• Revealed: Smarter Ways To Create Passing Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    If you’re interested in learning smarter ways to create passing chords, then this lesson is for you.

    The role of passing chords in harmony and chord progressions cannot be over-emphasized; especially in the aspect of creating tension, and adding activity to chord progressions.

    This lesson will reveal another smart way that passing chords can be formed to major and minor chords. All I need is your undivided attention for the next 10 minutes or so.

    Let’s get started by reviewing the concept of passing chords.

    A Quick Review On Passing Chords

    Passing chords are chromatic chords that are used to connect two diatonic chords.

    Before we proceed, permit me to define the terms diatonic and chromatic for you. A diatonic chord is a chord of the prevalent key while a chromatic chord is a chord that is foreign to the prevalent key.

    In the key of C major:

    …the C major seventh:

    …and D minor seventh:

    …are diatonic chords because they consist of notes in the key of C major.

    These two diatonic chords can be connected with the A dominant seventh chord:

    …which is a chromatic chord.

    The A dominant seventh chord is a chromatic chord because it is foreign to the prevalent key (which is the key of C major):

    …because there’s a C# tone in the A dominant seventh chord that is foreign to the key of C major.

    Application Of The Passing Chord

    Let’s quickly demonstrate the application of passing chords in the gospel song I surrender all.

    Example #1 – Without a passing chord

    I surrender (C major seventh):

    all (D minor seventh):

    Example #2 – With a passing chord

    I sur (C major seventh):

    …render (A dominant seventh):

    all (D minor seventh):

    The passing chord (A dominant seventh) was used to connect two diatonic chords (C major seventh and D minor seventh)

    A Smarter Way To Form Passing Chords

    Let’s quickly learn a smarter way to form a passing chord to major and minor chords respectively.

    A Passing Chord For Major Chords

    The smartest way to form a passing to any major chord is to go down a half-step below the root of the major chord and form a half-diminished seventh chord.

    Let’s take two examples.

    Example #1 – Passing chord for the C major seventh chord

    The passing chord for the C major seventh chord:

    …is a half-diminished seventh chord that is a half-step below the root of the C major seventh chord.

    Now, a half-step below C:

    …is B:

    Therefore, the B half-diminished seventh chord:

    …is a passing chord for the C major seventh chord:

    Example #2 – Passing chord for the E major seventh chord

    The passing chord for the E major seventh chord:

    …is a half-diminished seventh chord that is a half-step below the root of the E major seventh chord.

    A half-step below E:

    …is D#:

    Therefore, the D# half diminished seventh chord:

    …is a passing chord for the E major seventh chord:

    If you’re interested in learning more about half-diminished seventh chords, click here.

    A Passing Chord For Minor Chords

    Just like we did in major chords, you can go down a half-step below the root of any given minor chord and form a diminished seventh chord.

    Let’s take two examples.

    Example #1 – Passing chord for the C minor seventh chord

    The passing chord for the C minor seventh chord:

    …is a diminished seventh chord that is a half-step below the root of the C minor seventh chord.

    Going down a half-step below C:

    …takes you to B:

    Therefore, the B diminished seventh chord:

    …is a passing chord for the C minor seventh chord:

    Example #2 – Passing chord for the G minor seventh chord

    The passing chord for the G minor seventh chord:

    …is a diminished seventh chord that is a half-step below the root of the G minor seventh chord.

    A half-step below G:

    …is F#:

    Therefore, the F# half diminished seventh chord:

    …is a passing chord for the G minor seventh chord:

    Learn more about diminished seventh chords.

    Final Words

    The diminished and half-diminished seventh chords are easy to form and are always a half-step away from any minor and major chord respectively.

    As long as you can recall these chords, I guarantee that you’ll not run out of passing chords.

    See you in the next lesson.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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.

    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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