I've been delving into bluegrass lately, playing backup guitar while my son plays solos on his fiddle. I want to learn more about "passing chords" to spice up chord progressions. Example: on a typical I IV V progression, are there any rules or better still charts that show the passing chords? I have learned a cool tid bit where, instead of playing an "A" chord for 2 full measures, I walk this passing progression on my way to the next chord (in this case the E). Are passing chords the same as "diatonic chords"? Any help IS appreciated! Thanks in advance :)!
Well, passing chords are generally "diatonic" (in the same key), but need not necessarily be.
It's quite possible to use passing chords from outside the key, but a little trickier because some will sound "off".
I quite often throw in an out of key b5 note (bV chord) when going from the IV to the V (or vice versa) (In C, using a Gb between F and G). It will sound good if not held too long. Half steps sound good, so it's common to throw in a halfway passing chord when passing up or down a whole step.
The diatonic chords in a key are the primary chords I, IV and V (major) and the secondary chords ii, iii and vi (minor). The dim chord Â°vii is best thought of as a variation of the V7. The ii, iii and vi are common passing chords.
When going from the IV to the I, I like to throw in a quick V for a stronger resolution. The bII works well also, but is out of key of course. The VII can be a good passing chord when going from the V or vi to the I.
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Thanks for your reply :)