• 8 Urban and Contemporary Chords Video Lessons… GRAB THEM!

    in Gospel music

    In this month’s online classroom, I’m going to share with you a few video clip lessons from the GospelKeysTM X video course. I’ve selectively pulled out clips that I think you’ll benefit from, whether you consider the entire course or not.

    Before I introduce the video clips, it is important that you understand some of the key chords and concepts used in urban worship:

    1) Major Seventh Chords

    2) Minor Seventh Chords

    3) Minor Ninth Chords


    4) How to superimpose chords

    Past newsletters deal in depth with many the concepts above, but I’ll briefly cover each one below. While the free video clips will keep you busy for a while, knowing these concepts (if you’re a beginner) will assure that you don’t get lost or fall behind like many others.



    Major Seventh Chords


    Major seventh chords are very easy to form (aka – “maj7, M7). If you know all twelve major scales, then you won’t have a problem knowing major seventh chords.



    All 12 Major Scales

    C major


    C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C

    D major

    D – E – F# – G – A – B – C# – D

    E major

    E – F# – G# – A – B – C# – D# – E

    F major

    F – G – A – Bb – C – D – E – F

    G major

    G – A – B – C – D – E – F# – G

    A major

    A – B – C# – D – E – F# – G# – A

    B major

    B – C# – D# – E – F# – G# – A# – B

    C# / Db major

    Db – Eb – F – Gb – Ab – Bb – C – Db

    D# / Eb major

    Eb – F – G – Ab – Bb – C – D – Eb

    F# / Gb major

    F# – G# – A# – B – C# – D# – F – F#

    G# / Ab major

    Ab – Bb – C – Db – Eb – F – G – Ab

    A# / Bb major

    Bb – C – D – Eb – F – G – A – Bb


    You’ve probably heard me say this before…

    It’s very important that you understand major scales in a numerical way. What do I mean?

    Simply put: Don’t memorize scales like toddlers memorize their ABC’s.

    It’s easy to “play” a scale, memorizing note after note, in relation to one another. Here’s something to think about… If you can’t start a major scale from the middle OR have to start from the beginning in order to play it correctly, you probably have the “toddler’s ABCs” issue.

    In other words, you only know how to play the scale because your fingers have memorized what to play. While this is good for practicing and fingering, it does you know good when trying to understand how music works.

    So how do I learn scales correctly?

    By understanding that each tone represents a number in the major scale. The first note is the “first tone” or “first degree” of the scale. For example, here’s the C major scale:

    C major: C D E F G A B C

    Here’s how you should be thinking of this scale:

    C major: C(1) D(2) E(3) F(4) G(5) A(6) B(7) C (the same as “1”)

    If I were to ask you: “What is the 2nd tone of the C major scale,” you should be able to answer immediately: “D.”

    The sixth tone of Ab? You should be able to answer F

    The third tone of D? You should be able to answer F#

    You shouldn’t have to “play the scale” in your mind or even use a real piano. Each tone of the scale should be associated with a number and that number should be easily recallable, whenever needed.

    Does that make sense? This will really help you to understand all your chords and how chord progressions work.

    Forming Major Seventh Chords:

    To form a major seventh chord, simply take the first, third, fifth, and seventh tones of any major scale and play them all at the same time.

    (I told you knowing the scales as numbers would be helpful … not only now but for a ‘number’ of things).

    For example, the C major scale is:

    C D E F G A B C

    The 1+3+5+7 of this scale is:

    C E G B = C major seventh chord

    Here are all the other major seventh chords:

    All 12 Major Seventh Scales

    Cmaj7 = C + E + G + B


    Dmaj7 = D + F# + A + C#

    Emaj7= E + G# + B + D#

    Fmaj7 = F + A + C + E

    Gmaj7 = G + B + D + F#

    Amaj7 = A + C# + E + G#

    Bmaj7 = B + D# + F# + A#

    Dbmaj7 = Db + F + Ab + C

    Ebmaj7 = Eb + G + Bb + D

    Gbmaj7 = Gb + Bb + Db + F

    Abmaj7 = Ab + C + Eb + G

    Bbmaj7 = Bb + D + F + A

    Minor Seventh Chords

    Once you know major scales as “numbers,” forming ANY chord (whether major or minor) is really simple.

    To form any minor seventh chord, simply use this formula:

    1 + b3 + 5 + b7

    Note: The “b” symbol is used to indicate a note that is flatted or lowered a “half step.

    Let’s look at our C major scale again.

    C major: C(1) D(2) E(3) F(4) G(5) A(6) B(7) C (the same as “1”)

    Now, take the 1, 3, 5, and 7 tones: C + E + G + B

    Since there needs to be a b3 and a b7 in a minor chord, take the “E” and “B” and flat them.

    E becomes “Eb”

    B becomes “Bb”

    Cmin7 chord is: C + Eb + G + Bb

    Tip: Another way to find a minor chord is to use the minor scale. When you use the minor scale, you simply use the “1-3-5-7” formula because the notes are already flatted for you in the minor scale. I don’t want to confuse you or anything, so for now, stick with the method above.

    For all twelve minor seventh chords, check out my free chord finder tool at:


    Minor Ninth Chords

    I love talking about minor ninth chords because they require no more work than learning the major seventh chords. In fact, we can form all twelve minor ninth chords (which sound really good and contemporary) by simply knowing maj7 chords.

    To use this technique, you’ll need to understand what relative major and relative minor means. These things are covered in my 300pg course on pages 82-83 and 193-214.

    For every major key, there is a relative minor key that also shares the same key signature.

    To find the relative minor key of C, for example, just locate the sixth note in its major scale. There is more theory behind why “A” (the 6th tone) would be the relative minor of C major and how its called the “Aeolian mode” (but we won’t cover all that right now).

    Since “A” is the relative minor of C, then “C” is the relative major of A.

    See? It works both ways. One key is the relative major and relative minor of another key. For example:

    While “A” is the relative minor of C ———– C is the relative major of “A,” but at the same time, C is the relative ***minor*** of Eb (because “C” is the sixth note of the Eb major scale). Don’t get all caught up with this one. Here’s a chart to help you out below.

    Relative Major Key Relative Minor
    C Major A Minor
    D Major B Minor
    E Major C# Minor
    F Major D Minor
    G Major E Minor
    A Major F# Minor
    B Major G# Minor
    Db Major Bb Minor
    Eb Major C Minor
    Gb Major Eb Minor
    Ab Major F Minor
    Bb Major G Minor


    The relative minor will always be the sixth note of the relative major key. So, if you ever forget about the chart above, always remember the “sixth tone.”

    Forming Minor Ninth Chords:

    Here’s the easiest way:

    1) Identify the minor chord you want to play (whether ‘Cmin9’ or ‘Bbmin9’, etc)

    2) Play the keynote of the minor chord on your left hand (bass). So if you want to play a Bbmin9, then the keynote played on your left hand would be Bb. Another example… if you wanted to play a Cmin9, the keynote on your left hand would be C.

    3) Lastly, on your right hand, play the relative major seventh chord. So if you’re trying to form a Cmin9 chord, you would have already determined your bass to be C (in step 2). Now, simply locate the relative major key of Cmin.

    What is the relative major key of C minor?

    By looking on the chart above, it shows Eb to be the relative major key of C minor.

    So, by playing:

    C on your left hand (AND) Ebmaj7 on your right hand, you form a Cmin9

    Left: C * Right: Eb + G + Bb + D

    This also gives you a broad idea about superimposing chords (stacking one chord on top of another).

    Ok, so now that you have a crash course on the basic necessities, we can move on to the video clips.

    Click to watch this video clip

    Video Lesson #1 This clip teaches a nice two-handed run usually used to set up a “2-5-1” progression. If you’ve never played something like this before, then you’re definitely going to benefit from adding this nice “church walk” to your toolbox.

    Duration: 0:32

    Click to watch this video clip

    Video Lesson #2 Watch as Mr. H demonstrates how to use the circle of fifths in contemporary worship settings. Coincidentally, I also used these chords in GospelKeys 202. The general flow is from “Bbmin9 — Eb9/6 — Abmin9 — Db9/6 — Gbmaj9/6 — Cm11 — F7 #9#5 — then repeat the cycle.” If you don’t know what any of that means, don’t worry. Mr. H shows you step-by-step, what to do. Duration: 1:22

    Click to watch this video clip

    Video Lesson #3 This short clip comes from the “Tricks in F#” segment of the course. Watch closely as he shows you a very easy-to-learn trick that you can start using right away. It deals with simply playing every other black key (two at a time, going down the keyboard). Listen to how it sounds…

    Duration: 0:25

    Click to watch this video clip

    Video Lesson #4 You’ll love this urban worship movement. It speaks for itself. It’s in the key of Ab, but if I were you, I’d learn it in all twelve keys. This is a wonderful chord progression to use as you transition from one song to another or towards the end of a particular worship song. Duration: 1:14

    Click here for all 8 video lessons (over 10 minutes of content)!

    Well… obviously I couldn’t fit all 10+ minutes worth of video clips in this e-mail. But please do yourself a favor and visit https://www.hearandplay.com/gkxclips.html to see all of them and more!

    Chords to study for this online classroom:

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    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!

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