• How To Create A Static Section With Just Four Chords

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    In today’s lesson, I’ll be showing you how to create a static section using only four chords.

    If you are reading this lesson and you’re not properly acquainted with the four classes of triads:

    …you may find part of what we’re learning in this lesson challenging. Therefore, I’ll gladly recommend that you check out these classes of triads, which are part of our 16 week chord revival program.

    Before we get into our main focus in this lesson, let’s take a look at what a static section is.

    A Short Note On The Static Section

    The goal of every musician is to create motion. No matter how many times a note is played repeatedly, it may not just make music. It is the movement of pitches from one note to another that makes music.

    A musician is someone who is experienced, skilled, or trained in the art of creating and controlling these motions. Let’s use chord progressions as an example, which entails the movement of chords from one degree of a scale to another.

    In the key of C:

    …the movement from the second degree of the scale using chord two (Dmin9 chord):

    …to the fifth degree of the scale using the Gdom9 chord:

    …and then to the first degree of the scale using the Cmaj9 chord:

    …creates a 2-5-1 chord progression.

    We can’t play the 2-5-1 chord progression by repeating one chord over and over right? To a large extent, the everyday average music is basically made up of the movement of chords, intervals, and scale tones.

    “What Is A Static Section?”

    Despite the several layers of motion in music, it’s still possible to create the impression that you are moving when you are really not. In a static section, there are chord movements that create that impression that the music is still in motion, but in the real sense, it’s static.

    In the next segment, I’ll be showing you how to create a static section using only four chords.

    How To Create A Static Section Using Only Four Chords

    The static section we’re covering in this lesson uses only four chords. To help you understand it better, I would say that it’s the movement from one major triad to three diminished triads or vice versa (three diminished triads to one major triad.)

    Let me repeat; one major triad to three diminished triads.

    When I emphasized the need to be acquainted with various classes of triads at the beginning of this lesson, I meant it.

    “Here’s an example of a static section…”

    We’re in the key of C:

    …and we’re using the C major triad (chord one):

    …as the first chord.

    We’ve come across the major triad and at this point you should be expecting three diminished triads.

    The first diminished triad falls on the second degree of the C major scale, which is D:

    …and that’s the D diminished triad:

    The second diminished triad lies a half step above the D diminished triad (which is the first diminished triad):
    So we’re basically using the D# diminished triad:

    …because D#:

    …lies a half step above D:

    The third diminished triad falls on the third degree in the key of C:

    …which is E:

    Consequently, we’re using the E diminished triad:

    Altogether, here are the four chords…

    The C major triad:

    …(which is the only major triad), and three diminished triads…

    The D diminished triad:

    …the D# diminished triad:

    …and the E diminished triad:

    “Give Me Your Undivided Attention…”

    Let me stress that these four chords can be used to create a static section by…

    1. Playing a major triad on the first degree (aka – “tonic triad”) in the key you’re in.
    2. Playing three diminished triads chromatically (in half steps) from the second to the third degree.

    So here is how to play a static section (using four of these chords) in the key of C:

    The first chord is the tonic triad:

    …and we’ll be adding another C to it:

    …to form a four note triad:

    From the C major triad:

    …it moves to the D diminished triad:

    …still having the C note right on top of the chord:

    Then up a half step again [from the D diminished triad] to the D# diminished triad:

    …with a C note on top of it:

    Then to the final chord, which is the E diminished triad:

    …still played with C on top of the chord:

    Take note of the chords we formed by adding a C note to all the chords…

    C major (four note triad):

    D half-diminished seventh:

    D# diminished seventh:

    C dominant seventh (first inversion):

    Although we’ve put the chords in place, we’re not done yet. We’ll be spicing these four chords up and here’s how…

    Step 1:Play two Cs (or the tonic in the key you’re in), that are two octaves apart from each other…”

    Here are two Cs:

    …and they are two octaves apart from each other.

    Step 2: “Play the second inversion of the chords within this two octave compass”

    To form the second inversion of these chords, we’ll be doing an octave transposition of the fifth chord tone in each of the chords.

    The C major triad:

    …can be played in its first inversion by the transposition of its fifth tone. The fifth tone (which is G):

    …can be transposed to a lower octave:

    …to form the second inversion of the C major triad:

    …played within the compass of two octaves:

    …to form:

    The octave transposition of the fifth tones of the remaining diminished chords produces…

    The second inversion of the D diminished triad:

    …the second inversion of the D# diminished triad:

    …and the second inversion of the E diminished triad:

    “Take A Look At Them When Played Within The Compass Of Two Octaves…”

    First chord:

    Second chord:

    Third Chord:

    Fourth chord:

    Final Words

    The static section is a technique that is commonly used in playing hymns and congregational songs. Let’s take an example from the hymn “I Need Thee” in the key of F:



    …e-eace A:


    In the section in-between “afford” and “I need thee oh I need thee”, piano and organ players usually create a static section. In this example in the key of F major, where chord 5 is the C major triad, a static section can be played in-between “afford” and “I need thee oh I need thee”.



    “Static Section Begins Here…”

    1st chord:

    2nd chord:

    3rd chord:

    4th chord:

    “Static Section Ends Here…”

    We’ll end our discussion on static sections here and I’ll see you in another lesson.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



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