• How to combine chords and couples to create endless possibilities

    in Chords & Progressions,Gospel music

    If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that I love to teach students how to master systems and patterns.

    This lesson is no different.

    We’re going to explore various chords from my newest GospelKeysTM 202 course (…don’t worry if you don’t have this course yet — I’ll post the chords I want to use below).

    But first, let me recap what you need to know to understand this lesson.

    I believe that “repetition is the mother of skill” and that if you repeatedly hear the same thing over and over, you’ll begin to act on it! So if you’ve heard me discuss the number system in the past, just think of this as a refresher.

    I’ll use the key of Db major simply because that’s the major key I focus on in the GospelKeysTM 202 course:

    When I say “number system,” that is simply understanding a major scale like this:

    Db major:

    Db — Eb — F — Gb — Ab — Bb — C — Db

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

    These are also known as “tones” or “scale degrees.”

    Basically, the idea is to be able to recall, for example, the “7th scale degree” of Db major in a few seconds! Yes, you want to be that fast with all your major scales.

    You don’t want to have to recite your entire scale just to know that the 7th tone of Db is “C.” You should know that without having to remember what comes before or after “C” in the scale. Still following me?

    It’s a mind game.

    At least if you want to be a fast-learner of songs! You see, like I’ve always said, “learning songs occurs in the mind” and then you just transfer what you’re already thinking to the piano.”

    Now, I could go deep into “melodic” and “harmonic” intervals but I won’t cover that here. You can find that in my 300pg home study course or in my newsletter archives at http://www.pianoweekly.com.

    Now, that you understand the basics of this numbering system and how to apply numbers to every major scale, we can move on…

    Basically, the first disc (1 hour, 25 min) of the worship course covers dozens of chords to play on each tone of the major scale. Since the major scale we are learning in is Db major, the chords taught in this newsletter all center around these seven tones:

    Db — Eb — F — Gb — Ab — Bb — C

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    Why not 8 tones? Because the eighth tone is Db and those chords are basically the same as the 1st tone of the scale (also “Db”).

    So the idea is to be able to take chords from tone #1 and play them with chords from tone #4.

    …Or chords from tone (or set) #2 and play them with chords from set #5. Or chords from the 3-group and play them with chords from the 6-group.

    Notice that I phrased each example a different way (…”tone,” “set,” “group”). They all mean the same thing in this lesson.

    So obviously, in order to make this happen, you have to have knowledge of the chords in each group. That is what I’m going to help you with below.

    Traditionally, each tone of the major scale is associated with a certain type of chord.

    For example, the 1st tone of the scale is usually associated with the major seventh chord while the 6th tone, for example, is associated with the minor seventh chord.

    That is not to say you’ll always play a Dbmaj7 chord and never play a Dbmin7 chord in the key of Db major. You have several options to choose from, depending on the mood and feel of the song.


    Below, I’ll list potential chords for each tone of the scale just like I teach it in the GospelKeysTM 202 course. After that, I’ll show you how to group these chords together to make full sounding progressions (or “chord changes”).



    Format: (Chord *right hand* / Bass *left hand*)



    1st tone of the scale: Db

    Potential chords to play:



    Dbmaj triad: Db + F + Ab / Db


    Dbmaj7: C + F + Ab / Db


    Dbmaj (add 9): Db + Eb + F + Ab / Db


    Dbmaj9: C + Eb + F + Ab / Db * more info



    2nd tone of the scale: Eb

    Potential chords to play:



    Ebmin triad: Eb + Gb + Bb / Eb


    Ebmin7: Bb + Db + Gb / Eb


    Ebmin9: Gb + Bb + Db + F / Eb


    Eb9: G Bb Db F / Eb * more info




    3rd tone of the scale: F

    Potential chords to play:



    Fmin triad: F + Ab + C / F


    Fmin7: Eb + Ab + C / F


    Fmin7 (b5): Ab + B + Eb / F


    F7 (#9#5): A + Db + Eb + Ab / F * more info


    F7 (b9#5): A + Db + Eb + Gb / F * more info




    4th tone of the scale: Gb

    Potential chords to play:



    Gbmaj triad: Gb + Bb + Db / Gb


    Gbmaj7: Gb + Bb + Db + F / Gb


    Gbmaj7: Db + F + Gb + Bb / Gb


    Gbmaj (add 9): Gb + Ab + Bb + Db / Gb




    5th tone of the scale: Ab

    Potential chords to play:



    Abmaj triad: Ab + C + Eb / Ab


    Ab7: Ab + C + Eb + Gb / Ab


    Abmin9: Gb + Bb + B + Eb / Ab


    Ab13: Gb + Bb + Db + F + Ab / Ab * more info




    6th tone of the scale: Bb

    Potential chords to play:



    Bbmin triad: Bb + Db + F / Bb


    Bbmin7: Db + F + Ab / Bb


    Bbmin9: Ab + C + Db + F / Bb


    Gb maj / Bb: Db + Gb + Bb / Bb * more info




    7th tone of the scale: C

    Potential chords to play:



    Cmin7 (b5): Bb C Eb Gb / C


    Cmin11: Eb + G + Bb + D + F / C


    Ab maj / C: Eb + Ab + C / C * more info





    Moving on…



    Now, that you have just a sample of chords to play on each tone of the scale, we can move on to making chord progressions.


    Note: If you want ALL the chords for each tone along with 4 more hours of instruction, check out my worship course.




    Now, all you have to do is mix and match chords from each group. I’ll demonstrate to you the groups that work best together but feel free to use your practice time to explore this technique!


    Did you know that by making different combinations among the chords above, that you have literally hundreds of possibilities?


    Let me explain:


    What if you took the the first chord from the “Db” group and played it before a chord from the “Ab” group. There’s a combination right there! (… and believe it or not, this progressions is heard in thousands of songs from every genre of music)!!!



    Here are the groups that work best together.


    ===> Try mix and matching chords from group #1 with chords from group #4 and #5. Actually, any group works well with group #1 because of the “home” feeling you get from the 1st group. It’s generally the group of chords that begin and end songs so that’s why it works well with just about any other group. But like I said, the 4th and 5th groups will sound very good played after a chord from the first group.


    ===> Try mix and matching chords from group #2 with chords from group #5. You’ll get a very good connection with chords from these two groups.


    ===> Once you’ve mastered the 1-4, 1-5, and 2-5 group connections, try combining more than one pair. That means, play a chord from group #1 going to a chord from group number 4 — then right after that, play a chord from group #2 going to a chord from group number 5. See how many possibilities can be created? This is just how music works!


    ===> Try mix and matching chords from group #3 with chords from group #6. This creates a very smooth sounding progression.


    ===> Once you’ve mastered the 3-6 combination, try combining a 2-5 pair with a 3-6. For example, play a chord from group #2 to a chord from group #5. Then immediately after that, play a chord from group #3 to a chord from group #6. Then, do it backwards. Play a 3-6 pair immediately followed by a 2-5 pair. Now you’ve created a 3-6-2-5 progression!

    ===> And the list goes on…

    I really wish I had enough time and space to keep going. For those of you who have GospelKeysTM 202, just pop in disc #1 and you’ll get this entire lecture right on your television. Disc 2 focuses more on where we just left off. It actually demonstrates to you how to combine these chords and what types of sounds various chords make.



    If you don’t have this course yet and you’re serious about learning these concepts, I highly recommend that you check it out at http://www.gospelkeys202.com. It is perfect for gospel musicians wanting to learn slower, worshipful music in the process described above!

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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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