News for my church pianist readers: I’ve been creating video recordings of The Piano Invitation Collection and publishing them on my youtube channel.
Wow! I just finished writing the hand-written copy for The Love of God.
I just started it yesterday! That doesn’t happen too often. Thank you Lord!
Now…to input it into Finale which takes at least three hours to complete along with layout details.
I allow several days for the piece to settle before I finalize it. Reviewing the piece after a day or so allows me the chance to catch mistakes I may not have caught otherwise or…discover a different chord path altogether, etc.
Yesterday, I started a new advanced piano solo arrangement of “The Love of God”.
I have struggled in the past trying to write a piano solo version of The Love of God. Several years ago I created a vocal trio with piano accompaniment for this hymn. It was easier to write since I didn’t have to stick to the melody.
As I sat at the piano yesterday…a motive (a melodic pattern)… just came to me which you will hear in the introduction. I tried to stay true to the style of the song so as not to distract from the message.
This particular arrangement will be written in my “free style” of playing which I enjoy the most. ( no structure!) yay! Although structure does make the arrangement more user-friendly.
Thanks to many such as Ashley & Karen who have requested that I write an arrangement for The Love of God.
The Love of God (audio sample)
As promised, here are a couple more examples of a diatonic chord substitution. (Link to FREE download at bottom of this article.)
Church pianists enjoying bringing hymns to life by adding different chords! A recent question from one of my readers has created the perfect opportunity for me to share tips on chord substitutions….a topic I’ve been wanting to deal with for quite some time. Chord substitutions can add such color to a song! It’s a very B-R-O-A-D topic; meaning….there’s an endless supply of chord possibilities in any given key!
“I have been using various resources trying to learn more about theory, but I haven’t found any that go beyond a basic level.
For example, I know what augmented and diminished chords are, but I don’t know how to use them or how they fit into functional harmony. In analyzing your arrangements, I have noticed you use a lot of different kinds of chords, such as chords with altered bass notes or a I-ii half diminished-I-etc. progression for introductions.
How did you learn how to use all these? Do you have any recommendations for resources that would teach me more? Any advice would be appreciated!”
How did I learn to use different chords from the written music? You won’t like my answer I play them by ear…basically whatever sounds right. I do know chord theory but don’t think about theory application when playing….I just….play (Music writer’s confession: I don’t claim to be an expert theorist.)
For everyone’s benefit…the “different” chords we’re discussing are called chord substitutions. A chord substitution occurs when replacing a chord with a different chord.
Easiest Chord Substitution for Starters…
To replace a major chord within a key…use the chord a 3rd above or below the root note of a major chord. (The major chords within any key is the I, IV and V).
The I chord in the key of C Major is the C chord (CEG). Now, what note is a 3rd above C ? E…so the e minor chord (EGB) within the C scale can be used as a substitution as long as it “sounds” good within the occurring chord path (progression) of the song. Count a 3rd below C and you find A. The A minor chord (ACE) is the second choice for a C major chord substitution.
Two observations about these two chord substitution choices:
1. They’re both minor
2. They each have two notes in common with the chord being replaced
There are other types of chord substitutions but wanted to start with the easiest kind.
1.The chord substitution just described above (3rd above or 3rd below) is called the Diatonic Substitution. A diatonic chord substitution occurs when using different notes within a scale. It’s the most natural form of chord substitution because no note alterations take place; just using what ingredients are already available within that key
2. The key signature and melody of any song dictates what chord(s) can be used.
~~Next article will show examples of the Diatonic chord substitution~~
Great theory reference book: “The Complete Idiot’s Guide toMusic Theory”
Related article on Chord Substitutions
I just created this one page piano arrangement of “At Calvary” this past week for one of my hymn playing students. I’m teaching her to branch out from the middle of the keyboard when improvising hymns for prelude or congregational style.
She is accustomed to playing octaves with her left hand and now we’re trying to condition her right hand to play an octave higher with some fullness (up to 3 notes) and will gradually work into more right hand octaves.
Editor notes for the free piano arrangement of At Calvary:
Measure #5… Right hand plays octave higher for brief moment before working back to middle of keyboard in measure #7. (Notice the gradual transition)
Measure #8… double duty octaves on the last 3 beats.
Measure #15…Octave workout!
Measure #16…Just had to give her at least one 4 note chord
Click here to download Free Piano Arrangement: At Calvary
I just published the piano invitation collection! I thank the Lord for giving me the strength and clarity of thought through the editing process.
I originally planned twelve arrangements for this collection but added a bonus arrangement without extra cost The bonus arrangement is “Draw Me Nearer Medley”.
The entire invitation collection is on sale now through July 4th for $15!
Playing background music is my ultimate favorite way to play I just play in a more conversational style to enhance the message of the hymn.
The overall level of playing for this collection is late intermediate to early advanced. I always play more lightweight in nature during the invitation… to create a more appropriate atmosphere.
I will be posting youtube videos of each selection as time allows. You can also hear a sampler of the collection above.
Please note: If you want to purchase additional items with this collection…go to “Advanced Piano Solos” in the music store to buy this collection. The following “buy now” button doesn’t allow for purchasing additional items.
I know it has taken me a while on the piano invitation collection… but I’m VERY picky about my writing! Sorry….but I want to do my best
The piano invitation collection (pdf format) should be published by this Monday! The level of the songs are late intermediate to early advanced.
While you’re waiting….listen to a sampler of the invitation collection…
Returned from trip to my parent’s and working on the piano invitation collection.
Oh…there will be thirteen arrangements instead of twelve. I had been overlooking one other song in my file collection while working on this project. It’s actually a medley of “Draw Me Nearer with Close to Thee”.