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Week 27: Typical Slash Chord Progressions

Since we’ve covered the topic of slash chords in the last two installments, perhaps you’d like to acquaint yourself with some typical slash chord progressions. Here’s one you’ve heard hundreds of times.

Cm Cm/B Cm/Bb Cm/A Cm/Ab G7

This simply means to play the Cm chord five times while the bass notes starts on the root and descends chromatically until it gets to the G note at which time the chord changes to G7. Try this progression on you piano and try to decide what this reminds you of.

Some of you will hear the intro to the Beatles’ song “Michelle.” Others might hear the chords to “Blue Skies” or “My Funny Valentine.” Others might hear the chords to “Feelings” or “This Masquerade.” It may even be reminiscent of “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” The fact is all the songs use this familiar progression. If you omit the bass line, the chord progression is meaningless. Try it that way. You’ll just hear five C minor chords and a G7. Boring.

You add the chromatic descending bass line with the left hand (C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G) and you have a distinctive chord progression that just wouldn’t be the same without the bass line.

Here’s another bass line intensive chord progression with a more gospel feel to it.

Eb Bb/D Cm Eb/Bb Ab Eb/G Fm Fm/Bb

Remember when there is no slash in the chord, play the root. This way you will get a descending bass line of Eb, D, C, Bb, Ab, G, F, Bb. In this example the bass notes descend on a major scale as opposed to chromatically in the example above. Once again the bass line is an integral part of the chord in this example.

For further information on advanced chords, including slash chords, see our program Power Chords.

For a very basic course in spiritual/hymn/gospel music try our program Praise!.

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