Some chords look a lot scarier than they really are. One example is the flat-9 dominant chord. This gospel chord can add a lot of flavor to your piano progressions without being complicated.
In this post, we’ll look at a simple way to approach this chord and how you can change a chart to work it in.
The flat-9 chord typically belongs in the dominant chord category. Dominant chords are used to make other chords sound like home, even temporarily. The notes of dominant chords create tension that resolves with the next chord, giving a sense of arrival, or home.
In the key of C, the dominant chord is the 5-chord of the key, G. A G7(b9) creates three point of tension that resolve with a C chord: the B resolves to C, the F resolves to E, and the the flat-9 in the G chord, A-flat, resolves down to the G.
The video below also demonstrates how you can create flat-9 dominant chords that set up chords other than the 1-chord as home (secondary dominants). For example, you could use an E7(b9) to lead toward C major’s 6-chord, A minor.
Easy gospel chord
Instead of playing all five notes indicated by a dominant-7 (flat 9) chord, try this easy trick: start with the 1-3-5-7 and simply raise the root one-half step, creating the flat-9. With the root covered by the left hand, you have the complete chord.
Watch the video for another way to work the flat-9 into a dominant sus4 chord.
Combine these with the dominant-13 chord trick, and you have three great techniques for creating a gospel chord sound.
I want to help you achieve your keyboard playing goals. To help clarify your next-level keyboard vision, sign up to receive “Essential Skills for the Worship Keyboard Artist.”