• How to Play Uptempo Shouting Music By Ear!

    in Gospel music

    Shouting music is one of my favorite topics because at the tender age of 8-years old, it was probably one of the few things I had to master very quickly.

    By 10, I was playing for several churches (COGIC, Baptist, Apostolic, Pentecostal) and most of them “shouted” for at least 30 minutes during each service.

    …So needless to say, I got good very quickly at playing fast left-hand bass runs, right-hand chordal movements, and more!

    In this lesson, I’m going to show you some of the essentials to playing shouting music by ear.

    If you have no idea what shouting music is or how it sounds, click on the link below to hear a sample:


    In fact, I’m going to be using the same concepts from GospelKeys 500 for the online classroom lesson below.

    The first concept to master is the left-hand bass run because it provides the foundation and rhythm for your shouting music.

    Concept #1: Left-hand bass runs

    There are tons of bass runs that can be used in shouting music. If you listen to the sample above, you’ll hear a variety of different “runs.” Some runs move downward (from high notes to low notes). Other bass runs (aka “bass lines”) move in an ascending direction.


    We’ll be in the key of Ab major for this lesson.

    Let’s learn a few ascending and descending bass runs.



    Ascending bass run (1-5):


    Ab C Db D Eb F Gb G Ab


    Note: These notes are played separately, one after the other (not together)!


    Tip: If you were to imitate the sound of a “shout” by stomping your feet and clapping your hands right after (that is: “stomp – clap – stomp – clap – stomp – clap”), your bass notes would be played on every beat, each time you stomp and clap).



    Descending bass run (1-5):


    Ab Gb F E Eb F Gb G Ab



    Notice that I called both of the examples above “1-5” bass runs.




    Because they focus on the 1st and 5th keys of the scale. Let’s look at the Ab major scale:


    Ab major: Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab


    If you were to place a number (starting at 1) by each of these notes, Ab would have a number “1” by it and Eb would have a number “5” by it.


    Since the bass runs above are both focused on Ab and Eb, they are called “1-5” bass runs.


    You can also “1-4” bass runs in shouting music. I’ll give you a few below:



    Ascending bass run (1-4):


    Ab Bb B C Db F Gb G Ab




    Descending bass run (1-4):


    Ab Gb Eb D Db F Gb G Ab





    Now you have four bass runs to practice. In GospelKeys 500, you get many more to choose from. If you’re really into this style of playing, I highly recommend it.



    So now that you have the left hand taken care of, I recommend that you practice it with a metronome.


    Metronomes are little $15 devices that keep rhythm for you at different speeds. You can choose the tempo so you can start off slow and build your speed as you get better.


    Also, if you have a keyboard with rhythmic and performing features, you can find “shouting rhythms” to accompany you while you practice these bass runs. The key is having some type of rhythmical device to keep your “timing” as you practice.


    Once you’ve mastered the left hand, there’s many things to do on your right hand.



    Concept #2: Right-hand chordal movements


    While there are tons of things to do on your right hand, understanding how “13th” chords work is essential.



    A thirteenth chord is built on the (1), (3), (5), (b7), (9), (11), and (13) tones of a major scale.


    In C major, that would be:


    C + E + G + Bb + D + F + A (this time, played together).




    Obviously, that’s a lot of notes and most gospel musicians don’t play thirteenth chords like that.


    An easier route is to play the C on your left hand and just play the Bb + D + F + A on your right hand. If you can reach, try adding in a high C and playing Bb + D + F + A + (C).


    C13 (abbreviated):


    C on left /// Bb D F A (C) on right.



    Now, let’s bring that formula to Ab major.


    Ab13 = Ab on left /// Gb Bb Db F (Ab) on right.



    Putting it all together



    Playing an Ab13 in a rhythmic fashion over an Ab ascending or descending bass run is the foundation of shouting music.


    This combination, alone, can be played the entire time. The only thing is…


    …Because shouting music is so repetitive (it’s generally the same bass run over and over), you want to include other things (like variations in bass runs and different right-hand chordal movements and fill-ins) to spice things up. This is exactly the idea of GospelKeys 500 but I’ll show a few concepts below.





    Three main parts of shouting music

    1) The “Intro”

    2) The “Main Loop” Period

    3) The “Cool Down”

    Part One: The Intro

    The Intro is the start of the “shouting” period.

    You won’t find full-length ascending and descending bass runs like I’ve posted above.

    Instead, you have teasers like:

    C — Db — D — Eb. Usually the C and Db are played in pairs and the D and Eb are played in pairs.


    That’s your left hand. As for your right hand, as shown in GospelKeys 500, you’ll play something like:


    Bb Eb Ab (over the “C” bass from above)


    B Eb F Ab (over the “Db” bass from above)


    B D F Ab (over the “D” bass from above)


    C Eb Ab (over the “Eb” bass from above)



    This generally repeats for a good amount of time. The “Main Loop” period will usually follow right after.





    Part Two: The “Main Loop” Period


    You’ve already learned some things to do during the main loop period (concepts #1 and #2 from above).


    This is the moment of your shouting music when the bass run is fully active (unlike the 4-note bass runs used in the “intro”). You’ll use full-powered ascending and descending bass runs along with right-hand chordal movements. For now, you’ve learned that the Ab13 chord can be played on your right while running the bass on your left hand. Other concepts that are covered in GospelKeys 500 are:


    – Diminished chord tricks

    – Right-hand fill-ins

    – More Fill-ins: b3 and b5 fill-ins

    – Three “magic” chords

    – Pentatonic and blues tricks

    – Chromatic drops


    and more…



    Part Three: The “Cool Down”

    The “Cool Down” period is just what it sounds like.

    It’s the moment where the shouting music is coming to an end but instead of just abruptly ending, the cool down period allows you to play certain movements that are less active than the main loop period.

    More information…

    Other sections: “Beyond the Basics”

    Other concepts covered in GK 500 “Experiencing Shouting Music”

    1) Role Reversal Techniques

    2) Stride / Ragtime Effects

    3) Linear Shouting Patterns / Vocal Accompaniment

    4) Modulation

    More information…

    I hope you enjoyed this month’s lesson and I’ll be back soon!

    Explore these chord types to prepare for the GospelKeys video course:

    hear and play

    GospelKeys 500: Uptempo Shouting Music

    GospelKeys 500 will give you the tools needed to master shouting music by ear.

    In this course, shouting music is broken into three key sections: "The Shouting Intro," "The Main Loop Period" and "The Cool Down." You'll explore each part, step-by-step.

    You won't find shouting music taught in these 3 steps anywhere else so if you've always wanted to play fast, uptempo music in charismatic settings, then look no further. Click here to learn more | Buy now

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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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