Saturday, 20 May 2017

Chord Tensions In Jazz

Using chord tensions in your melodies and chord voicings will make ordinary chords sound much more lush and "jazzy". They create more options of different colors in the sound of a chord.

The word "tensions" is really short for "extensions" because they are an extension of the basic seventh chord. Chords are basically a scale stacked every other note. 

For example, a C major scale is CDEFGABC with the notes numbered *12345678* and a C major7 chord is CEGB with the corresponding scale degrees 1357. The tensions of a C major7 are DFA with the numbers 246. Since the tensions are actually considered an extension of the seventh chord, we give them the numbers 9, 11 and 13.

To summarize:
9 is the same as the 2nd note of the scale

11 is the same as the 4th note of the scale

13 is the same as the 6th note of the scale

Often it's sounds nice to play the tensions above the chord tones but you also can place them between the chord tones as well. Some chord tensions work on some types of chords better than others, here's a breakdown of what to use and when:

On a major 7 chord, you can use 9's and 13's to your own taste. 11's clash against the major 3rd too much but you can use #11's, but usually only on major 7's that are NOT the Imaj7 chord (use them on IVmaj7, bIImaj7, bIIImaj7, bIVmaj7, bVImaj7 and bVIImaj7). It's almost become cliche to play a #11 on the final major7 chord of a jazz song.

On a minor 7 chord, you can use 9's and 11's and both sound awesome and really give a minor 7 a full, modern almost R&B sound. You can occasionally use a 13 on a minor chord but it will really stick out as it rubs against the flat 7 (which is sometimes a good thing).

On dominant 7 chords, you can play 9's and 13's. 11's are avoided because like the major 7 chord, it rubs against the major 3rd in a unpleasant way. In addition to 9 and 13, you can "alter" the tensions 9, 11 and 13 by flatting or sharping the 9, sharping the 11, and flatting the 13. This creates many options for different colors and are explained more fully in the Dominant V7 Chords section.

Finally, when you see a chord symbol such as C-11 or C13 it means that you should play all the available chord tones and tensions below as well. So C-11 has the 1,b3,5,b7,9 and 11. But if you see something like C-7(11), then you should just add the one tension listed. So C7(13) has the 1,3,5,b7 and 13.

 Sometimes you see chords like a C-6 but this means there is an added 6 but NO flat 7 it is written as a 6 instead of 13 because the number in a chord symbol only implies the chord tones below the number are played.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Major Minor Scale

I’m going to talk about a few things concerning the mystery of the major minor scales.

The major scale is quite deep and beyond just your d r m f s….progression. 
I  want to show you a few today, then go further in a more advanced teaching later.
The major scale is a foundation for all other scales. Get these, and you will never be the same in your musical thoughts.

We know the major scale well I suppose? Do you also remember my statement that if you know your major, you will know your minor?


You can play any minor scale by simply playing ANY major scale starting and ending on the 6th tone of that major scale. So if you know your numbers, you’ll be good at determining the 6th tone of any scale very quickly. Then, you simply play that SAME major scale (do NOT change a thing about the scale... play the same notes) starting and ending on that 6th tone.

Major scale on the key of C

Relative minor scale for the C Major scale, which is A minor

So placing it on an extension of the C major scale
See how we did that? The picture above shows a C major scale repeated two octaves (which means, it repeats itself again with higher sounding notes). I repeated the scale so that I can show you this simple strategy to learn the “relative” minor scale that goes along with C major.

You see, every major scale has a minor scale that’s related to it. You can call it a “sister” or “brother” scale, or a “cousin”... it doesn’t matter. They are related.

-They share the SAME NOTES.
-They share the SAME KEY SIGNATURE.
-They share the SAME CHORDS.

For C major, that “relative” minor is A. How did we get “A?” Easy! It’s the 6th tone. 6 is your magic number when it comes to minor keys. Just remember “6.”

So just play C D E F G A B C but from “A” to “A” --- thus, giving you: A B C D E F G A

But let us go beyond this, and I want you to take the idea about all keys, and I’d talk vaguely so you can easily transpose the knowledge round the keyboard.

Now, we are talking on the mystery of the major scale and its role and relationship with other scales [we have just seen one already].

Going down step-wise to B, I’m going to relate the major scale with a half diminished scale. If ever you have trouble remembering your half diminished scale, just know that you can play it off a major scale.

To play your B half diminished scale, just play your C major scale starting from B to B with some exceptions of using your E , G , and A instead, but still using your A [playing from the 7th of any scale to its octave while you flatten your 3rd, 5th, and 6th will give you a half diminished scale of the 7th note]

Now, when you on the tonic of C maintain the notes of the scale, but add the flattened 3rd to it, it becomes your 8 tone Spanish scale on the key of B also:

When you remove the 3rd on the key of C and add instead the flat 5 to the general scale, you will have yourself a Composite scale on the key of B:

Playing the C major scale with a sharp 4th instead of the fourth will give you a Neapolitan minor on the key of B as well.

Next in line is the beautiful perfect 5th, G in this case. Perfect because going up, it’s a perfect fifth, but down, it’s a fourth. It completes the circle of music. This will in turn give you your basic mixolydian scale. Interchange the 4th with a flat 5th, and you have a mixolydian mode off the one/tonic.

Following the sequence, we know the 6 represents the minor scale, which is also the basic Aeolian scale on C. So in this case, Aeolian means your primary minor, but we have to others of that in every major scale. The Dorian scale and the Phrygian scale [2nd and 3rd respectively] are primary minor scales off two other primary major notes/scales on that same scale.

More to follow soon....
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017


First written by Harold Hanson
Rewritten by Maro

A voicing is simply a representation of a chord.
*How the notes in a chord are spaced
*What notes are being played twice
*Where the root of the chord is placed
*What feeling a particular order gives you

These things are all important when it comes to understanding voicings.
And believe me, some musicians need a lot of help in this area. Just because you’re playing the same notes as the next musician, it doesn’t mean you’ll make that chord sound the same way the next musician does.

I know musicians who can take the same old major chords we’ve been playing for years and make them sound like something we think we’ve never played before. And when you find out what they’re doing, you’re often times blown away because it’s so simple. The key is how you voice your chords and where you place them.

So in this lesson, all I would do is take regular seventh chords and alter the order and number of notes I play.

Step 1: I would start with the regular root inversions.
C major 7: C E G B

Step 2: I will now take out the 5th interval.
The 5th interval in this chord is “G” (”G” is the 5th tone in the C major scale).
C major 7: C E B

Step 3: I choose to only play the root on my left hand bass.
C major 7: 
C on left hand - E B on right hand

Step 4: I choose to double up on the “third” (
means playing octaves).
The third interval in this chord is “E” (“E” is the 3rd tone in the C major scale).

Step 5: Once I establish my voicing (which is basically “3 7 3 over the root bass”), I will use this same voicing all the way up the piano.
You already know the seventh chords that correspond to the major scale.

Just slide over your fingers one note and that will give you the voicing for the next chord in the scale.

C major 7 = C E G B = new voicing (C - E B E)

D minor 7 = D F A C = new voicing (D -  F C F)

E minor 7 = E G B D = new voicing (E - G D G)

F major 7 = F A C E = new voicing (F - A E A)

G dominant 7 = G B D F = new voicing (G - B F B)

A minor 7 = A C E G = new voicing (A - C G C)

B half-diminished 7 = B D F A = new voicing (B - D A D)

Note: What you see in the first group of notes is what the chord normally looks like in root position.
Then you see our voicing in parentheses.

You can add a little grace note effect in your chord by sliding from the note just before the middle note in your right hand - which is the same as the last notes on your left hand, i.e E A B E. Or else, you can just play them together.

You may be thinking… “Wow! That seems too easy. I just move my fingers over and I can learn all these new voicings!” 
Well, that’s because these voicings all have the 3rd and 7th in them and quite frankly, that’s all you need in order to play a chord (along with the root, of course). 
The 5th doesn’t really tell you much about the chord because major, minor, and dominant chords all have perfect 5th intervals. What really matters in a chord is what the 3rd and 7th are doing.

(Even when you’re trying to figure out what kind of chord you’re playing, the third and fifth should be able to tell you. Any extra notes may hint at it being an extended or altered chord but the 3rd and 7th will tell you what kind of underlying chord you’re playing, in most cases).

So, try making your own voicings.
Maybe you won’t use “3 7 3” like I did. Maybe yours is the reverse: “7 3 7.” That sounds pretty good, too! And you can even take it all the way up the scale too because it has the 3rd and 7th and that’s all you need in order to form the seventh chords of a major scale.

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ditone Applications (part two)

The fourth chord substitution we will talk about is the Tri-tone.

TRI-TONES!!! The big girls of gospel music! Aha! Everybody is talking about tri-tones.

The question is, Can tri-tone substitutions really revolutionize your play?
The answer is YES

I know you’re thinking… “This is going to be very very complex"

Let me assure you that this concept is very easy to understand. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Perhaps you’ve seen these words thrown around forums.

Well, I’m finally going to demystify tri-tone substitutions for you.

As you know, a tri-tone is made up of the 1 and b5 interval.

C major:
1 2  3 4  5 6 7
In C major, that will be C Gb (G is the 5th… so simply lower it to Gb).

It’s also known as a diminished 5th interval. (literally means to “make smaller”).

But here’s the thing with tri-tones. Unlike other chords, you really only have to learn 6 of them. Yes!

12 is the magic number in music. 
There are 12 major chords, 
12 minor chords, 
12 diminished chords…
12 of everything! But with tri-tones, they are symmetric. In other words, they are the same if you take the bottom note and move it to the top. It doesn’t matter.

Take that “C Gb”, flip it, and you’ll get “Gb C” (it’s still a tri-tone).

On the other hand, if you take a perfect fifth like “C G” and flip it, you won’t get the same 5th but instead, you’ll get a 4th (“G C”). That’s because they aren’t symmetric.

Tri-tones are basically equal when you transpose them. And get this…
They cut the octave perfectly in half.

Yes, believe it or not, the “b5 (flatted fifth) marks the MIDDLE POINT of the octave. So if you go from C to Gb and then from Gb to C, you would have encompassed an octave.
Octave = 12 half steps
Tri-tone = 6 half steps (or 3 whole steps, thus the name “tri”)

Because of all this, there are really only 6 of them. Gb C is basically the same as C Gb (at least for the purposes in which we’ll use them). That means, all you have to do is learn these (and I’m going to use informal spellings just to keep things simple):

C Gb
Db G
D Ab
Eb A
E Bb

…And you’ll automatically know that the “flipped” versions are:
Gb C
G Db
Ab D
A Eb
Bb E

So the key is to master not only these tri-tones played as chords (or dyads) but to master, for example, what a tri-tone up from C is. In other words, you should be able to know that the other “tri-tone” side of D is Ab. Or the other side of G is Db. Or the other side of E is Bb, and vice versa.

Once you understand this, tri-tone substitution is easy. It basically says that you can substitute the chord a tri-tone away for the chord you’re currently on. It works best with dominant chords but you can mess around with it on major and minor seventh chords as well.

But basically, let’s see how this works in a 2–5–1 chord progression. 

Normally, in a 2–5–1, the 5th tone is a dominant chord.

2 (minor 7) - 5 (dominant 7) - 1 (major 7)

In C major, this plays out as:
D minor 7 - G dominant 7 - C major 7
D minor 7 = D F A C
G dominant 7 = G B D F
C major 7 = C E G B

See the “G dominant 7”? The rules behind “tri-tone substitution” say that you can replace this G dominant 7 with the dominant chord that is 3 whole steps away
That is the golden rule!

You don't just use tritone anywhere unless you are an expert and you have a very quick hand.

Tri-tone Substitution
This is the use of a chord, 3 whole steps away to replace (or follow) the original chord.

I use the word “follow” because, in my experience, you can usually play your original chord and then follow-up with the dominant chord a tri-tone away. And other times, you can substitute the original chord altogether.

And like I said, if you know your tri-tone relationships very well, it won’t take long to know that you can use Db dominant 7 in the place of G dominant 7 (G7 for short).

D minor 7 >>> Db dominant 7 >>> C major 7
D minor7 = D F A C
Db dominant7 = Db F Ab B
C major7 = C E G B

Why does the Db7 work so well as a substitute for the G7 chord?

Well, let’s look at their notes:

Regardless of what you call them, do you see the two common notes that these two chords share? In fact the notes they share (B F) form a tri-tone, themselves! There are just tri-tones everywhere!

Exercise: Come up with tri-tone substitutions for every 2 – 5 – 1 chord progression.
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Ditone Applications (part one)

According to Wikipedia, In music , a ditone is the interval of a major third. The size of a ditone varies according to the sizes of the two tones of which it is compounded.
I actually don't like big grammar... what are the application?

The di-tone on your left hand is usually coupled with a form of quartal chord on your right hand. I like to associate them in clumps for better understanding, because there are other ways to use the di-tone. Here are some general rules to using this di-tone:

1. The di-tone mimics the bass line:
What this means is that if your bass line is C, then your di-tone will usually be C and E.

2. The di-tone is usually coupled with a quartal chord in the right hand

C E - Bb D# G# (Quartal chord)

As a Passing Tone
Remember to think about the bass note. The bass note is exactly what it sounds like: It is the actual sound and movement of the bass guitar. So if you hear the bass guitar on a song go from C to D to E, then your di-tones will be C E, D Gb , and E Ab. Your right hand chord will be Bb quartal lead – C quartal lead – D quartal lead. 
But be careful! Make sure that when you hear the bass that you use the bass notes that are acting as passing tones. So you have a responsibility to learn and interpret the song to see if it’s a foundation bass note, or a passing tone. So what you can do is move the di-tone / quartal lead combination in whole notes to get to your destination. So if your starting point is C and your destination point is F, then you can use the di-tone / quartal lead combination that goes from C to F, but on F you play the foundation chord.

N.B. The reason why I describe this as a di-tone / quartal lead combination, is because what you can do with the quartal chord is play around with the *quartal lead chords. I also call it a quartal lead because it is not the actual quartal chord that goes with the tone, but the leading chord that will take you there. Get it?

This is why I describe the chord in clumps, because each clump has its own distinct way of use, even though they are used in combination.

Replacing the 1 Chord

You hear this done in jazz music an awful lot. Instead of playing a regular C major chord, you can play:
LH     -     RH
C E - A D G (C Quartal chord)

You can even move these chord combinations in whole or half steps, up and down, to get to your destination, and it sounds really jazzy.

A quartal chord as a chord in fourth degrees, or a triad chord combination with intervals of four notes e.g. l – r – s. From the first note to the next note are four tones.
The di-tone is usually used to substitute for your diminished 3rd chord. Let’s say you have this progression:
t r fe / l de m - m d r / se d r s - l m s / s t d 
You can substitute the 3rd diminished chord representation with your di-tone, or use your di-tone to play passing chords to your destination:
m se -  r s d

m se / r s d = fe to / m l r = se d / fe t m

I will continue from here in my next post.
You are always welcome to ask questions.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Jazz Theory: Modes in Improvisation

When musicians talk about modes in jazz, they often mean the seven modes based on the major scale, however I prefer to think of each mode as a scale in its own right. Having said that, in order to learn the concept, there is nothing wrong with taking a major scale and making each note in turn the tonic of a mode. Modes are used in Modal Jazz, which is not (yet) covered in this course, but knowledge of modes can also sometimes be useful for learning to improvise over chord changes. It is important to realise that this approach should only be used as a preliminary to learning to improvise melodically.

Let’s look at modes in two ways, relative and parallel:

1) Relative

The simplest way to understand relative modes is to start with the major scale of C, but instead of beginning and ending on the note C, begin on each degree of the scale in turn to create a different mode:

ex 5a: Relative modes.

2) Parallel

Although the above modes are based on the same notes as the C major scale, they each function as a different key in their own right and the starting note of the mode, not the relative major scale, is the root note. Eg the Dorian mode starting on D (using all the same notes as C major) is a D Dorian not a C Dorian.

Similarly the Dorian mode starting on C (which would use the same notes as Bb major) is a C Dorian, not a Bb Dorian.

If we take one key centre (ie one note) and base different modes on it using that note as the root we get parallel modes. In other words the Dorian mode starting on the note C is parallel to the C major (Ionian mode) and all the other modes starting on C.

ex 5b: Parallel modes

It is important to learn both approaches. Initially it may be easier to think of the 7 modes relatively as above, e.g in relation to a major scale, but a more musical approach is to learn the actual sequence of intervals that make up each mode. In other words a Dorian mode functions purely as a scale by itself, not a relative of the major that starts on the second degree. A good exercise is to write out and learn all the modes in all keys as relative and parallel.

Learn the intervals between each step of the different modes:

( T=Tone, S=Semitone)

Ionian = TTSTTTS (in semitone intervals 2212221)

Dorian = TSTTTST (2122212)


and learn to sing them using (moveable doh) solfege



Chord/Mode System of Improvising

Improvisers today are often taught a system based entirely on modes and scales, but it is important to realise that although it is necessary for the learning improviser to learn them, scales should ultimately be used to construct musically meaningful melodic lines.

The commonest chord progression is the IIm7-V7-I. The most basic implied scale is the major scale of the I chord, but it may be also useful to think in terms of modes of the major scale in order to visualise the root progression. Take the sequence Dm – G7 – C maj7

There are two ways of approaching this sequence.

1) The Key Centre Method:

Analysis tells us that these chords are diatonic to the key of C, i.e. they all have a key centre of C (C:IIm7-V7-Ima7). A C major scale can be used to improvise over all three chords. This can be useful for the beginner, especially with fast-moving chord changes.

HOWEVER it is often useful for chord notes to fall on strong beats. If you use the C major scale but start the scale on a chord note for each chord you will probably have more success than if you merely use a C major scale indiscriminately over the sequence. This is not easy until you have a thorough grasp of all notes in all chords, hence the alternative approach:

2) The Modal method:

Each chord can be associated with the mode based on its root note.

Ex 5c: modes implied by IIm7-V7-I

Note that chord notes fall on the beat. This method also has some drawbacks.

You would not always want to start a scale on the root note of a chord.
With descending scales the chord notes do not fall on the beat.
With fast moving changes it is difficult to think of the modes in time.
In practice it is often useful to cut out one mode in this process: as most V7 chords in mainstream jazz have a preceding IIm7 it can be useful to use the Dorian mode to cover the V7 chord as well.

The key centre method is useful for fast moving chord changes, the modal method for slow moving changes when there is more time to think of the modes.

Alternative key centres

In the progression we looked at in ex 2e we found an alternative way of analysing the progression, with a possible key centre of D. If we take a similar progression we can use either the modal or key centre method to choose which scales on which to base an improvisation.

ex 5d: RN analysis showing alternative key centre.

With the simplified modal method (ignoring Mixolydian) we would think: E Dorian, D Dorian, C major, D Dorian (ex 5e-1)

With the key centre method we would use the alternative key centre and only need to think: D major, C major. (ex 5e-2)

ex 5e: Modal method and key centre method.

The modal method becomes easier if you treat all minor chords (in a major key) as IIm7 (Dorian). This makes some sense because VIm7 chords are often changed to become secondary dominants (as above -ex 5d), so in many cases minor 7 chords will either be an actual IIm7, or a IIm7 in the new key centre implied by the secondary dominant as with the Em7 above).

Both of these methods can be useful for beginners, as they can make the process of playing over chord changes less daunting, but it is very important to realise that this is only a small step on the way to understanding harmony. In the above example we are thinking of the Em7-A7 as being in D major (key centre method) or E Dorian. The problem is that in this case, although the A7 does not resolve to a tonic, it does not necessarily imply D major, in fact D minor often sounds better for jazz. You will find that a D harmonic minor scale sounds more interesting. You could think in terms of modes of minor scales, however it is far more important to learn the notes of the chords and begin to think about the scale using those notes on the strong beats. This leads to a more musical and melodic approach than the more technical process of thinking in modes for chord changes.

Whenever a cycle of dominant 7ths appears without a preceding IIm7 chord, (e.g. middle 8 of I Got Rhythm sequences), it is either necessary to think of Mixolydian modes (ex 5g) or major scales with a flattened 7th (same thing but easier to learn.

Maxwell Ibe.

Friday, 10 March 2017


Are you a frustrated jazz musician?
Do you play your notes correctly but can't find the right sound? This will help you learn how jazz works and how to get it into your system.

1. Listen to a lot of jazz music. Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Pepper Adams, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, McCoy Tyner, Art Tatum, Sidney Bechet, Oscar Peterson Al Jarreau, Ray Brown, John Scofield, David Benoit, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck and Peter White are all excellent and very different jazz artists.

2. Listen night and day. Go for days without any other music. You will notice the difference.

3. Find out where you can see live jazz performed in your city, and go see performances often.

4. Jazz often have a triplet feel called 'swing. ' It can be explained many different ways, but the best way to learn it is just to listen to jazz. However, be wary; artists such as Monk and Mingus have distinctive styles of swing that may not sound good on all charts.

5. Train your ears and brains: Try to follow the rhythm of a song throughout. Start with a simple 4 measure beat, swinging track by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (check the syncopation on "Moanin'"). Move on to tracks and both.

6. Only after this analytic approach, synthesize. Listen to the interaction of great tightly interacting jazz groups, like the ones of Bill Evans or Dave Holland, in live contexts. Notice how they "feel" each other in the group, how they react to one another. The musical experience will be more and more rewarding and gain depth as you do so. Try approaching more complex music.

7. Play a blues scale. There are many different blues scales. Here is "C": C, E flat, F, F sharp, G, B flat, C.

8. Play your chromatic scale in your left hand, and hold each note for two beats.

9. Choose a C note (middle, high, etc. ), and play it repeatedly with your right hand at the same time as you play the chromatic scale with your left.

10. Experiment with different rhythms. After a few times through, add "E flat" while playing.

11. Play C and E flat together or separately. Make your way up through all the notes in the blues scale above.

12. Learn the blues scale at least in the seven major keys.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


Suspended chords are really powerful. They can instantly add a lot of flavor to your playing if you know when to throw them in while you are playing.

Alright, before you start throwing in suspended chords into your playing, I'd like to ask you to learn them first. Please check out the first post on suspended chords first; it should help you to better understand the topic.

One way to get very familiar with suspended chords is to practise playing them with your left hand, your right hand and then both, chromatically. 

What I'm trying to say is that say you start with G suspended: D-G-C you then play it up chromatically and then down chromatically.
For example: D G C/Eb Ab Db/E A D....

How Pianists Apply Suspended Chords
If you know how to use the suspended chords very well, it would be easy for you to throw them into your playing anytime.

Chord Substitution
One thing I know about them is that they can come in very useful in giving your regular chords different flavous.

Take this chord for example: (Left Hand/Right Hand) [on the key of C]

Gb/E Bb A D

You can give it another flavor by rerouting the notes (which gives you a suspended chord on your right hand) thus:
Gb D / E A D

Notice that the chords have exactly the same notes but different flavors. All you just need to do is to know when to switch between the two flavors.

Use Suspended Chords While Soloing
You can use suspended chords to spice up your soloing. You would have to figure out how to do that yourself but I will definitely show you when I start putting up audios  here.

Use Suspended Chords as Passing Tones
This one is very easy; with respect to the example I'm showing though.
There are several types and categories of passing tones. 

A passing tone is basically one or more chords that you can use to fill up empty spaces while you are playing.
For example, say you want to move from chord 1 to chord 4 [on a 4/4 bar time signature with moderate bpm(beats per minute)]

This example is on the key of C
You could throw in something like this:
the numbers represent the beat counts
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4
1 2, E/D G C, Gb/E A D, 3|Ab/Gb B E, A/G C F, 4|G A C E/G C E G  

I hope you understand that

Give Your Playing a Jazzy Feel
I learnt this from Jamal's Urban Worship Extreme DVD.
If you know your suspended chords very well, you can throw them in every once in a while to give your playing a jazzy feel. To be able to do this, you must understand the suspended chords you can substitute with  your chords to give that jazzy feel.

Monday, 13 February 2017


Suspended chords leave you hanging in mid air. They create suspense or anticipation. They sound and feel as though they should be resolved.

A suspended chord (or a chord suspension) is usually made by holding one of the tones of a chord a tone higher, then resolving it to its resting place. This can be done with any tones of a chord, but one of the more common suspensions is to manipulate the third of the chord, by first playing the fourth, and resolving it to the third. So a C suspended chord has the tones of the root, the fourth and the fifth:

A C suspended chord of this type is often shown in chord charts as either a "Csus", or a "C sus4". "Sus4" means that the third is initially played as a fourth, and resolved to a third.

In "real music", let's suppose you're playing a simple tune which uses three chords, C, F, and G, then returning to C. Try adding a little flavor to the mix: turn that final chord into two chords. Make it a suspended C chord, followed by a C chord.. Your chord progression would look like this: C - F - G - Csus - C. You can try this on a guitar or a piano.

Experiment with other suspended chords. Put them in places where you need a bit of emotion in your music. Might be just what you're looking for. Take a Christmas carol book (one that has chord symbols in it is good for this purpose), and try adding suspensions to dominant or tonic triads.

In the Key of C:

Sus 4 chords- Formed by raising the 3rd of the chord you are playing by a half step.

C-E-G is your basic major triad C chord. The E in bold is your 3rd.

C-F-G: The F in bold is your suspended 4th. Notice that the distance between E to F is a half step. This chord now becomes your suspended 4th chord. If you play a I IV V progression, the IV is the best chord to play as a suspended 4th.

Sus 2 chords- Formed by lowering the 3rd of the chord you are playing by a whole step.
C-E-G This is your basic major triad C. The E in bold is your 3rd.

C-D-G The D in bold is your suspended 2nd. Notice that the distance between E to D is a whole step. This chord now becomes your suspended 2nd chord. I hope this helps!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Gospel Musicians and Remuneration

Written by Daramola Olanrewaju
Much has been said concerning the issue of Gospel musican getting paid or not- an age-old controversy.

Well to clarify thoughts especially on my previous post, here is my stand.
It is right for musicians to be paid. 1Tim 15:17-18

It becomes wrong when a musican does it solely for the money-the principal, God, forgotten.

When money controls the input quality (pay less, play less) (pay more, play more). God is a jealous God, anything that takes His place in one's heart is an idol. In God's works, the pay shouldn't influence one's input quality; always give your best. He demands an unconditional wholehearted service.1Samuel 12:24

Payments should be commensurate to the size of the church. "Elephant salaries" shouldn't be paid by ants-that's extortion; "Ant salaries" shouldn't be paid by elephants-that's exploitation. Col 4:1

A church musician may decide to serve as a volunteer-although he is fully aware of his right 1Corin 9:12
Outside of church service, dear gospel musician, the ball is in your court but always remember to glorify God in all you do. Col 3:17.

Note: Payment here is used in the sense of monetary/non-monetary compensation which serve the purpose of encouragement.

Edited by Mpiano.