People love to say that all worship sounds the same-


And as much as I'd like to disagree, I'm starting to think they might be on to something.


But I need your help-


I've been noticing a pattern throughout several of my favorite worship songs, it has to do with a specific chord progression, many of today's most popular worship songs use it, but why?


Are they all just borrowing from each other, is it simply coincidence? Or is there something more going on behind the progression? Ready to find out, check out the video below!




AlwaysaPlanB 28/03/2024

Watch Blimey Cow’s “How to write a worship song in five minutes”. It postulates a formulaic approach to chords AND lyrics that are painfully true, to my mind.
That said, I get video ads on YouTube all the time, from someone who says, “If you’ve got an hour, I can teach you 100 songs using just these 4 chords.” I’m pretty sure he’s not talking worship songs but regular pop songs. Also see The Axis of Awesome’s four chord medley.
Something similar could be said of the Pachabel’s Canon chord sequence or how Mozart recycled the Alberti bass line so frequently.
My issue with the four chord worship song, is not that they are bad. There are a great many very singable and lyrically helpful four chord songs (while some have more formulaic lyrics to my mind).
My issue is that the Creator of the Universe deserves more creative worship than slipping into a well-worn harmonic groove. I have heard people say that these chords are easy and so it empowers people to lead worship with limited, but hopefully anointed, skills. Fair enough.
But after the third 4 chord song my spirit starts focussing more on the mundanity of the music and less on the profound glory of God. People can say that’s musical arrogance or shallowness on my part….and they could be right, but I want a glorious God worshipped as fully as possible.
The grandfather of modern was Graham Kendrick and his chord choices challenge me. His lyrics go deep too.
I am currently learning some Stuart Townend songs and they push my ear to work out what’s coming next, as well as being lyrically engaging.
I won’t stop using 4 chord songs, but I frequently skip them on playlists, as being too safe.
That then buys into the whole “CCM as a sales business”, give the crowds what they’ll buy records or tickets for, rather than pushing through to the difficult 2nd (or 10th) album.
Funnily enough, I don’t get so put off by 3 chord songs and I can’t quite put my finger on why that is!
I don’t write much but I shy away from dropping in to the familiar next chord and try to find ways to surprise. As Sting says, “If I haven’t been surprised in the first 8 bars, I’m looking to move on to another song.” (paraphrased).
The King of All Creation deserves maximum creativity which does not mean weird and wacky but it does mean adventurous and unpredictable.

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