How many different ways can you sing “Hallelujah”? Worship music in churches is
unique from other music styles for two main reasons: first, it is music that is meant to be sung by a large of
group of people at once – usually people who are only so-so with their musical and singing abilities.
Second, worship leaders – whether guitarists, pianists, bassists, drummers, or keyboardists – typically need to
learn multiple new songs each week to be ready to perform in front of a live congregation.
These unique factors mean that commonly used piano worship chords have a focus on simplicity.
Worship music is usually played in a joyful major key. Also, since worship music needs to be learned quickly,
only a limited number of major keys are used. It is extremely rare to find a worship song in the key of C# major.
However, it is extremely common to find songs written in the key of C, G, D, F, and Bb. These are the keys that
have the fewest black notes and are therefore among the least complicated.
It is entirely possible that many songs will be composed in other keys, but these simpler keys are the most
common. Often, it is possible that songs written in other keys will be transposed into a key that is simpler for
everyone to play and at a pitch level that is easy for singers’ voices to handle.
Knowing the commonly used piano worship chords involves more than just knowing which keys will likely show up.
The form that these chords take on as well as the common patterns contributes to worship pianists easily being able
to play songs. When playing worship piano, think of playing chords in triads. This will help you greatly when you
learn to play popular christian worship songs on piano.
Of course more sophisticated chords can be used as well, but when playing C, simply
think of playing C, E, and G or another inversion. Worship pianists who grow comfortable with the basic chords
will find ways to vary their rhythm and their structure. Also, for chord patterns, expect to play one of the
most commonly used progressions in music: I – IV – V – I.
Most chords will either be the root, the fourth, or the fifth. To prepared yourself to effectively tackle most
worship songs, try to play the roots and inversions of these three chords for each of the keys listed above. Get
creative and vary the order and intensity of these chords, and even find worship songs that help you match lyrics
Playing these simple chords will help you cover the majority – but not all – of what worship piano chords
consist of. The aspiring worship pianist should also consider including seconds and fourths into common chords.
Even with a simple C chord, experiment with what the chord sounds like as a C2. Or before resolving back to the
root, try playing a suspended chord that builds a dose of tension prior to resolution.
Finally, minor chords that fit the key will enter worship music as well. Acclimate your fingers to the common
white-note minor chords, such as triads for D, A, E, G, and B minor. You can especially add an emotional twist to
your music by adding a seventh to each minor chord.
Learning worship chords means getting your fingers as accustomed as possible to the simplest and most common
chords in music. If you practice piano’s essential chords and progressions,
you’ll find that learning new songs week after week will turn into an easy and enjoyable opportunity to focus on
pure worship and not musical details. And that’s the gospel truth.
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