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Gospel Piano

Beginner - Lesson 1 Martin Gureasko


The Naked Keyboardist

The Basics - Diatonic Harmony


The Roman numerals below the chords indicate the chord quality. Uppercase denotes major
and lowercase denotes minor. I used Arabic numerals underneath the Roman numerals
because I use the Nashville number system. It is a common form of musical shorthand used
in the recording studio.

It is important to note that the chord patterns and relationships do not change throughout
the keys. For example, if you can play a 1-4-5 progression in the key of G, you can then
play that progression in any key. This is especially helpful when you are working with
singers who want a song in a different key than it was origionally. The important question is,
"Where is the 1 chord?" When you establish that, everything else falls into place.

Hence, the term diatonic harmony. The Greek prefix dia- means through, or across
(as in the words diameter and diagonal). Diatonic means through a tonal center, or across
the notes of a key. The "tonic" is the key's center, or the 1 chord. If a chord progression is said
to be diatonic and in the key of G, all of the notes used to build the chords would come from the
notes of the key of G major.

F#
o
# www
Example 1
www www
G Am Bm C D Em G

& ww ww ww ww www
w w w w
I ii iii iv V vi vii I
1 2m 3m 4 5 6m 7 1

This first example will focus on alternating between the 1 chord and the 4 chord. We will play
the tonic as the root of the chord throughout. The reason this works is that the tonic note is
shared by both the 1 chord and the 4 chord. Becoming familiar with the notes that two chords
share is important, especially when it comes to playing chord progressions smoothly. When
moving through a chord progression, it's much smoother to transition from one chord using as
many common notes as possible (this involves chord voicing, that is, how to arrange the
pitches of the chord). We will cover chord voicing in another lesson.

#
Example 2 C
G G

&
G

ww ww ww
w w w

nakedkeyboardist.com
2 Gospel Piano
q = 80

# 3
C
Example 3 G G

j j
G

& 4
3 3

..
.
? # 43 j j
.
3 3


Now, I will drop the 7th tone of the scale by a half step. This will give it that "gospel" sound. Please
note that by flatting the 7th tone of the diatonic scale, I have added "chromatic" harmony. If I were to
use diatonic harmony, the F would actually be F#. (side note: when you add a flatted 7th to a chord,
it is called a "dominant" seventh chord. We'll cover the five types of 7th chords in another lesson.)

#
Example 4

& w w w nw w
w w w w
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 b7 1

C F

# 3 j j j
G7 G7 C7 C7
Example 5
j j
G C

& 4 n
3

b
3

..
3

n n. b
? # 43 j j j 3 j
.
3

.
3 3

C G

j
G7 G7 D7 D7

# j j
G D

j j j
3

&
3

n
3

n n
?# j j
. j j
3 3

.
3 3

#
C
G7 G7

j j
G

& ..
3

n n.
?# j j
.
3 3
Gospel Piano 3

Here's a little trick that I use all the time. I am adding a grace note (which is the flatted 3rd of the
scale. The flatted grace note is played at the same time the chord is played and is "bent" up
to the chord tone. This all happens in a nano-second.

# 3
C
Example 6 G7 G7

j j
G

& 4
3

.
3

n n n n ..
j j
b
b

? # 43 j j
.
3 3

Here's another variation of this idea.


C F

# 3 jb j
G7 G7 G7 C7 C9 C7

j
Example 7 G C

j n j
3

& 4 n
3 3

.. b
3

n n. b
?# 3 j j j j
.
3 3

4 .
3 3

C G

# j j j
G7 G7 G7 D7 D9 D7
G 3 D

jn j j
3

&
3

n n n
?# j 3 j j j
.
3

.
3 3

C C

#
G7 G7 G7 G7 G7
G G

& jn j j j j
3 3

.
3 3

n n n n n ..
j j
n b
b

?# j 3 j j 3 j
. .
3 3

*Again, you can bend the middle note.


4 Gospel Piano

To make it easier for you, I have written out both of these variations in all 12 keys to facilitate
your practice.
C F C

# 3 j
G7 G7 C7 C7 G7

j j
VARIATION 1 G C G

& 4 j .
j n j j
3


3 3

n
3 3

n n .. b b
?# 3 j 3j
4 j .
j . j 3j
3


3 3 3

G C

# j j j
G7 D7 D7 G7 G7
D 3 G

j
j j
3

&
3

..
3

n n n n.
?# j j j 3 j
. .
3

.
3 3

Db Gb Db
A b7 A b7 D b7 D b7 A b7
Ab Db 3 Ab
j j j
bbbb j j b j j
3

& ..
3 3

b
3 3

b b
b b.
? bb b j 3j . j 3j
b .
3 3

J J
3 3
Ab Db
A b7 E b7 E b7 A b7 A b7
Eb Ab
j j j
bbbb j j j
3

& ..
3

b
3

b b b.
? bb b j j j 3 j
b . .
3

.
3 3
Gospel Piano 5
D G D

### j j j
A7 A7 D7 D7 A7

j j
A D 3 A

j j
3

& .. n n
3 3

n
3 3

n
n n.
? ### j 3j . j 3j
.
3 3

J J
3 3

j j
A D

### j
A7 E7 E7 A7 A7

j
E 3 A

j j
3

& ..
3

n
3

n n n.
? ### j j j 3 j
. .
3

.
3 3

Eb Ab Eb
B b7 B b7 E b7 E b7 B b7
Bb Eb 3 Bb
j j j
bb j j b j
j
3

& ..
3 3 3 3

b b. b b b

? b j 3j . j 3j
b .
3 3

J J
3 3

Bb Eb
B b7 B b7 B b7
j j j Bb
F7 F7

bb j j j
F 3

&
3

..
3

b
b b b.
? b . j j j 3 j
b .
3

.
3 3

j
E A E

#### j j
B7 B7 E7 E7 B7

# j j j
j
B E 3 B

n
3

& ..
3 3 3 3

n n. n n n

? #### j 3j . j 3j
# .
3 3

J J
3 3
6 Gospel Piano
F #7 F #7
j F# 3
j j
B E

####
B7 B7 B7

j j j
B

& # ..
3

n
3


n n n.
? #### j j j 3 j
# . .
3

.
3 3

Bb

j j j
F F

j j
C7 C7 F7 F7 C7

j b j
C F 3 C

..
3 3

&
3 3

b b. b b b
? j 3 j . j 3 j
.
3 3

J J
3 3

j j
C F

j
C7 G7 G7 C7 C7

j j
3 G C

..
3

& n
3

b J b b.
j 3 j
3

? . j j .
3

.
3 3

Gb Gb
D b7 D b7 G b7 G b7 D b7
Db 3
j Gb
j Db 3
B

j j j j
bbbb b
3

..
3 3

& b b b
b. J b b

.
3

? bb .
bbb J J J J J J
3 3
3 3 3 3
Db Gb
D b7 A b7 A b7 D b7 D b7
Ab Db 3

bbbb j j j
b b ..
3

& b J b b.
J J
3 3

? bb b . j 3 j .
bb .
3

J J
3 3
Gospel Piano 7
C F C

# j
G7 G7 C7 C7 G7

j j
G C G

& j j . n j j
3 3


3 3 3 3

b
n n .. b n
?# j j j 3j j 3j
.
3

.
3 3 3

G C

# j j j
G7 D7 D7 G7 G7
D 3 G

j j j
3

& ..
3

n
3

n n n.
?# j 3 j
. j j .
3

.
3 3

j j
G C G

## j j j j
D7 D7 G7 G7 D7

n
D 3 3 G D 3

..
3 3

& n n. n J n n
.
3

? ## .
J J J J J J
3 3
3 3 3 3
D G

## j j j
D7 A7 A7 D7 D7


A D 3

..
3

& n n J n n.
J J
3 3

? ## . j 3 j .
.
3

J J
3 3
Ab Db Ab
E b7 E b7 A b7 A b7 E b7
Eb 3 Ab Eb 3
bb b j j b j j
..
3 3

& b b. b J b b
J J
.
3 3

? bb . J J
b J J 3 3
J J
3 3 3 3
8 Gospel Piano
Eb Ab
E b7 B b7 B b7 E b7 E b7
Bb Eb 3
j j j
b
& b b b ..
3

b J b b.
J J
3 3

? bb j 3 j
b . . .
3

J J
3 3

j j
A D A

# # # # j n j
E7 E7 A7 A7 E7
E 3 A E 3

.. n J n
3 3

&
n n. J
n
J
.
3

? #### .
3

J J
J J 3 3
J J
3 3 3 3

j j
E A

#### j
E7 B7 B7 E7 E7


B E 3

n J n ..
3

& n J J n.
3 3

? #### . j 3 j .
.
3

J J
3 3

Bb Eb Bb
B b7 B b7
Bb
F7 F7 F7

j j j
F F

&b j j b j j
3

..
3 3

b
3 3

b b
b b.
? j 3j
b j j . . j 3j
3


3 3 3

F Bb

j j
F7 C7 C7 F7 F7

j
C F

&b j j j
3

..
3

b
b b b.
?b j 3 j j 3 j
. .
3

.
3


Gospel Piano 9
G b7 G b7 G b7
Gb Gb
B E B

j
B7 B7

bbb b j j
B

& b j .
b j b j j
3

b
3 3 3 3


b b ..
? bb b b j 3j
b b j .
j . j 3j
3


3 3 3

Gb
G b7 D b7 D b7 G b7 G b7
Db 3 Gb
B

bb j j j
& b b bb j j j
3

b ..
3

b
3

b b.
? bbb j 3 j
b b b . j j .
3

.
3 3

C F C

# 3 j
VARIATION 2 G7 G7 G7 C7 C9 C7 G7 G7

j j
G C G

& 4 n j .
j b j j
3


n b
3

n
3 3


3 3

n n .. b n
?# 3 j 3j
4 j .
j . j 3j
3


3 3 3

G C

# j j j
G7 D7 D9 D7 G7 G7 G7
3D G

j j j j
3

& n
3

n n
n n
?# j 3 j
. j j .
3

.
3 3

Db Gb Db
A b7 A b7 A b7 D b7 D b9 D b7 A b7 A b7
Ab 3D b Ab

bbbb j b j j b j j j b j

3

& b b b
3 3

.. b
3 3

b b.
? bb b j 3j . j 3j
b .
3 3

J J
3 3
10 Gospel Piano
Ab Db
A b7 E b7 E b9 3 b E b7 A b7 A b7 A b7
Ab
j j j
bbbb j j
E

jb j
3

&
3

b
b b b
? bb b j j j 3j
b . .
3

.
3 3

D G D

### j j j
A7 A7 A7 D7 D9 D7 A7 A7

j j
A 3D A

jn n
n n j
3

& n
3 3

.. n
3 3

n n. n
? ### j 3j . j 3j
.
3 3

J J
3 3

j
A D

### j j
A7 E7 E9 3 E7 A7 A7 A7

j
E A

j j n j
n
3

&
3

n n n
? ### j j j 3j
. .
3

.
3 3

Eb Ab Eb
B b7 B b7 B b7 E b7 E b9 3 b E b7 B b7 B b7
Bb Bb
j j j
bb j b j b b j
j
E

b b
3 3 3

& .
3 3

b b .. b b

? b j 3j . j 3j
b .
3 3

J J
3 3

Bb Eb
B b7 B b7 B b7 B b7
j j j Bb
F7 F9 F7

bb j j j j
F

b
3

& b
3

b b b
3

? bb . j j j 3 j
.
3

.
3 3
Gospel Piano 11

jn j
E A E

#### j
B7 B7 B7 E7 E9 3 E7 B7 B7

# j n j n j
j
B E B

n
3 3 3

& ..
3 3

n n. n n n

? #### j 3j . j 3j
# .
3 3

J J
3 3

F #7 F #9 F #7
j F#
j j j
B E

####
B7 B7 B7 B7

jn j j
B

#
3

& n n n
3

n 3

? #### j j j 3j
# . .
3

.
3 3

Bb

jb j j
F F

j j
C7 C7 C7 F7 F9 F7 C7 C7

j j b
C F C

b b
3

& b
3 3

.. b
3 3

b b. b
? j j . j 3j
3

.
3 3 3

J J
3 3

j j
C F

j b j
C7 G7 G9 G7 C7 C7 C7

j j
3 G 3
C

&
3

b n J b b
j 3 j
3

? . j j .
3

.
3 3

Gb Gb
D b7 D b7 D b7 G b7 G b9 G b7 D b7 D b7
3D b
j Gb
j 3D b
B

jb j b b j b j
bbbb
3

b b
..
3 3

& b
b. J b b
3

? bb b . .
bb J J J J J J
3 3
3 3 3 3
12 Gospel Piano
Db Gb
D b7 A b7 A b9 b A b7 D b7 D b7 D b7
3D b
b j j b j j
& b b b b b
A

b
3

b b
J J J
3 3

? bb b . j 3j .
bb .
3

J J
3 3

j j
G C G

## j j n j n j
D7 D7 D7 G7 G9 G7 D7 D7

n
3D 3 G 3D

n ..
3 3

& n
n n. J n n
3

? ## . .
J J J J J J
3 3
3 3 3 3
D G

## j j j j
D7 A7 A9 A7 D7 D7 D7


A 3D

n n n
3

& n n
J J J
3 3

? ## . j 3 j .
.
3

J J
3 3
Ab Db Ab
E b7 E b7 3 b E b7 A b7 A b9 A b7 E b7 E b7 3 b
Ab
bb b j b j b j b j
b b
E E

..
3 3

& b b. b J b
J J
.
3 3

? b . J J
bb J J J J
3 3
3 3 3 3

Eb Ab
E b7 B b7 B b9 B b7 E b7 E b7 3 b E b7
Bb
bb j j b j j
E

b b
3

& b
J J J b b
3 3

? bb . j 3 j .
.
3

b J J
3 3
Gospel Piano 13

j j
A D A

# # # # j n n n j
E7 E7 3 E7 A7 A9 A7 E7 E7 3

n
E A E

..
3 3

& n n. n J n n
J J
.
3

? ####
3

. J J
J J 3 3
J J
3 3 3 3

j j n j
E A

#### j
E7 B7 B9 B7 E7 E7 3 E7
B E

n
3

&
n J J J n n
3 3

? #### . j 3j .
.
3

J J
3 3

Bb Eb Bb
B b7 B b9 B b7
Bb
F7 F7 F7 F7 F7

j j j
F F

& b j b j b j j
3


b b
3

b
3 3

. b
3 3

b b .. b
? j 3 j
b jj . j 3j
3

.
3 3 3

F Bb

j
F7 C7 C9 C7 F7 F7 F7

j j
C F

&b j j j
3

j
3

b
3

b
b b b
? j 3 j
b . j 3 j .
3

.
3


G b7 G b7 G b7 G b7 G b7
Gb Gb
B E B

j j
B7 B9 B7

bbb b j
B

& b b j .
b j j j
3

b b
3 3


3 3

b b .. b
? bb b b j 3j j 3j j 3j
.
3

b b .
3 3
14 Gospel Piano
Gb
G b7 D b7 D b9 D b7 G b7 G b7 G b7
3D b Gb
B

j
b
& b bbbb j j
j j j j
3

b
3

b
3


b b b
? bb b b j j j 3j
b b . .
3

.
3 3

It's worth mentioning...

The three chords I use here...the 1, 4, and 5...are the


foundation for much of the pop, country, gospel,
rock, and blues music you hear. In fact, untold scores
of songs use only these 3 chords. For example,
12-bar blues songs use nothing but the 1-4-5
progression. Gospel music is essentially an amalgamation
of all the aforementioned styles.

Here's a little something extra:

#
& n n
n
?#
w w