Color Your Chords

You can play chords very simply, just the root, third and fifth. That sounds okay for awhile. But then what do you do?

It's like cooking chicken the same way everytime - throwing it in the oven with a few breadcrumbs in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

You get bored. You need to change things up a bit. Chords all start to sound the same if they are not played with. Your music will sound dull and predictable.

There are lots of ways to give color to a chord or "dress it up" so to speak


So what is that? Extended harmony is adding notes to the chord beyond the triadic harmony (root, third and fifth). This would include 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths.

The extended harmony that we are going to use now is the 9ths and the 13th. Here is one way to added wonderful color to a chord. We're going to use the C chord as our example.

In the left hand, you will play the root and the fifth of a C which would be C and G. In the right hand, you will play the third of a C chord with your thumb. This is an E. Now count up 5 half steps and you will arrive at A. Your second finger in the right hand plays A. Count up another 5 half steps and you will get D. Your pinky finger plays this.

Notice how your fingers are equally spaced between the notes on the right hand.

Your E is the 3rd, the A is the 13th and the D is the 9th.

Now play both hands together and you will hear a gorgeous, spacious sound encompassing harmony that you do not traditionally hear with a C Major chord. This sound gives a sophistication and nuance to your playing.

Try this voicing out on other chords then put it in your songs gingerly and listen to how this enhances the quality of your chords and overall sound.

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Easy Piano Styles
Your's truly,
Debbie Gruber

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