• Quick Insights On The Application Of Passing Chords

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    Quick Insights On The Application Of The Passing Chords

    Let’s quickly take a look at how the essential passing chords we covered earlier are applied in the major key.

    Application Of Passing Chords To Major Chords

    In the major key, there are three scale degrees where major chords are found:

    The first tone (major chord)

    The fourth tone (major chord)

    The fifth tone (dominant chord)

    “Take Note…”

    Although the chord of the fifth degree is a dominant chord, however, it is classified as a major chord because the key factor to consider in the classification of chords according to major and minor is the interval between the first and third tones.

    A chord is classified as a major chord if the interval between its first and third tones is a major third interval and that’s true for the chords of the first, fourth, and fifth tones.

    “Now, Back To Our Discourse…”

    The passing chords to major chords we learned earlier can basically be applied as passing chords to the chords of the first, fourth, and fifth tones (which are actually major chords.)

    So, there’s a passing chord designed for every major chord in the key:

    The passing chord to the chord of the first tone

    The passing chord to the chord of the fourth tone

    The passing chord to the chord of the fifth tone

    “Pay Attention To This…”

    The chord of the first tone is a major chord, right? Consequently, it can be preceded by any of the essential passing chord to major chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    “Here’s How It Works…”

    In the key of C major:

    …where the C major seventh chord:

    …is the chord of the first tone (which is C):

    The C major seventh chord can be preceded by any of essential passing chord to major chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    A fifth above C:

    …is G:

    Consequently, any of the essential passing chords to major chords “starting on G” like the following:

    The G dominant thirteenth (suspended fourth) chord:

    The G dominant seventh (flat ninth) chord:

    The G dominant thirteenth (flat ninth) chord:

    The G dominant thirteenth (add ninth) chord:

    The G dominant thirteenth (sharp eleventh) chord:

    Any of these essential passing chords can be resolved to the chords of the first tone – C major chords.

    “Here’s Another Example…”

    Still in the key of C major:

    …where the F major seventh chord:

    …is the chord of the fourth tone (which is F):

    The F major seventh chord can be preceded by any of essential passing chord to major chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    A fourth below F:

    …is C:

    Consequently, any of the essential passing chords to major chords “starting on C” like the following:

    The C dominant thirteenth (suspended fourth) chord:

    The C dominant seventh (flat ninth) chord:

    The C dominant thirteenth (flat ninth) chord:

    The C dominant thirteenth (add ninth) chord:

    The C dominant thirteenth (sharp eleventh) chord:

    …can be used as passing chords to the chord of the fourth tone of the scale.

    “…And Yet Another Example…”

    The G dominant seventh chord:

    …is the chord of the fifth tone (which is G):

    In the key of C major:

    The G dominant seventh chord can be preceded by any of essential passing chord to major chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    A fourth below G:

    …is D:

    Consequently, any of the essential passing chords to major chords “starting on D” like the following:

    The D dominant thirteenth (suspended fourth) chord:

    The D dominant seventh (flat ninth) chord:

    The D dominant thirteenth (flat ninth) chord:

    The D dominant thirteenth (add ninth) chord:

    The D dominant thirteenth (sharp eleventh) chord:

    …can be used as passing chords to the chord of the fifth tone of the scale.

    Application Of Passing Chords To Minor Chords

    In the major key, there are three scale degrees as well where minor chords are found:

    The second tone (minor chord)

    The third tone (minor chord)

    The sixth tone (minor chord)

    …and there’s a passing chord designed for every minor chord in the key:

    The passing chord to the chord of the second tone

    The passing chord to the chord of the third tone

    The passing chord to the chord of the sixth tone

    “Check Them Out…”

    In the key of C major:

    …where the D minor seventh chord:

    …is the chord of the second tone (which is D):

    The D minor seventh chord can be preceded by any of essential passing chord to minor chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    A fifth above D:

    …is A:

    Consequently, any of the essential passing chords to major chords “starting on A” like the following:

    A dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    A dominant seventh [flat ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    A dominant seventh [sharp ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    A dominant seventh [flat ninth, flat fifth] chord:

    …can be used as passing chords to the chord of the second tone of the scale.

    “Let’s Take Another Example…”

    Also in the key of C major:

    …where the E minor seventh chord:

    …is the chord of the third tone (which is E):

    The E minor seventh chord can be preceded by any of essential passing chord to minor chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    A fifth above E:

    …is B:

    Consequently, any of the essential passing chords to minor chords “starting on B” like the following:

    B dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    B dominant seventh [flat ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    B dominant seventh [sharp ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    B dominant seventh [flat ninth, flat fifth] chord:

    …can be used as passing chords to the chord of the third tone of the scale.

    “Then The Final Example…”

    In the key of C major:

    …where the A minor seventh chord:

    …is the chord of the sixth tone (which is A):

    The A minor seventh chord can be preceded by any of essential passing chord to minor chords that’s a fifth above (or a fourth below) its root.

    A fourth below A:

    …is E:

    Consequently, any of the essential passing chords to minor chords “starting on E” like the following:

    E dominant seventh [flat ninth] chord:

    E dominant seventh [flat ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    E dominant seventh [sharp ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    E dominant seventh [flat ninth, flat fifth] chord:

    …can be used as passing chords to the chord of the sixth tone of the scale.

    Final Words

    wor

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    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 Trev

    Excellent reference

    Reply

    2 E-keyz

    Cool article. I love this site. The last passing chord to be used to the sixth is like circle of fourth right?

    Reply

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