Chromatic Passing Chords

So what are chromatic passing chords? Sounds pretty complicated, right? Well, it's really not. Let me explain. First of all, passing chords are kind of like passing notes if you know what those are. Passing notes are notes that occur in between notes of a chord. For example, if you are playing a C chord,and the melody goes from a G to an F, then an E, the passing tone would be the F. If the F wasn't written in, then you could add that as a way of embellishing upon the melody.

Chromatic passing chords work in the same way. Let's say you are playing the chord progression G7 to C. The chromatic passing chord down to C would be a chord built on the note that is one half step above or below the chord you are going to. So you could add a Db or a B chord before playing the C.

I use this "trick" all of the time. It jazzes up your music, adds a little more harmonic interest without getting too complicated and is very easy to do.

Try it out!

Debbie Gruber, B.M., M.M.