How To Add Fills Between Chords
In this lesson we will learn how to add fills between chords by using the triads built on the 1st and 2nd degree of the corresponding scale.
We will use the tune "Amazing Grace" to demonstrate the techniques for adding fills between the chords in the tune. We primarily be using major and minor triads to create these fills and so make sure that you are comfortable with major and minor triad shapes in all 12 keys.
We also apply the triad fill technique to the basic 12 bar blues in F and remember that this concept can be applied to any tune that you are working on.
Using Triads To Fill In Space
For an F or F7 chord, the triads built from the 1st and 2nd degree of the scale are an F triad and a G minor triad. We can use these triads as a basis to create fills over an F chord. A useful drill is to alternate the F and G minor triads over an octave:
Once we are familiar with the triad inversions we can then make patterns with these triads to create fills that suit the underlying harmony.
We then apply the same principle to the IV and V chords in the tune "Amazing Grace". For the IV chord – Bb7 – we use a Bb and C minor triad, and for the V7 chord – C7 – we will use a C and D minor triad.
Harmonising Melodies With Triads
We can take this a step further by harmonising the melody with triads in combination with triad-based fills in between the chord changes. If we take the F Major Scale we can harmonise every note of the scale with a triad except for the 7th degree which is the note E in the F major scale:
When we have the note E in the melody we would usually play the V7 chord – C7 in the key of F. In the below example we have harmonised all of the melody notes of “Amazing Grace“ with triads and we also create triad-based fills when there is space in the melody.
This technique is also useful when playing solo piano and also if you are arranging for choir parts or arranging a tune for multiple horns.
Formulas For Triad-Based Fills File Type: pdf
“Amazing Grace” – Triad Patterns File Type: pdf
“Amazing Grace” – Triad Harmonisation File Type: pdf
Work out the triad pairs for the chord changes on the tune you are playing.
Drill the triad inversions up and down the keyboard to familiarise yourself with the triad pairs.
Now apply the triads as fills when you have a break or space in the melody or in between the chord changes.
- Also practice harmonising the melody of the tune with triads to create a fuller sound when arranging hymns and church songs.