Passing Chords Tips & Tricks
In this lesson we will explore the concept of passing chords. In the previous lessons we have studied the basic harmony of the tune “Georgia On My Mind” and we introduced a simple left hand stride style with right hand melodic embellishments.
Enhancing The Harmony Of The Tune
We are now going to focus on the harmony of the tune and apply passing chords in addition to the regular chord changes. Understand that we don’t have to play passing chords but they are an option. The A Section of the tune repeats 3 times and so passing chords can be used to add interest and variety to otherwise identical harmonic passages.
Approaching V7 Chords with the Related ii-7 Chord
The first opportunity that I spot to add a passing chord is in the second bar of the tune where we have an A7 chord for the entire bar moving to D- in bar 3.
The A7 is functioning as the V7 chord of D- and so we can approach the A7 with E-7b5 to create a full 251 progression. Remember that with minor 251s the ii chord is usually voices as a -7b5 chord.
This passage can be further enhanced with a chromatic dominant passing chord into the D-7. A half step above D- is Eb so we would play some kind of Eb7 chord and we now have the progression E-7b5 to A7 to Eb7 to D-.
Passing Chords For 3625 Progressions
Bars 5 to 8 of the A Section contain 2 back-to-back 3625 progressions with the chord changes on the half beat and the melody on the quarter beat.
This harmonic and melodic situation is particularly well suited to passing chords. We can use half step chromatic approach chords in between each of the chord changed to create more harmonic impact.
Upper structure triads can also be used to create more tension and strengthen the sense of resolution for each chord change.
Passing Chords Notation File Type: pdf