Today, I want to cover passing chords.
It’s a topic I get asked about often… but it’s a simple concept once you understand it.
Passing Chords Explained
Passing chords help you get to and from main chords in your progression. They may or may not be in the key you’re in.
They are like connecting devices, making your music more interesting. Sure you can go from C major to A minor to D minor to G7 but there are ways to enhance this progression when you understand passing chords.
One of the most common passing chords is the diminished 7.
Whenever you want to go to the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and even 7th tones of the scale, try placing a diminished 7 chord a half step lower.
So if you’re in C major and you want to go to A minor (the 6th degree of C), you’d ask yourself what is a half step lower than “A” — answer: Ab. You’d simply play an Ab diminished 7 chord prior to your A minor 7.
More Passing Chords
Put a Db dim 7 (or C# dim7) prior to D minor 7:
An Eb dim 7 prior to E minor 7.
Passing Chords Are Simple
Of course, play around with inversions (the order in which you play the chords) and always be aware of your melody.
Adding passing chords is a great way to spice up your progressions.
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