CONTENTS (Keyboard Bk I)

Part One: Pop Symbols, Basic Voicings & Progressions

1. Introduction Keyboard Improvisation Bk 1

2A. Working with Major and Minor Triads

2B. Working with Major and Minor Sevenths

3. Three Plus One, Four Plus Two Voicing

4. Father I Adore You (I-ii-V-I; I-IV-V-I)

5. Mastering an Essential Progression: ii-V-I

6. Practicing God is So Good/Amazing Grace

Part Two: Extending Your Harmonic Options

7. Added Seconds

8. Quartals I

9. Quartals II

10. Sus Chords—Ways to Incorporate

11. Sus Extensions—Lush & Beautiful

12. Doubles—Alternating Harmonies

13. Chord Substitutions—Think Down in Fifths

14. Chord Substitutions—Thinking in Thirds

15. Chord Substitutions— Ninth (No Third)

Part Three: Advanced Harmonic Concepts

16. Dominant & Secondary Dominant Relationships

17. Chords that Never Made the Hymnbook

Part Four: Different Styles

18. Jazz Embellishments & Country Hammers

19. Slow & Fast Gospel, Latin & Salsa

Part Five: Fashioning Modulations

20. Establishing the New Key—Modulation I

21. Smoothing the Transition—Modulation II

22. Advanced Techniques—Modulation III

Part Six: Leading Worship from the Keyboard

23. Intros

24. Outros, Turnarounds, Loops

25. Word Painting—Supporting the Text

26. Altered Fifths

27. Leading & Accompanying from Keyboards

Appendix 1 Pop Symbols vs Roman Numerals

Appendix 2 Different Scales for Different Chords

Appendix 3 Chord Catalogue

Generated by Dr. Barry Liesch at Biola University

Draft, May 2012

12 Doubles—Alternating Harmonies KB Improvisation Bk1

By doubles, we mean pairs of chords used together in an alternating manner.  For example, while a melody note is being sung in a chorus or hymn, the harmony could change quickly between a C and F chord (I-IV-I), a C and G chord (I-V-I), or what happens frequently in African Gospel music, a C and D minor chord (I-ii-I).  This technique is a basic harmonic idea used in Rock music as well. It’s one way to give movement and energy to a piece.


Appendix 2: Different Scales for Different Chords TBk1

Classically trained performers practice the major and minor scales—ascending and descending two or four octaves—for countless hours. Still, they often are unable to use them in improvisations! Why? Perhaps they practice scales to improve technique, but not to create music.

This chapter attempts to addresses these issues, and to provide you with ideas on how to apply scales to harmony. As much as possible, practice the examples below in all keys.

27 Leading & Accompanying KB Improvisation Bk1

The keyboardist could lead the entire worship set alone (without any team members assisting) for 20 or 30 minutes. Here the keyboardist must be able to play and sing simultaneously, and may also have to talk or pray between numbers— do whatever needs to be done. This scenario confers a greatly enlarged role to the keyboardist!

26 Sevenths with Raised or Lowered Fifths KB Improvisation Bk1

Sevenths with raised or lower fifths function mainly as harmonic intensifiers. Think of them grammatically as adjectives or adverbs.  The dominant seven with a raised fifth has an augmented sound embedded within it, whereas the lowered fifth has a diminished sound.

25 Word Painting KB Improvisation Bk1

Worship songs have texts and texts have meanings and poetic images. We can honor and draw attention to these meanings and images by means of “word painting.”  Word painting is an expressive device that attempts to depict (often literally) the meaning of specific, individual words in the text.


24 Outros, Turnarounds, Loops KBImprovisation Bk1

Outros, turn arounds, and loops can also have a profound effect upon worship. They too allow for flexibility in worship, for following the Spirit, and for doing what is fitting and appropriate at the moment.

The word “outro” is a standard term among commercial musicians for an extension, tag,or coda to the final ending. A “turnaround” is an extension at the end, which leads back to the “head” (beginning). A “loop” is a phrase a few measures long that is repeated again and again for emphasis, usually toward the middle of the piece.

23 Intros KB Improvisation Bk1

The techniques discussed in this and the next the chapter—introductions, outros, turnarounds, and loops—can have a profound effect upon worship. They allow for flexibility in worship, for following the Spirit, and for doing what is fitting and appropriate at the moment.