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#1094917 - 04/17/08 05:19 PM Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
Hi, at your request, Rosa, here is our initial walk through a hymn improvisation exercise. I chose "Trust and Obey" because it is easy to work with. Because it is public domain, I can show the music here (this is a harmony I wrote out that is close to what you might find in any hymnal).



The first thing I want to do is make sure that everyone can identify the chords. I have noted each one. Take some time to make sure you understand how I named each chord.

A few things to note:

Key of F:
I - F major
ii - G minor
iii - A minor
IV - Bb major
V - C major
vi - D minor
vii - E diminished

VI - D major (this is a special chord we will talk about later)

I am using Roman numerals rather than chord letters in order to teach the relationships between the chords (the progressions), otherwise known as functional harmony.

Some of the chords are inverted but to keep things simple, I did not label them as inversions.

Any questions so far?
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094918 - 04/17/08 05:24 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
By the way, just a quick note of what we are going to be doing with this song.

1) Make sure we understand the basic chords.
2) Add 7ths.
3) Do chord substitutions.
4) Add color notes.
5) Add runs and fillers.

When it is done, you will not recognize it!
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094919 - 04/17/08 05:45 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
WillisWill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Charlottesville, VA
Hi Greg,

Just wanted to say thanks for doing this and count me in. My own knowledge of harmony is pretty bare, so I'm looking forward to picking something up. fyi - I'm okay through step 2 in your syllabus, then the wheels come off
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The posts are coming from inside the house! Repeat, the posts are coming from inside the house!

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#1094920 - 04/17/08 05:54 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3573
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Hi good people -

WillisWill - my wife and I were visiting the Charlottesville area a couple of weeks ago to see some historical sites, among them the country estates of Jefferson, Madison & Monroe.

Greg - so far so good with the music (by the way, how did you upload the notation here in a PW post? - I assume you initially created it as a digital file with a notation program such as Sibelius or Finale).

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1094921 - 04/17/08 06:11 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Alene Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/05
Posts: 78
Loc: Oregon
Hi Everyone: Yes, I understand what the chords are using the Roman Numerals. This should be interesting so looking forward to it.
Thanks Greg!

Alene

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#1094922 - 04/17/08 06:34 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1132
Loc: New Jersey
Well, this is over my head yet, but I hope I get to hear one or more of you play it eventually.
_________________________
mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1094923 - 04/17/08 08:32 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
JohnFrank, I use Finale, and there is an image tag that allows you to embed an image in a post.

I could move on, but want to ask mom3gram what is holding you back. I will be glad to explain further and probably need to. If you want, I will dissect the chords further.

Here is an example. The first chord has (from bottom up) F, C, F, A. If you order these notes like a triad, you come up with F, A, C, which is an F major chord. In the key of F, F major is the I chord.

Normally, for simple music like this, the bottom note probably names the chord for you. However, there is an exception or two in here. For example, see measure 23. The first beat has (from bottom up) C, C, F, A. This is still a F major chord but is inverted.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094924 - 04/17/08 08:52 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1132
Loc: New Jersey
What's holding me back is that I can't play single notes hands together yet, and this piece would require playing chords hands together. I'm sure the thread will still be around when I master the hands together thing. :-)
_________________________
mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1094925 - 04/17/08 09:09 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I'm in! This is something I've been wanting to practice!
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1094926 - 04/17/08 10:06 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
OK, here is the next step. Play through this hymn again and try to add the 7ths to each chord based on these rules.

I and IV chords - add major 7th.
All other chords - add minor 7th.

A major 7th is the note a half step under the root. For example on a F major chord, the major 7th is E.

A minor 7th is the note a whole step under the root. For example on a C major chord, the minor 7th is Bb.

Please note that these simple rules will not always work but they will work most of the time.

Don't force the issue. Sometimes a 7th will just not sound good in a particular chord. However, I would say that you can add 7ths to 80% of the chords in this song.

One last tip. You will have to experiment to figure out where to position the 7th in the chord. However, here is a good rule of thumb. If the root is doubled, replace the upper occurence with the 7th (unless it is the melody note).

Example: In the first beat of measure 2, the F (root) is doubled. Replace the F in the right hand with E (major 7th).

Now, please don't expect this to come easily at first. Take your time and don't get discouraged. Before long, you will be adding 7ths naturally without thinking about it, but there is some initial pain.

I will be back soon with an example of how I would do this next step. Feel free to ask questions in the meantime.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094927 - 04/17/08 10:20 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Steve W Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/07
Posts: 249
Loc: Omaha, NE
Great stuff - thanks, Greg!
_________________________
Steve W
Omaha, NE

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#1094928 - 04/18/08 02:53 AM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
rosa2007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 168
Loc: Hong Kong
Wow, this looks very EXCITING :p

 Quote:

I am using Roman numerals rather than chord letters .....

Perfect. I am at the point of transition to think in Roman numerals rather than in chord names.

 Quote:


By the way, just a quick note of what we are going to be doing with this song.

1) Make sure we understand the basic chords.
2) Add 7ths.
3) Do chord substitutions.
4) Add color notes.
5) Add runs and fillers.

When it is done, you will not recognize it!

I like that last sentence......

My tune is still recognizable so far in step no. 2 with the added 7ths.

Rosa \:\)

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#1094929 - 04/18/08 03:08 AM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
I saw the title of this thread, and thought: wow, this group has a quite authoritative leader.....then i realized it was the title of the hymn ;\)

Nice idea, I can follow so far, and I am excited to see the further steps.

Ragnhild
_________________________
Trying to play the piano:
http://www.box.net/public/dbr23ll03e

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#1094930 - 04/18/08 01:28 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
WillisWill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Charlottesville, VA
Hi Greg - regarding making 7ths out of all the chords, would we convert the V-7 chord in the initial score to a minor 7th as well or leave it alone as the major 7th?

JF - Charlottesville does have a lot of very nice historic homes; mine is somewhat more modest...
_________________________
The posts are coming from inside the house! Repeat, the posts are coming from inside the house!

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#1094931 - 04/18/08 01:48 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Woody-Woodruff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 615
Loc: Coastal Mississippi
Greg, I understand everything so far. I just found the thread here at work and have to wait until I get home to play it. Thanks.
_________________________

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#1094932 - 04/18/08 02:56 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
WillisWill.

The V7 already has a minor 7th. When I say minor 7th, I am referring to the 7th itself, not whether the chord is major or minor. A V7 chord is a major chord with a minor 7th. This is also called a dominant chord.

Here is the way to identify a major 7th and minor 7th:

A major 7th is the note a half step under the root. For example on a F major chord, the major 7th is E.

A minor 7th is the note a whole step under the root. For example on a C major chord, the minor 7th is Bb.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094933 - 04/18/08 06:07 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
thermos Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/09/07
Posts: 7
Thanks, an exciting topic! As a church accompanist I'm looking forward to the rest.

When you say add sevenths, do you mean substitute sevenths (in lieu of whichever chord tone is doubled, leaving it in four voices) or just add them? I would think just add/alter to prevent... strange sounds... but I don't want to do it "wrong."

Thanks again for this topic, and I'm going to check out your website!

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#1094934 - 04/18/08 06:54 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
A major 7th is the note a half step under the root. For example on a F major chord, the major 7th is E.

A minor 7th is the note a whole step under the root. For example on a C major chord, the minor 7th is Bb.
...so it's ok to have inverted chords.... I always wonder this when playing with fake books.
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1094935 - 04/18/08 07:24 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17773
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ragnhild:
I saw the title of this thread, and thought: wow, this group has a quite authoritative leader.....then i realized it was the title of the hymn ;\)
[/b]
:D \:D

Greg, I just want to add my admiration and a great big "THANKS" to you for these study groups! You have a talent for explaining these concisely and clearly.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1094936 - 04/18/08 08:27 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
 Quote:
Originally posted by thermos:
When you say add sevenths, do you mean substitute sevenths (in lieu of whichever chord tone is doubled, leaving it in four voices) or just add them? I would think just add/alter to prevent... strange sounds... but I don't want to do it "wrong."
[/b]
Just add the appropriate 7th to the existing chord at this point. For example, you would add the major 7th (E) to an F major chord. See the example below.

BTW, we are not concerned about keeping the song in 4 voices at this point because we are moving in a direction of solo piano rather than accompanying congregational singing. We can discuss what to do for congregational singing at a different point if you want.

In other words, if you are going to accompany 4 part singing, you really cannot alter chords much at all.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094937 - 04/18/08 08:31 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
 Quote:
Originally posted by I played it better at home:
 Quote:
A major 7th is the note a half step under the root. For example on a F major chord, the major 7th is E.

A minor 7th is the note a whole step under the root. For example on a C major chord, the minor 7th is Bb.
...so it's ok to have inverted chords.... I always wonder this when playing with fake books. [/b]
Actually, that is not exactly what I was talking about. I was just telling you how to find the 7th, not indicating the order it should be played on the piano.

Let's take a F major chord. To find the major 7th, you simply identify the note a half step under F, which is E. That is your major 7th but don't play it there. The F should be the lowest note played. Put the E somewhere else in the chord.

In fakebooks, you usually would not invert unless instructed. With extended chords like we are going to be using in this song soon, inversions are really not even possible. Inversions are usually marked as slash chords in fakebooks.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094938 - 04/18/08 08:40 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
All right, here is an example of how you might add the 7ths to the original song.



Don't worry if your music is different--they are multiple ways to do this--what matters is how it sounds.

If I note a chord something like IMaj7, the "Maj" refers to the 7th. So it is a I chord (which is major anyway) with a major 7th.

If I note a chord something like V7, the 7th is minor. This is also called a dominant chord (major chord with minor 7th).

If I note a chord something like IImin7, it is a minor II chord with a minor 7th.

Note a few things.

1) I did not force 7ths into every chord. I did do a quick count and noticed I put 7ths in 20 out of the 26 chords. This is probably a typical ratio.

2) Note I moved just a bit away from standard four part harmony but the chord structures have remained identical (except for the added 7ths).

3) Take a moment and make sure you can identify every 7th added and you know why it is a major or minor 7th. Remember our rule--I and IV chords get major 7ths. Every other chord gets a minor 7th.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094939 - 04/18/08 08:48 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
One thing I want to mention. I encourage everyone to play the original and this latest version side by side and listen for the differences. The major 7th is subtle but profound in the color it adds to music. The minor 7th is also dramatic.

These small modifications add up to a huge difference in the overall sound.

One other thing--if your piano is out of tune, the major 7ths may not sound good.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094940 - 04/18/08 11:29 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Howlett:
 Quote:
Originally posted by I played it better at home:
 Quote:
A major 7th is the note a half step under the root. For example on a F major chord, the major 7th is E.

A minor 7th is the note a whole step under the root. For example on a C major chord, the minor 7th is Bb.
...so it's ok to have inverted chords.... I always wonder this when playing with fake books. [/b]
Actually, that is not exactly what I was talking about. I was just telling you how to find the 7th, not indicating the order it should be played on the piano.

Let's take a F major chord. To find the major 7th, you simply identify the note a half step under F, which is E. That is your major 7th but don't play it there. The F should be the lowest note played. Put the E somewhere else in the chord.

In fakebooks, you usually would not invert unless instructed. With extended chords like we are going to be using in this song soon, inversions are really not even possible. Inversions are usually marked as slash chords in fakebooks. [/b]
That's what I thought.. thanks for confirming..
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1094941 - 04/19/08 02:44 AM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
thermos Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/09/07
Posts: 7
Thanks for the quick reply and advice. This is great- I'm getting better all the time at accompanying, but I need to work more on soloing. Chord substitutions/alterations/additions is something I've always wanted to learn about.

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#1094942 - 04/19/08 02:26 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
CillaH Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/05/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Toronto Ontario
New here and I'm so pleased to have found this! It's exactly what I've been struggling with on my own since getting back to playing after a very long absence. This time around I want to be able to understand what and why I'm playing and acquire the freedom to improvise and use lead sheets. I've always been a "show me the music" player!
I'm OK with understanding the basics in the original but adding the sevenths isn't sounding right to my ear so thank you for adding the second "7th" version. Am off to play it and compare.
Thank you so much for this! \:\)

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#1094943 - 04/19/08 11:42 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3573
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Greg - so far so good - still here with you. No minor major 7th chords, such as Dm(Maj)7 ? Too unusual? Later, maybe?

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1094944 - 04/19/08 11:55 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
JF, there are numerous options such as minor major 7ths that are wonderful.

I am right now trying to teach the most common way 7th chords look. If you played the 7th chord for each note of a scale building the chords with the notes in the scale, you would end up with minor 7ths on every chord except I and IV. So, it is natural that those are the chords that used most often.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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#1094945 - 04/21/08 04:09 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
WillisWill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Charlottesville, VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Howlett:

The V7 already has a minor 7th. When I say minor 7th, I am referring to the 7th itself, not whether the chord is major or minor. A V7 chord is a major chord with a minor 7th. This is also called a dominant chord.

[/b]
Thanks for the clarification, that makes sense. I should learn to read more carefully...
_________________________
The posts are coming from inside the house! Repeat, the posts are coming from inside the house!

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#1094946 - 04/21/08 05:48 PM Re: Hymn Study Group - Trust and Obey
Greg Howlett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 79
Loc: Monroe, GA
To continue this process, I now want to look at the chords being used. Here are some thing that jump off the page.

1) Every chord but two in the entire song is either a I, IV, or V chord. This is very common in hymns.

2) The two exception chords in this song are the VI and IImin chords found in the last line. Even though these two chords are somewhat out of character, they are very predictable. The VI is a secondary dominant (it might be referred to as a V of II). A secondary dominant usually resolves down a fifth, which would be II. So, the progression is VI7 - IImin - V7 - I. Note that each chord is moving down a fifth through the progression.

3) With the exception of the progression I just mentioned, the chord progressions used could not be more simple or boring. I - V7 - I - V - I - IV - I is not exactly harmonic genius.

If there are any thoughts, let me know. Otherwise, in a day, we will start changing the harmony to something more interesting.
_________________________
Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

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