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Using "Jazz" Chords

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  • Using "Jazz" Chords

    Can someone give me a crash course on using jazz chords in a typical I-IV-V song using "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" as an example?

    G C D C
    Lord, I lift your name on high
    G C D C
    Lord, I love to sing your praises
    G C D C
    I'm so glad you're in my life
    G C D C
    I'm so glad you came to save us

    G C D
    You came from heaven to earth
    C G
    to show the way
    C D
    From the earth to the cross
    C G
    my debt to pay
    C D
    From the cross to the grave
    Em Am
    From the grave to the sky
    D G
    Lord, I lift your name on high


    But, this is "too" jazzy for me - YouTube - Lord I lift your name on high

    What can I do to make I-IV-V songs more interesting without sounding "too jazzy"? Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sambekzx View Post
    Can someone give me a crash course on using jazz chords in a typical I-IV-V song using "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" as an example?

    G C D C
    Lord, I lift your name on high
    G C D C
    Lord, I love to sing your praises
    G C D C
    I'm so glad you're in my life
    G C D C
    I'm so glad you came to save us

    G C D
    You came from heaven to earth
    C G
    to show the way
    C D
    From the earth to the cross
    C G
    my debt to pay
    C D
    From the cross to the grave
    Em Am
    From the grave to the sky
    D G
    Lord, I lift your name on high


    But, this is "too" jazzy for me - YouTube - Lord I lift your name on high

    What can I do to make I-IV-V songs more interesting without sounding "too jazzy"? Thanks.
    (First post - hello!)

    I don't think that song particularly lends itself to jazz chords in the truests sense, but I'll throw some options your way

    1) Make all the chords into their "7th" types:
    ...so in the key of G major here, the chords would be Gmaj7, Cmaj7, D(dom)7, Em7 and Am7. So basically, develop the chords from the usual triad (3 note chords) to four note chords.

    While the song doesn't really suit these chords (to my ears at any rate) because of it's uptempo rock style, there are some applications:
    - Use the chords in the intro e.g 1 bar of Gmaj7 and 1 bar of Cmaj7, then repeat the 2 bars. A more gentle intro can make the simple chords more dynamic when the main song kicks in
    - You could get away with changing the minor chords to their 7th equivalent. They fit a bit better
    - You sit on a chord for a bar or more, substitute in the seventh version in the second half of the bar or even on the fourth beat of the bar
    - You can substitute C for a D7 here (there is a C note in the D7)
    G C D D7
    Lord, I lift your name on high

    2) Probably the best and least intrusive embellishment is to use "9th" chords and add2/sus2 chords (the 2nd and the 9th is the same note, but an octave apart). I'll spell out the voicings I'd recommend:
    G9 (35x435) Csus2 (x35533) Dsus2 (x57755) Emadd9 (020002) and Amadd9 (x02430)
    ...but the key is not to stay on these chords too long and try and resolve from the chords to the normal chords (e.g. G9 to G) or from the "normal" chord to the embellished chord (e.g. C to Cadd2)

    Jazzier chords sound great but most of the extended notes that Jazz chords bring in can clash with the melody so it's best to use them sparingly and when they don't mess with the melody.

    Final note: Don't forget you can get ordinary chords sounding interesting by playing them in different positions (there's at least 5 ways to play each humble triad), inverting them (or "slash chords", e.g. D/f#) or using the capo to play higher in the register - heck you can even have two guitarists - one playing "open" chords, the other playing capo chords to give a new richness.

    This is a big topic but there's your starter for 10.

    J

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    • #3
      Thanks! Very easy suggestions!

      I purposefully picked the song because it has such a strong I-VI-V cadence that I wanted to know if there was some tasteful way to bend it a little with jazz chord progressions. Make it a little smoother and interesting, especially when it's played as a mellower song.

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      • #4
        Two korean jazzy versions. Too advanced for me to figure out.

        Markers Version

        (Keyboard for the Markers Version = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CspV7Yh2a9w)

        Heritage Choir Version


        Random Gospel style tutorial

        Another Gospel style tutorial

        Yet another, very smooth

        I would so love be able to think like this.
        Last edited by Sambekzx; 12-29-2010, 01:57 PM.

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        • #5
          I agree with what the first guy said. That one is a toughy, but using 7ths and 9ths generally jazz things up a little. It really depends on how you hear things as well. What other chords do you hear that would fit with the melody (which is probably the biggest key)? Whenever I throw an extra chord or two in a song it's usually because I hear it doing something else in my mind.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sambekzx View Post
            Two korean jazzy versions. Too advanced for me to figure out.

            Markers Version

            I would so love to understand the reason why they chose the chords they did.
            Not as complex as it would appear. It looks like they've reharmonised the verse to use the chords Dm Gm and Am (bear in mind they are playing in F there, not G, so the chords would be Em Am and Bm. Effectively they're pulling out another 1-4-5 type pattern (strictly speaking a vi-ii-iii pattern in Gmajor) that exists in any key

            I might take a look at that in more detail, but that's what jumped out at me.

            Edit to add - Basically they're using Em as the new "anchor" as Em is the relative minor of Gmajor.

            J
            Last edited by tenstrings; 12-29-2010, 01:59 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thats what I was going to suggest.

              To me my default "smooth" sound in the remix category is to go to the relative minor of I which would be vi.

              So in the key of G any time you have a G you'd play an Em (or an Em7 or even add the 9). You could Change the IV to a ii (C to Am7) and in some cases if it "fits" change the V out for iii (D to Bm7).

              Lord I lift your name on high is a pretty straight forward song and easy to substitute out some of these voicings. The biggest thing is to look for all the common notes in a chord. G major has common notes with Em and even better yet Em7. So typically a melody line will fit on top of it without any change.
              Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by russhutto View Post
                The biggest thing is to look for all the common notes in a chord. G major has common notes with Em and even better yet Em7. So typically a melody line will fit on top of it without any change.
                As I think about this, I think this is the key. I have to analyze the tones in the chord and if 2 out of 3 match (or 3 out of 4?), then that's probably a safe substitution unless that different 3rd (and/or 4th) note clashes with the melody.

                But then there's the whole area of passing chords that use the really funky aug, dim stuff. So hard.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sambekzx View Post
                  As I think about this, I think this is the key. I have to analyze the tones in the chord and if 2 out of 3 match (or 3 out of 4?), then that's probably a safe substitution unless that different 3rd (and/or 4th) note clashes with the melody.

                  But then there's the whole area of passing chords that use the really funky aug, dim stuff. So hard.
                  If you know how to harmonise scales you can derive every possible chord that fits with the key and any melody derived from that key.

                  You touch on an important: the more points of agreement between a chord, it's key and the melody, the more consonant or "in" it'll sound. The converse is to pick chords that have little- to no agreement with the song context and you'll have a more dissonant or "out" sound. This, of course can be used to great effect as a lot of tunes know how to bend and break these rules to great effect!

                  There's not time to go into it but it is possible to be more daring and dissonant with chord choices based exactly on where you play the dissonant chords based on the strength of the beat in any given bar. Very briefly, in a bar of 4/4 beat 1 is the strongest, followed by beat 3. 2 and 4 are weak beats and suit dissonant chords as long as they resolve to something more consonant.

                  Quick example

                  Beat: 1(Cmaj7) 2(C#dim7) 3(Dm7) 4(D#dim7) | 1(Em7) / / /

                  J

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                  • #10
                    here's an arrangement

                    just stumbled on this thread today. Several years back I decided to change up Lord I Lift Your Name with more of a latin groove. I did what Russ was talking about - using the 6m in place of the 1 chord.

                    This is not the greatest arrangement of this song (my team tolerated it for a couple months), but the chords sound kinda cool with a laid back, latin-groove. Most of the chords are straight forward open chords with some 7ths and tensions added.

                    I couldn't attach it b/c of file size, but here's a link to the leadsheet pdf. Also here's a handout I use to teach an intro to 4-note jazz voicings.

                    If this is helpful, cool. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email. Take care.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for sharing these guitar chords. I have recently found some more worship chords through a website who offer all the worship songs guitar chords to learn and play. Its ​worshipchords.com.

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                      • #12
                        There are many types of jazz, and not all are based on extended tertian structures (7th, 9th, etc).

                        Many jazz charts rely on ending with a ii-V7-I progression:
                        Am D7 G
                        Lord, I lift your name on high

                        Another common thing to see if the bVII and the vVI chords:
                        G C D F F#
                        Lord, I lift your name on high
                        G C D F F#
                        Lord, I love to sing your praises
                        G C D F F#
                        I'm so glad you're in my life
                        G C D C
                        I'm so glad you came to save us

                        Since the melody of this song has the tonic on the downbeat a 7th chord would create more tension that you probably want. Have you explored using add2 chords? The add 2 is actually adding the 9th, but without the 7th.
                        Gadd2 Cadd2 Dadd2 Cadd2
                        Lord, I lift your name on high

                        Replacing with C chords with Em7 spices it up a wee bit, and if you walk the bass down from a G to an F# on "I" that adds a bit more. In the end there is so much more than just the chord progression. As you explore jazz you will find the bass part often plays chromatic moving lines created by various inversions of the chords combined with passing tones.

                        There are many other options, and some good ideas were shared by others above. I recommend exploring in slow motion so you can truly hear what's happening.

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