4 Part to Lead Sheet

Part 2: Editing Chords

Now that you have learned to analyze and create a lead sheet from a 4-part hymn, you may need to edit the lead sheet. Most lead sheets have fewer chord changes than what you find in the 4-part settings. Guitar players struggle to find a strum or rhythm pattern when chords change rapidly. So if you are playing with a guitar, you will want to take out some chords so that they can find a strum pattern.


How do you decide which chords to take out? Begin by playing only the chords on the strong beats. You can always take more chords out, or add some back in.

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Also consider changing chords on the last beat in a measure. While not necessary in every measure, it does help the singer(s) to be on time to the next downbeat. You will often see or hear a chord added on beat 3 before the last note of a phrase. This also helps create a strong cadence point.

Teacher’s Tip:

The chords have a different sonority on the piano than on the guitar. There maybe one chord that sounds great with the melody for the entire measure when accompanied on a guitar, but doesn’t sound good when played on a piano for the entire measure. Be sure and experiment with different chords to find the one that works best for your context.When G functions as the 3rd this would create an E minor chord. When G functions as the 5th, a C chord is created.


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