How to improvise soulful chords on the piano

I uploaded this video to YouTube sometime ago and many people were asking what the the chords where so I am going to break it down exactly for you. Using this method, you don’t have to always memorize 100’s of chords, you can simply get to chords by simple finger movement tricks.

At the start of the video I am playing Dbmaj9th, then an intermediate chord with a lot of tension. This chords is an inverted G7-5 or G7 flatted 5th, bascially the Ab and the C from the Db maj 9th chords shifts across to G and B making the inversion. The new chord is G7-5 as an inversion with Db still as the bass note. These can also be called “glide” chords.

Dbmaj7th
Dbmaj7th
The shift
The shift
G7-5 or G7 flatted 5th
G7-5 or G7 flatted 5th

Next we shift into the Cmin 7th chord by shifting your pinky to the left from Db to C, and then your thumb from B to Bb. The new chord is Cmin7th or you can play 9th.

Cmin7th
Cmin7th

 

The 4th chord is a simple shift  of the thumb and the second finger from Bb and G to F and A. The resulting chord is – F7 or Fdom with C as the bass note.

Cmin7th-shift

F7
F7

At 0.45 I keep following that same pattern with the below

B maj 7th

Bmaj7th
Bmaj 7th

Bmaj7th-shift

F7-5 – inversion, B is the root  (shifting thumb and first finger from Bb and Gb to F and A)

F7-5
F7-5

Bb Min 7th (slight shift half a step)

Bbmin7th
Bb min 7th

Eb7 or Dom – inversion, Bb is the root (again shifting the thumb and 1st finger down a step from Ab and Eb and G

Eb7
Eb7 or Db Dom

Eb7-5 or A7-5 – can be either but the chord is found by moving your 5th finger from the above chord from Bb to A to set up some strong tension.

Eb7-5
Eb7-5 or flatted fifth

Abmaj 7th – slight movement from the above chord.

Amaj7th
Ab Maj 7th

That’s just the first part for now, I will get back to explaining the rest in a future post.

 

Click here to download some Neo Soul chord loops !!

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “How to improvise soulful chords on the piano”

  1. This is indeed is very helpfull stuff, this is what a lot of us have been asking for. The videos are nice but it’s good also to see a breakdown.

    1. Thank’s for the comment, I intend to do a lot more from now on. Some chords I construct just using the finger shift technique without even realizing what the chords is. The Dominant flatted 5th is a common inversion I play but didn’t even note the name of the chords until recently.

  2. I really do appreciate the explanations here mate. Must have taken some time to post, but it would be even more help if you can explain the whole thing. No big rush though, I am still going through the first stuff for now.

  3. This has really helped me out, thank you very much. I would like to see some more explanation for some of the other chord progressions too.
    I have never really tried playing inversions before because I didn’t understand how they could be used.

  4. Your videos and explanations are so inspiring, I’ve been messing around with these chords for hours now. I was just wondering what scales are best to improvise over each of these chords? I have found Eflat covers most of it but can you sprinkle some Fblues scale in there too?

    1. Thank you. Just going over it one the keys, and the Fblues scale does seem to work with a lot of the Neo Chords I am using, since it share some similar notes to Eb Major. However I guess you want to avoid ending a phrase on a blues note e.g. B. That would sound odd, unless it’s passing note.

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