend as second to non.

    Reply

    2 Valerie Klaassen

    I would like to get my free organ and piano lessons online, and I am sick and tired of having problems getting in the lesson. This is a bumber. Will you please help me. I do not want to download. Thank you very much.

    Cordially,
    Valerie Klaassen

    Reply

    3 divina grace

    where can i find the music sheet of apologize?

    Reply

    4 divina grace

    i also wanted to get some free piano lessons online and its hard for me seek for it.can you please do something about it.thanks.

    Reply

    5 Dean @ Download Brochures

    Hello,
    I have a PC and a turntable. Do I really need an amp to play the music through the PC?
    Really great post, enjoyed reading it. Thanks

    Reply

    6 Rod Alberts

    I found your website when I was trying different key words to see which ones worked best to get to my website ‘albertsoft.com’. I am a software developer and my products are both mathematical and piano organ chord reference. You may find the chord program interesting as it gives 276 left hand chord fingering with 2 mouse clicks as well as the root & 1st & 2nd inversions plus note analyzing to find the names of chords. This software might work well with your lessons since they can create and save chord progressions you show and it will help learn the songs. To see a picture of the chord software plus a free chord reference for C
    search the web using Yahoo and type ‘piano organ chord reference’ or just go to my site directly and click on the piano organ link.
    If you like I will send you a free copy of the software. If you feel it is of interest I would share some of the profits with you if you can help me sell it.
    I am glad that you like church organ music which is what I play. I have a Hammond B3 organ and 10 keyboards that have great pipe organ sounds.
    May the Lord bless you!
    Rod alberts

    Reply

    7 Jean

    I want to learn how to add extra chords to the bass on my organ when playing ballards etc. also fill ins for the treble . which of your lessons would deal with that ? thanks

    Reply

    8 Ruth R Martin @ Learn How To Play Keyboard

    I believe it takes training that becomes a habit with a bit of practice. The brain can develop quickly to take in new things. If you practice anything for the length of 1 month it is considered to be a habit. The keyword here is practice!

    Reply

    9 elpachris

    i really like this website but can u pls throw more lights on chords, major and minor chords. also i wud love it if use tonic solfas; d,r,m,f,s,l,t,d. instead of c,d,e,f,g,a,b,,c.
    THANK YOU AND MAY THE LORD BLESS U.

    Reply

    10 gina v. romero

    hi,

    i want to ask if you can send me a basic organ notes with music mostly songs of carpenters is it ok i need to learn organ chords.

    thank you very much.

    gina

    Reply

    11 steps ANTWI

    love to teacher u but am from Ghana

    Reply

    12 elvis Anorh iyegbe

    pls i need help in paino, i wt u guys 2 show me all d inversions keys in a keyboard and hw to use them.thanks

    Reply

    13 bradford part time

    I appreciate your wonderful words. great information. I hope you produce more. I will carry on subscribing

    Reply

    14 Noah Fayiah

    I need a friend who will really teach me how 2 play these instruments, because I love music so much, but have no idea. I’m from Africa, Liberia and 17 by age.

    Reply

    15 Brochures Derry

    salutations admire your article take a browse of mine

    Reply

    16 Chuka

    I really want to be playing like a professional, i musically talented but i have not be trained to play like professionals. How can i get this (rudiments of chord playing or basic music training) without it interfering with my job as an IT technican.

    Reply

    17 Samuel D Giles Sr.

    where are the organ lessons they were supposed to be updated about every two weeks? Is Kevin alright? Last posted was october 2012

    Reply

    18 Wicked temptations Discount Codes

    Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting tired of Wordpress because I’ve had problems with
    hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of
    a good platform.

    Reply

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