Slick Dominant Passing Chords
In this 5 Minute Masterclass we will cover how to play dominant passing chords. Before watching this lesson, you should already understand the concept of tritone substitution – check out the related lessons below for more information.
So How Can We Illustrate A Passing Chord?
In the key of C major, a 251 progression would be D-7, G7 and Cmaj7. If we substitute the G7 for its tritone substitute, we get D-7, Db7 and C. And if we play both dominant chords one after another we can view Db7 as a passing chord into Cmaj7
To take this a step further, we could add a dominant passing chord before the 5 chord, in this 251 progression. The V chord is G7 and a half step above G is Ab so we want some kind of Ab7 chord.
A Strong Pull To Resolve Down A Half Step
It’s important to recognize that this type of passing chord is always a dominant chord built a half step above the target chord. Dominant chords have a strong pull to resolve a half step down which is why this concept works so nicely.
Apply To "The Shadow Of Your Smile"
In this lesson, we will apply the theory to the first 8 bars of “The Shadow Of Your Smile” and add we will explore an exact process that you can use to find great passing chord opportunities.
To identify opportunities to add passing chords. Look for lone melody notes, right before the chord changes.
Next, analyse the harmony and work out the "target chord" and then simply move up a half step and build a dominant chord to approach the target.
Finally, analyse the melody note. Our goal is to find a voicing with that note on top and then use that vocing to approach the target chord. This is called ' harmonizing the melody note'
Dominant Passing Chords sounds great when the melody note you are harmonising is an alteration. In the examples in this lesson, most of the melody notes we harmonise have the #11 in the melody.
The alteration adds extra tension which makes the resolution into the target chord even sweeter!
Understand that you can create passing chords with any note in the melody, the melody note - it doesn't have to be the #11.
- Much of this is a process of trial and error, so experiment, and have fun!
ok Hayden, I’m trying not to be “giddy” with understanding! I’ve ALWAYS wondered about those “half step above chords” that would be on lead sheets. I didn’t understand the harmonic decision at all — even though i knew about tri-tone substitutions. I didn’t put it together. Really, really clear lesson. Thank you.
Super useful lesson Hayden – thank you!
Wow, that was a revelation. I had no idea about this before. Thank you so much Hayden, a great lesson, and very easy to follow and hopefully apply. 🙂