Want to learn the chords for the popular Christian worship song ‘How Great Is Our God’? This in-depth guide will teach you how to play this song on guitar or piano.
If you’re short on time, here is a quick answer: The chords for the key of G are G, D, Em, C, D. For the key of A, they are A, E, F#m, D, E.
In this article, we will cover the history and meaning behind ‘How Great Is Our God’, the chords and strumming patterns for guitar, and the chord voicings for piano. We will guide you step-by-step so you can easily learn this song yourself.
History and Meaning of the Song
The popular worship song “How Great Is Our God” was written by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and Ed Cash in 2004. It was originally released on Tomlin’s album Arriving in September 2004. Since its debut, the song has become a modern worship anthem sung in churches around the world.
“How Great Is Our God” is inspired by the greatness and majesty of God. The lyrics are adapted from passages in the Bible that reflect on God’s glory, power, and love. The chorus draws directly from Psalm 104:1 which declares “O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.”
The verses describe the wonders of creation and how all of nature testifies to the Creator.
Here is a breakdown of the meaning behind the lyrics:
- Verse 1: The splendor of nature – from the stars in space to the deepest oceans – reveals God’s power and greatness.
- Chorus: God is clothed in majesty and His greatness is unsearchable, unfathomable.
- Verse 2: All of creation was made by God’s hands and reveals His eternal power and divine nature.
- Bridge: Even with all we can see and understand about God, He remains ultimately mysterious and we will keep learning about Him for eternity.
By focusing on God’s transcendence, the song inspires worship and wonder at how great and marvelous God is. At the same time, it calls us into deeper intimacy with God as we meditate on His love demonstrated through Christ.
Since its release, “How Great Is Our God” has become one of the most well-known modern worship songs. It is sung in churches worldwide and has been translated into several languages. The song is popular for worship services and youth gatherings, often used during times of prayer and reflection on God’s majesty.
It has been covered by numerous artists and appeared on various compilation albums.
The global popularity of “How Great Is Our God” testifies to its resonating lyric and soaring melody that compels the church to proclaim the greatness of their God. Almost 20 years after its debut, the anthem continues to inspire worship and wonder at the amazing God we serve.
Chords for Guitar
Chords for Key of G
The key of G major is one of the most common keys for the song “How Great Is Our God”. On guitar, some basic chords in the key of G are G major, C major, D major, Em, and Bm.
- The G major chord is the I (one) chord and contains the notes G, B, D. It forms the tonic chord of the key.
- The C major chord is the IV (four) chord and contains C, E, G. It provides a bright, upbeat sound.
- The D major chord is the V (five) chord and has the notes D, F#, A. It builds tension and leads back to the I chord.
- Em is the vi (six) minor chord with E, G, B. It adds some richness and emotional depth.
- Bm is the ii (two) minor chord using B, D, F#. It sets up the return back to the I chord.
Strumming through these chords creates a nice worshipful and celebratory feel perfect for “How Great Is Our God”. The G and D chords will sound especially powerful in the chorus.
Chords for Key of A
Using the key of A major is another great option for “How Great Is Our God.” Some essential chords here are A major, D major, E major, F#m, and Bm.
- A major builds the I (one) chord using A, C#, E. It establishes the home base.
- D major provides the bright IV (four) chord and contains D, F#, A.
- E major is the V (five) chord with E, G#, B. It increases tension before resolution.
- F#m creates a vi (six) minor chord with F#, A, C#. It adds emotion and interest.
- Bm forms the ii (two) minor chord using B, D, F#. It pulls you back to the I chord.
These A major key chords have a bright, uplifting vibe that suits the triumphant lyrics of “How Great Is Our God.” Strumming between A major and E major will really get that chorus rocking.
When playing “How Great Is Our God,” focus on using full, vibrant strumming patterns. Here are some options to try out:
- Down, down up, up down up – A driving folk-style pattern perfect for choruses
- Down down down up up down down up – Funkier eight-beat pattern that kicks the energy up
- Down (rest) down (rest) down down down up up – Great for verses with nice rests built in
- Down down up up down up – Bright pattern to accent the uplifting lyrics
Mixing up rhythms like these keeps the song feeling fresh and lively. And be sure to really dig into those G, D, A, and E major chords on the downs to capture the bold, joyful spirit.
Chords for Piano
Learning to play chords on the piano can open up a world of possibilities for aspiring musicians. Chords are groups of notes played together that create harmony and support the melody. Mastering basic chords allows pianists to accompany themselves or others while singing, improvise, and play many styles of music from classical to pop.
This guide will provide a helpful introduction to playing chords on the piano.
Chords in the Key of G
The key of G major is one of the most common keys for songs and a great place to start learning chords on piano. Here are some important chords to know:
- G major: This chord contains the notes G, B, and D. On the piano, play G, B, and D all together.
- C major: Made up of C, E, and G. Play these notes together on the piano.
- D major: Contains D, F#, and A notes. Play them simultaneously.
- Em (E minor): Includes E, G, and B notes. Minor chords have a slightly different emotional quality.
- A minor: Comprised of A, C, and E notes played together.
Songs using these chords in the key of G include classics like “Hey Jude” by The Beatles and “Let It Be” by The Beatles. Practicing changing smoothly between these chords will help build coordination and comfort playing in this key.
Chords in the Key of A
The key of A major is another very popular choice for many pianists and singers. Understanding these chords will make playing along with countless songs easier.
- A major: Contains A, C#, and E notes played together.
- B minor: Made up of B, D, and F#.
- C# minor: Comprised of C#, E, and G#.
- D major: Includes D, F#, and A.
- E major: Consists of E, G#, and B.
Songs that use these chords include “Let It Go” from Frozen, “Hey Soul Sister” by Train, and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Practice moving smoothly between chords will help gain comfort in the key of A major.
While most chords are played in “root position”, meaning the root note is the lowest note, inversions are very useful piano techniques. Inversions change which note is played lowest while keeping the harmony created by the chord intact. Common inversions include:
- First inversion: The third of the chord is played lowest instead of the root.
- Second inversion: The fifth of the chord becomes the lowest note.
Using inversions adds variety, smoothness, and flexibility when playing chords on piano. They allow creating basslines and countermelodies while supporting a song with chords.
With practice and dedication, learning chords will provide a solid foundation for playing piano. Master these essential chords in major keys like G and A, learn inversions, and open up a world of musical possibilities.
Now you have all the tools you need to play ‘How Great Is Our God’! With the history, chords for guitar and piano, and strumming patterns, you can learn this beloved song for worship services or your own enjoyment.
Playing familiar worship songs like this can be a meaningful way to connect with God through music. We hope this guide helps you in that journey of praise and worship.