• The Secret To Smooth Playing

    in Chords & Progressions

    If your playing suffers from lack of smoothness or your chords sound choppy or disconnected from one another, here’s one technique you can practice and employ almost immediately to enhance the flow of your playing.

    The secret is “INVERSIONS.”

    Granted, you may not always have the liberty to change the inversion of a chord, especially if you’re learning a song exactly as it’s played on an album. But in most situations where you’re accompanying a singer or playing in church, you can rely on inversions to smoothen out your playing. In fact, if you play organ, this is an absolute MUST!

    When you progress from one chord to another, there’s always an inversion of the next chord that will be easier and closer to your existing chord, as opposed to playing the next chord in its original root position.

    For example, a beginner may play a “1-4 progression” in C major with these chords:

    This creates a sizable gap between the chords. But what if you inverted the F major chord and instead of playing F+A+C, you played C+F+A?

    What makes this chord so much easier to play is the “C” remains the same. It is the common note between these two chords and in the first example, it went from being the lowest note to being the highest note an octave away! What’s more, the other remaining movements in the chord are just one “next-door” note away!

    Let’s try another one.

    What G major chord inversion could you use to make this progression easier to play?


    So, as a general rule, determine which notes are constant between your chords. Then, try not to move those notes. Move all other notes and you’ll most likely have the closet, easiest inversion to play. Again, organ players must master close movements like this as they do not have a sustain pedal to help with transitioning from chord to chord.

    Until next time.

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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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