How To Play Fast, Uptempo Shouting Music

Shouting Music:

                          photo credit: The old ones are the best via photopin (license)

You're probably wondering what 'shouting music' is, right? Jermaine Griggs says it's a very specific style of gospel playing that is used in church during high periods of praise. Basically, it's real fast!

Most styles of shouting music are real fast, energetic and exciting. If you're interested in learning step-by-step, how to play shouting music by ear, you may want to check out GospelKeys 500

You'll learn:

  • How to master shouting music by learning Jermaine's techniques. He breaks shouting music into three key sections: "The Shouting Intro, The Main Loop Period and The Cool Down." You'll explore each part.
  • Discover the secrets to effectively playing shouting music and how to properly begin and end your playing naturally. This is one of the most awkward things in shouting music: The beginning and ending.
  • The power of the tritones in shouting music and how they allow your right hand to play fast-moving movements, fill-ins, and runs at double the speed!
  • How to play common shouting songs like "When I Think of the Goodness of Jesus."
  • How to play left-hand bass runs, right hand chordal movements, and fill-ins at high tempos and how to keep the speed of your shouting music consistent at all times!
  • The difference between praise songs and shouting music and how to determine whether to play in a linear or non-linear style. 
  • How to use modulation to increase the intensity of your playing during the highest points of the shouting period. This "constant modulation" is heard in many gospel songs and you'll be able to apply it to your shouting music immediately.
  • How to add flavor to your shouting music by exploring various advance techniques like stride piano, modulation, role reversal, linear shouting patterns and more.
  • How to play prepared and planned shouts that all instruments can follow (bass, organ, piano, guitar). Learn the ins and outs of changing keys and how to make sure all instruments are on the same page.
  • How to start a 'shout' from scratch. It is very difficult for musicians to initially start shouting music during a high praise part of church service.

Left-Hand Bass Runs

There are tons of bass runs that can be used in shouting music. Some runs move downward (from high notes to low notes). Other bass runs move in an ascending direction. In this lesson we'll be in the Key of Ab. Let's learn a few ascending and descending bass runs.

Ascending bass run (1-5)

Ab  C  Db  D  Eb  F  Gb  G  Ab (Notes played separately)

Descending bass run (1-5)

Ab  G  F  E  Eb  F  Gb  G  Ab

These bass runs focus on the 1st and 5th keys of the scale. Let's look at the Ab major scale:

Ab  Bb  C  Db  Eb  F  G  Ab

If you were to place a number by each of these notes, Ab would have a number 1 by it and Eb would be number 5. 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.

Ascending bass run (1-4)

Ab  B  B  C  Db  F  Gb  G  Ab

Descending bass run (1-4)

Ab  Gb  Eb  D  Db  F  Gb  G  Ab

Practice these with a metronome. This device keeps 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.

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

Play the C on your left hand and just play 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 = C/BbDFA (C)
Ab13 = Ab/GbBbDbF (Ab)

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.

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 here. 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, 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 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 

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 covered in GospelKeys 500:

  • Diminished chord tricks
  • Right-hand fill-ins
  • More fill-ins: b3 and b5 fill-ins
  • Three "magic" chords
  • Pentatonic and blues tricks
  • Chromatic drops
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.

Other concepts covered in GK 500:

  • Role Reversal techniques
  • Stride / Ragtime Effects
  • Linear Shouting Patterns / Vocal Accompaniment
  • Modulation

I found this lesson in my notebook awhile back when I was an active member in the gospel community. Hope this lesson helps you in your fast piano playing!

All the best,

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

The History of Seventh Chords

History of Seventh Chords: LadyDpiano
Dominant seventh chord on C: C 7 About this sound Play ( help · info ) . 7th: 1000 cents. See: flat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 It's been awhile since I've talked about seventh chords. You can read some earlier posts like, Another Seventh Chord, Most Common Variations On Seventh Chords and Play Diminished 7th and Half Diminished 7th Chords.

Here's some in-depth studies on the history of seventh chords:

Now that you know how to build a major chord, I want to introduce you to another type of chord.

Seventh Chords

Remember that a 3-toned chord is called a 'Triad.' Well, a 4-toned chord is called a 'Seventh.'

A seventh or dominant chord is built similar to a major triad. You see, a seventh chord is a major chord with an added 'minor third' interval on top. So, a major triad is a major third + perfect fifth.

A major third = 4 half steps or 2 whole steps.
A minor third = 3 half steps or 1 1/2 whole steps.

Seventh Chord = major third + perfect fifth + minor third


For example,  a C major chord is C-E-G. To create a C Seventh Chord (C7), add a minor third on top of the G note. To find it, remember...

from G to Ab is 1 half step
from G to A is 2 hal steps
from G to Bb is 3 half steps

Three half steps = Minor Third Interval.

By adding a Bb to a C major chord, you now have created a C7 chord.
C7 = C + E + G + Bb

Try playing seventh chords in all 12 keys! (C7, D7, E7, etc.)

This chord is one of the most utilized chords in jazz music. The added minor third creates the 'blues' feeling used in gospel hymns, blues, r & b, soul and more.

Secrets to playing piano by ear

This lesson is taken from the 300pg Piano By Ear Course

In the theory book, seventh chords are covered in depth. The lessons teach you how to play this chord in all 12 keys. You will learn scale degree names, major seventh chords, minor seventh chords, altered seventh chords and more.

If you're serious about playing jazz music by ear, get more information on the 300pg Piano By Ear Home Study Course

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider following on Bloglovin' Keep in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, too!

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

Heart and Soul (Jazz Style)

Heart and Soul (Jazz Style) : LadyDpiano
photo credit: Prawny

In 1938 Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael wrote Heart and Soul. Many of my students have learned this song from me or from one of their own family members. I am sure you can easily play the song. For Valentine's Day I wanted to put a different spin on it. I've learned many tips from Robert Pace. I thought I would share a different approach with you for this song. (Jazz style)

 Try the left hand chords a few times until they are easy to find, then play these variations on the famous "Heart and Soul" tune.

I 7 = CGB
VI 7 = AEG
II 7 = DAC
V7 = GDF

I'll post single note riffs for each measure in the right hand. Let's give it a try!

Heart and Soul Chord Chart

L.H. / R.H.

CGB/ C, C               AEG/ C
DAC/ C, B, A          GDF/ B, C, D
CGB/ E, E               AEG/ E
DAC/ E, D, C          GDF/ D, E, F
CGB/ E, F, F#         AEG/ G, E
DAC/ A, Eb            GDF/ D, C, A

C, F, C, F#, G/ C, F, C, F#, G (Both hands play the exact same notes)
D#, E, D#, E, D/ D#, E, D#, E, D (Both hands play exact same note)

CGB/ Eb, E             AEG/ C, A
DAC/ C, A, Bb       GDF/B, Ab, G
CGB/ C, Eb, E        AEG/ C, A
DAC/ C, A, Bb       GDF/ B, Ab, G
CGB/ C, D, Eb        AEG/ E, C
DFA/ D, E, F, G      GAF/Ab, G

C, F, C, F#, G/ C, F, C, F#, G (Both hands play the exact same notes)
Eb, E, C, C/ Eb, E, C (Both hands play exact same note)

Have fun improvising and Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

You may be interested in Jazz Intensive Training Center

 "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

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Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, too!

Unlocking the Power of the Triplet (Part Two)

Eighth note run: LadyDpiano
Eighth note run (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Continuing with a good article from Dr. Damani Phillips who currently serves as assistant professor of Jazz Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Iowa. If you missed the first part, you can see it, here.

Unlocking the Power of the Triplet

The Process

Step 2: Once comfort in developing a consistent and harmonically accurate quarter note line is demonstrated, move on to constructing the same type of line in running eighth notes. Remember, no deviation from the eighth note rhythm or stylizing of notes (scoops, bends, articulations, etc.) is permitted.

Play them as single notes.

Am7 = C, E, B, G# / A, G, F#, Eb

D7 = D, F#, A, B / C, F#, D, G

Gmaj7 = F#, B, D, C / B, G, D, F#

Gmaj7 = G, Eb, D, C / B, D, G, F#

 Step 3: Once you have a comfortable grasp of those rhythms that we would expect to see/hear in simple meter, move on to quarter note triplets. As is customary in the use of this rhythm, begin by phrasing the triplets in groups of threes. Take care in avoiding the natural inclination to place a heavy accent on the first note of each triplet group. You want to preserve the linear integrity of the line's construction, and heavy accenting of these notes will make each of the phrased groups together than one long linear phrase. Use this step in the process to help truly acclimate yourself to the sound and feel of the quarter note triplet. Playing 6 over 4 can initially be awkward for some, so work to help yourself find a balance between the use of their mathematical, aural, and tactile sensibilities in developing a comfortable relationship with this rhythm.

Am7 = A, C, E   / B, A, G

D7 = F#, D, E / A, F#, B

Gmaj7 = F#, A, E / F#, B, D

Gmaj7 = B, C, B / D, B, G

Step 4: Once comfortable with phrasing in groups of 3's, move on to phrasing the quarter note triplets in groups of 2's. Light accenting of the first note of each group should be applied to bring out the 3 over 4 polyrhythm created by the phrasing used, and should be executed with the use of legato tonguing ("du," not "tu" or "ta").

Am7 = E, C, B / D, C, E

D7 = B, A, E / D, F#, C

Gmaj7 = F#, D, B / G, E, C

Gmaj7 = A, F#, D / B, C, G#

Step 5: Now, extend the phrasing of the triplets to groups of 4, which generates metrical dissonance that carries over the bar line in mm. 1 and 3, but resolves itself every 2 measures. Again, light accenting of the first note of each group is necessary to bring out the implied 3 over 8 polyrhythm  generated by this phrasing pattern.

Am7 = G, E, C / A, E, G

D7 = F#, D, E / C, A, F#

Gmaj7 = A, F#, G / B, D, F#

Gmaj7 = B, F#, A / G, F, D

Step 6: Once comfort is demonstrated in phrasing the triplets in the fixed numbers outlined above, explore the possibilities afforded tot he improviser when phrasing the triplets in random groups of twos, threes, or fours. In an effort to counter the randomness of the pattern used, the use of a slightly heavier accent is acceptable as a means of giving each grouping clearer aural definition. This approach has the potential to generate an infinite number of possible phrased triplet combinations that both stay within and run across the barline, representing a significant expansion of options for the improviser. In this step, the selection of triplet phrase groupings itself becomes a part of the improviser's creative process. Here is an example of the application of this concept:

Am7 = B, A, C / E, G, B

D7 = A, E, F / F#, B, A

Gmaj7 = G, F#, F / D, D, G

Gmaj7 = A, B, C / D, G, B

Further Consideration:

The approach to manipulating the quarter note triplet discussed in this article can be applied to the phrasing of both half note and eighth note triplets, depending on factors such as song tempo, the performer's technical ability and the rhythmic sensibilities of the improviser. The examples provided here are only the first phase in the exploration of the potential of the triplet. The introduction of rests in strategic places further broadens the palette of options available to the improviser. Here's a sneak peek at one effective option that this approach can generate:

Am7 = A, rest, A / B, C, rest

D7 = C, G, F# / rest, F, A

Gmaj7 = D, rest, F# / A, B, rest

Gmaj7 = G, F#, D / rest, B, D

While the procedure discussed here may seem somewhat formulaic, the real value of this approach is found in taking this concept a step further by bending the rules outlined above. While the literal application of the exercises outlined here should generate a host of new ideas for the improviser to work with, the true "hipness" of this concept is unleashed in learning to seamlessly shift between triplet-based ideas and those based in the quarters and eighths that one would expect to see/hear in simple meter. If you choose to explore this concept further, a new world of possibilities awaits the inquisitive improviser.

You may be interested in, GospelKeys Urban Pro 600

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider following on Bloglovin' Keep in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, too!

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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