• These Altered Chords Can Spice Up Your Chord Progressions

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

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    If you’re interested in spicing chord progressions up, then you should consider learning altered chords.

    Altered chords are applicable to genres like jazz, gospel, R & B, etc., and are particularly used as passing chords to minor chords. Therefore, learning and mastering passing chords can be the key to unlocking another level of harmonic sophistication for you.

    At the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to spice up boring chord progressions with passing chords that would turn heads after this lesson.

    A Short Note On Altered Chords

    An altered chord is basically a dominant chord that its fifth and ninth tones are either raised or lowered. For example, the C dominant ninth chord:

    …can be altered when its fifth and ninth tones (which are G and D respectively):

    …are either raised or lowered.

    Raised Fifth And Ninth Tones

    Raising the fifth and ninth tones of the regular C dominant chord:

    …produces the C dominant seventh [#9,#5] chord:

    Lowered Fifth And Ninth Tones

    Lowering the fifth and ninth tones of the regular C dominant chord:

    …produces the C dominant seventh [b9,b5] chord:

    Attention: There are other variants of the altered chord and they are named from the raised and lowered tones.

    Altered Chords In The Key Of C Major

    In the key of C major:

    …there are a couple of altered chords that are important for you to learn and we’d be covering them shortly. In addition to covering the altered chords, we’ll cover two or three voicings of the altered chords.

    Chord Five-Of-Two

    The dominant chord that resolves to the 2-chord is technically known as chord five-of-two because it’s the dominant chord of the 2-chord.

    In the key of C major:

    …where the 2-chord is the D minor ninth chord:

    …chord five-of-two is the A altered chord:

    “Here Are Other Voicings Of The A Altered Chord…”

    Example #1

    A altered chord:

    …to the D minor ninth chord:

    Example #2

    A altered chord:

    …to the D minor ninth chord:

    Chord Five-Of-Three

    The dominant chord that resolves to the 3-chord is technically known as chord five-of-three because it’s the dominant chord of the 3-chord.

    In the key of C major:

    …where the 3-chord is the E minor seventh chord:

    …chord five-of-three is the B altered chord:

    “Here Are Other Voicings Of The B Altered Chord…”

    Example #1

    B altered chord:

    …to the E minor seventh chord:

    Example #2

    B altered chord:

    …to the E minor seventh chord:

    Chord Five-Of-Six

    The dominant chord that resolves to the 6-chord is technically known as chord five-of-six because it’s the dominant chord of the 6-chord.

    In the key of C major:

    …where the 6-chord is the A minor ninth chord:

    …chord five-of-six is the E altered chord:

    “Here Are Voicings Of The A Altered Chord…”

    Example #1

    E altered chord:

    …to the A minor ninth chord:

    Example #2

    E altered chord:

    …to the A minor ninth chord:

    Final Words

    Using the altered chords covered in this lesson, you can spice up your progressions to the 2-chord, 3-chord, and 6-chord (which are basically minor chords).

    In a regular “6-2” chord progression in the key of C major, the chord progression from the A minor ninth chord:

    …to the D minor ninth chord:

    …can be spiced up by the E altered chord:

    …and the A altered chord:

    The E altered chord:

    …resolves to the A minor ninth chord:

    …while the A altered chord:

    …resolves to the D minor ninth chord:

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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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