Chord Voicings

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Chord voicings are the types of chords to put with a song or progression. In gospel music, you'll deal with the M7th (major) voicing or the m7th (minor), Dealing with the I- IV- V, you'll most likely play 7th chords: I (7th) - IV (7th) - V (7th). And your minors will most likely be 7th chords also. Where is the 7th?

Learning scale degrees is important. Let's say you're in "C" and you want to play the 'C7'. you go up the keyboard from C, (I) and count seven. You should be on B so your chord will be: C E G B. That's your M7th chord... but that's not the chord you want. You want the dominant 7th chord, in which the 7th will be flatted. so you'll play: C E G Bb. Now that's your C7th chord.  The chords that are dominant and will be flatted are: C, F, C# (Db) and F# (Db).

Now the minor voicing is different. You will play the dom.7th but it's usually the 1st and the 4th that will be minor, the 5th is played as the regular dom. 7th going back into the I chord. Also, in most minor songs, you'll play the 5th as the 2nd chord change, for instance:

      L.H. / R.H. - Words
I -   CG/ Cm7 (2) - Lord, I know I've been changed
V - GD/ G7th (4) - Lord, I
I -  CG/ Cm7 (3) - Know I've
vi - AC#/ A7(b6) {GAC#F} - Been
ii - DA/ F#M7(b5) - Changed
V - GD/ B aug

Major 7 voicings are pretty. They give a nice lush sound to your playing. You can incorporate more chords into your playing. Let's start out with "C" which incorporates C, F, G or the I- IV- V. Now the CM7 chord is: CEGB and the IV is FM7 which is FACE. You will use these voicings for your I and IV and the 5th will always most likely be the G7th chord which is GBDF because it will bring you into the I chord or C... no matter what voicing, major or minor.

Your passing chords will be altered to keep the beauty of the chord structure. For instance, in the 7th voicing you will use 7th chords or diminished to go from one chord to another. In the M7 voicing, you'll use M7th chords. This will add a certain class and sophistication to your playing. This works wonderfully with slow and medium songs:

L.H. / R.H. - Words

______________ My

CG/ CM7 - Soul Loves
EB/ Em7 - Jesus, My
FC/ FM7 - Soul
GD/ FM7 - Loves
CG/ CM7 - Jesus
AbD/ Abdim6- My
AE/  AM7 - Soul Loves
DA/ CM7(b5) - Jesus
AbEb/ AbM7 - Bless His
GD/ FM7 - Name
GF/E (turnaround chord)

As a major 7th voicing, the chords are altered but not in such a way that it takes away from the song. In the left hand you mostly play the I and V (perfect 5th) except for the diminished where you play the I and + or raised 5th (sharpened)

Here's a very cool lesson on Rootless Chords by Willie Myette:

All the best,

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