• Who Else Wants To Learn How To Play Colorful Chord Progressions?

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

    Post image for Who Else Wants To Learn How To Play Colorful Chord Progressions?

    If you’re interested in learning how to play colorful chord progressions, then you arrived at the right page.

    One characteristic difference between advanced players and beginners (or intermediate players) is the ability make basic chord progressions colorful.

    You’ll find out what colorful chord progressions are, in this lesson, and also learn step-by-step, how chord progressions are transformed from boring to exciting.

    Let’s discuss the term chromatic before we go any further.

    Quick Insights On The Term Chromatic

    Musical ideas can be classified into two:

    • Diatonic ideas
    • Chromatic ideas

    Before we talk about chromatic ideas, let’s take a look at diatonic ideas.

    “What Are Diatonic Ideas?”

    Any musical idea (be it a note, scale, interval, chord, or chord progression), that is a product of a prevalent key is said to be diatonic.

    In the key of C major:

    …the following notes:

    • F
    • A
    • D

    …are diatonic because they are related to the prevalent key.

    In the key of C major, the C natural major scale:

    …is said to be a diatonic scale because it is a product of all the tones in the key of C major.

    Now that we’ve established diatonic ideas, let’s get on with chromatic ideas.

    Chromatic Ideas – Explained

    Musical ideas that are foreign to a  prevalent key are said to be chromatic. For example, in the key of C major:

    …the following notes:

    • C#
    • Gb
    • A#

    …are chromatic.

    The A major sixth chord:

    …is considered as a chromatic chord in the key of C major because it consists of notes like:

    • C#
    • F#

    …that are foreign to the key of C major:

    “In A Nutshell…”

    When a musical idea is related to any other key other than the prevalent key, such an idea is considered to be chromatic.

    “Why Are Chromatic Ideas Said To Be Colorful?”

    The term chromatic literally means colorful. Now the question here is:

    Why are musical ideas that are foreign to the prevalent key considered to be colorful?

    Believe it or not, music is to the ears; what colors are to the eyes. It’s possible for music to be perceived as colors. Heck, there’s a medical condition where patients perceive tones as colors, known as chromesthesia or sound to color synesthesia.

    Musicians of the 19th century were able to make visual impressions in the mind of listeners using tones.

    “So, Back To Our Discourse…”

    Musical ideas that are foreign to a prevalent key are said to be chromatic (aka – “colorful”) because they don’t resonate with the prevalent key.

    Diatonic ideas only resonate within the prevalent key. So, when chromatic musical ideas (that are foreign to the prevalent key) are introduced in a given key, they sound colorful because the ideas do not resonate with the prevalent key.

    “Check This Out…”

    Imagine walking into a white conference room where everyone is dressed in white, with white desks and seats, and you’re dressed in an orange t-shirt and green pants.

    You’ll look colorful right?

    At that point, you’re chromatic because everyone else is dressed in same color with the conference hall.

    That’s exactly what happens when a musical idea that is foreign to a prevalent key is introduced.

    How To Play Colorful Chord Progressions

    In the 2-5-1 chord progression, which is basically a progression from the D minor seventh chord:

    …to the G dominant seventh chord:

    …then to the C major seventh chord:

    The introduction of chromatic chords to the given chord progression makes it more colorful and I’ll be showing you three examples in this light.

    Example #1

    Raising the third tone of the D minor seventh chord:

    …which is F:

    …by a half step (to F#):

    …produces the D dominant seventh chord:

    Check out the colorful 2-5-1 chord progression using the dominant seventh chord:

    Chord 2:

    Chord 5:

    Chord 1:

    Example #2

    Lowering the fifth tone of the D minor seventh chord:

    …which is A:

    …by a half step (to Ab):

    …produces the D half-diminished seventh chord:

    Check out the colorful 2-5-1 chord progression using the half-diminished seventh chord:

    Chord 2:

    Chord 5:

    Chord 1:

    Example #3

    Altering the G dominant seventh chord:

    …produces the G dominant seventh [sharp ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    Check out the colorful 2-5-1 chord progression using the G dominant seventh [sharp ninth, sharp fifth] chord:

    Chord 2:

    Chord 5:

    Chord 1:

    Final Words

    Getting to this point lets me know you’re serious about learning how to play colorful chord progressions. I’m doubly sure that you’ve figured out the difference between diatonic and chromatic ideas and how the latter can be used to spice up the former.

    We’re just getting started on this. In a subsequent lesson, we’ll go deeper into the chromatic waters.

    See you then!

    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.




    songtutor600x314-4jpg



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Zino

    really very colourful , nice one, good job

    Reply

    2 ian smith

    Just watched your lesson on colourful chords. It was very interesting. As a beginner with piano I was a bit confused as to whether the Root note on the left of the keyboard was to be played at the same time as the altered chord? Also, without giving us the fingering for each hand I was not sure as whether this chord required to be sounded with one or two hands. I hope you can follow this. Any answers?

    Thanks for the lesson regardless of my obtuse response.
    Ian

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: