What are slash chords?
In music notation you will often see something like A/C# or A/E and you may wonder what this means. Basically it means inverting the chord.
A Major is normally played in a triad as A, C# and E with the bass note in the root position.
The slash chord notation of A/C# means to play the chord A Major however using C# at the bass note, therefore you will get the following chord.
C#, E and A – this is also know as the 2nd inversion.
Now what is the point of slash chords and why do we use them? The answer is, by simply moving the bass note you get different feel from the same chord, it almost sounds unstable and adds quite a bit of tension to the chord which is what you are looking for in R&B and Neo Soul.
As the chords get more complicated e.g. 7th’s and 9th’s, slash chords become more effective and change the whole mood of a song by simply moving that bass line position.
So summarizing – The first letter is the chord, and the second letter is the bass note.