How to Play Piano Worship Chords Like a Professional
What Makes Piano Worship Chords Special?
Piano worship chords aren't very much different from the chords found in other types of music - pop, jazz, country, etc. - but they do have a certain sound to them that's a bit difficult to explain. So, instead of talking too much about it, we're going to look at two different chord progressions that should help you to create some improvised background music or figure out some nice chords for your favorite worship music.
How Do I Play Background Piano Worship Music?
Let's say you need a quick couple of minutes of music during a service or ceremony, where something is happening quietly, or quiet blessings are taking place, and you either feel the need for some music, or you've been asked beforehand to fill in a little bit at certain times.
You should play the following chord progression in the same key as the next song, if that song will be happening right away. Let's say the next song will be in the key of C, or you just like to play in the key of C, since it's pretty simple (all white keys). Here's what to do:
- Play octaves on C notes with your left hand - the C below middle C and the C one more octave below that work well
- In your right hand, play C major in 2nd inversion (G - C - E), then F major in 1st inversion (A - C - F), then G major in 1st inversion (B - D - G), then back to the F major, then back to the C major
- Keep playing the C octaves in your left hand the entire time.
- You can also improvise a light background melody on the white keys if you like
The C "pedal point" in this progression helps keep the sound anchored and provides a strong, solid foundation for your listeners (whether they know it or not!). Of course, this can be played in any key as well.
What's Your Biggest Need For Piano Worship Music?
Sometimes we have all the music we need for religious services, but other times we need to a little extra worship music.
When Do You Most Often Need Fresh Ideas For Piano Worship Music?
What Piano Chords Make That "Gospel" Sound?
The next chord progression might be a little too much movement for background music, but that's really up to you do decide. The chords could be used for a new hymn you write, or just to improvise.
It's hard to explain, but they just have the gospel feel to them. We'll just list the chords in order, and you can play them in whatever tempo and time signature you like - 3/4, 4/4, etc. The left hand should play the chord root in octaves, unless otherwise noted. Here they are:
C (G - C - E)
C7 (G - Bb - C - E) - with E in the left hand bass
F (A - C - F)
Fm (Ab - C - F)
Am (A - C - E)
D7 (F# - A - C - D) - with F# in the left hand bass
G7 (F - G - B - D)
C7/E - C7 with E in left hand bass
Be sure to keep the chord notes as close to each other as possible, when moving from one chord to the next. This makes for nice voice leading and a more pleasing sound overall.
The main characteristics of this second progression are the movement from major to 7th (C to C7), from major to minor (F to Fm), and using 7ths to move back to the original key (D7 - G7 - C).
How To Learn Piano Worship Chords Quickly and Easily
- Professional Piano Chords for Everyday Pianists
Teaches you how to play smooth, beautiful, professional piano chords quickly and easily - without having to read complicated sheet music.
Find Some Ideas On Your Own
Using these two examples as a starting point, come up with some of your own ideas for playing piano worship chords. Look at the chords in some of the hymn books. What chord progressions sound good to you? Copy those progressions!
Practice in your sacred space when no one else is around, to get in the right mood.