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7 Concepts To Help You Master This Lesson

1. R&B Piano Chords Are Often Times Just Jazz Chords

The chords in this lessons are all minor chords. Most of the time Im playing the root of the chord in my left hand and the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th of the chord in my right hand. These chord voicings can be used in both R and B, neo soul, jazz, and hip hop too. Theyre very versatile . If you want to learn more about these chords you can check out this lesson on minor jazz piano chords.

2. Its All About The Half Step

The secret to getting that jazzy chromatic sound in your R&B piano chords is to play the same chord voicing either a half step up or a half step below your resolution chord. So, if

you resolution chord is an Amin7 you would play either a Abmin7 (half step below) or a Bbm7 (half step above) right before the Amin7.

3. Syncopation Makes It Groove

Groove is everything in RnB music. So, in order to be most effective with this chromatic chord technique make sure you listen to the rhythms i used in the video. In the video I play the main chords Em7, Bm7, and Am7 mostly on the downbeats (beat 1 of the measure especially). I play Bbm7 on the upbeats (either on the and of the measure or the e of the measure (second sixteenth note of the the measure)

4. Space: The Final Frontier

The notes you dont play are just as important as the notes you do play. Notice how I dont fill up every beat of the measure with a rhythmic attack. On a rhythmic level funk works because of the back and forth of syncopated rhythmic attacks with sustained notes. (Sorry for the Star Trek reference by the way. I couldnt resist!):)

5. Blues Scale And Fills

As you can hear in the video I use little melodic fills here and there. These little soulful fills are mostly made of the blues scale. The blues scale is an easy scale to play. Its just a 5 note scale. First, start with a major scale and build your scale using the formula below: Blues Scale Construction: 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7, 1

So, in the key of E the major scale notes are E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D# E. You would flat the 3rd note (G# turns into G), the 5th note (B turns into Bb), and the 7th note (D# turns into D).

Bill Evans