Gospel School: Pickups

music notation for a gospel piano pickup lick

Pickups are a great way to build momentum and sense of anticipation for the arrival of the target chord on the downbeat…

Here are three bread & butter pickups for your consideration…

Gospel Pickup #1

Emphasizing the “6” of the chord is very characteristic of Gospel. Don’t forget to swing the eighth notes…


Study-Practice Notes

  • Don’t rush the pickup notes. Allow them to flow naturally with the time.
  • Don’t overplay the pickups. Allow them to embellish and set the stage for, not to compete with or overshadow, the target note.

Gospel Pickup #2

Same notes as Pickup #1, emphasizing the 6, but in a different rhythm. Again, swing the eighth notes…


Gospel Pickup #3

Another common pickup… but this time to be played in straight eighths…


learn more… Shout Bass Lines: Walking on the I Chord

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