Passing chords to spice up your chord progression
What are passing chords?
Passing chords are chords played in-between a chord progression. They are mostly used to transport to the next chords in a chord progression and also to add color to the chord progression.
When talking about passing chords, we will be refering to chords like domninant chords, dminished chords and altered dominant chords but we will be dealing with the dominant 7th chord.
(This tutorial is in the key of C)
The dominant 7th chord consists of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and b7th note of the major scale. For example the notes of the C dominant 7th chord would be
C E G Bb
d m s taw
The chord is mostly used to transport up a fourth(fah) or it usually resolves up a fourth(fah). If you are confused about what a fourth mean then you will have to learn about the Circle of Fifths/Fourths first. Using the circle of fifths/fourths, you will agree with me that moving up a fourth will be
So if we say that the dominant 7th chord best resolves up a fourth, we simply mean that a C dominant 7th chord can resolve to an f major/minor chord, an F dominant 7th chord can best resolve to a Bb minor/major chord….e.t.c.
Now with this in mind, we can now think of its application into our gospel songs. Let’s take a common chord progression (1-4-6-5-1). This progression moves from 1(doh) to 4(fah) to 6(lah) to 5(soh) and back to the 1(doh).
If we play it using our regular diatonic chords in the key of C major we will get
C major – F major – A minor – G major – C major
doh fah lah soh doh
But when we decide to add in our newly learnt passing chord, we will look at those spots that we actually have to progress up a fourth and apply our dominant 7th chord there. Doing this , our new progression will now look like this.
C major – C dominant 7th – F major – A minor – G major – G dominant – C major
doh fah lah soh doh
Chord for C dominant 7th is: d m s taw
Chord for G dominant 7th is: s t r f
So in the key of C if you are going from doh to fah you can play C dominant 7th in between, and if you are going from soh to doh you can play G dominant 7th in between.
Did you hear how interesting that sounded? try it and see and don’t forget to share this with a friend.