How to Play Urban Gospel Music

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How to Play Urban Gospel Music

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How to Play Urban Gospel Music

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Urban gospel music is a spiritual genre that take influences from other musical genres, including blues, rhythm and blues, country and jazz. Urban gospel music has also been called black gospel, due largely in part to early pioneers in the field and the deeply soulful elements the music encompasses. Playing urban gospel music requires, arguably, more than just the ability to play chords. Along with musical ability, a connection with the music and an understanding of its context can help sharpen your gospel playing skills.

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Choose a simple gospel song to practice with. "Amazing Grace" is one of the easiest to play and allows you the freedom to practice some of the techniques associated with urban gospel. There are only three chords to the song: In the key of G, the chords are D, G and A7. Any of the techniques you learn with "Amazing Grace" can be applied to other gospel songs as well.

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Strum the chords on guitar or play them on piano. Sing along, regardless of whether or not you have a good voice. Don't worry about rhythm and playing technique just yet. Sing the lyrics and make the chord changes as indicated by the sheet music. Try to impart the soulful feel in the lyrics as you sing. Stay with the melody of "Amazing Grace," but add your own vocal inflections, such as carrying an ending note out longer or changing the pitch slightly.

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Vary the rhythm of the chords as you sing the song. Instead of just playing the chord one time on each change, play it twice. The first time might be a shortened version played hard, followed by the chord played more softly and held out as you continue to sing.

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Create musical runs, or fills, leading up to each chord change. Do this using the scale that matches the key of the song. In the case of D, you will use the D major scale. Select notes from this scale and combine them randomly to create interesting single note patterns as you change from one chord to the next. If you've decided not to sing, use notes from the vocal line to create these fills.

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