Just getting into this. A nice change of pace after getting flayed alive over the last few years trying to learn bebop :)
Are there any players out there who've played this style for a while. I'm working through a few videos but harmonywise Im pretty much just at the Major9th/Minor9th/Diminished thing.
Can anyone else shed light on alternative voicings for this style of music. Happy to share tips/observations etc.

by on 11/05/2009, 05:45

There are 16 replies, leave a reply.
  • Do you have any representative artists or tracks?
    by on 11/06/2009, 19:21 LJP Like
  • I started getting into this  a couple of years ago.  You need to listen to a lot of Jill Scott (especially the her live albums), D'angelo, Erykah Badu etc.  

    Try this Chord sequence, its very 'neo-soul' like.  

    C#minor7 - Bbminor7 - Amaj9 - Cmaj7/D

    A very common sound is a minor chord to another minor chord a minor third below, i.e Cminor to Aminor.

    Also try this sequence.

    C minor11 - G minor11 - Bb minor11 - F minor11.

    Check out these voicings for minor chords too...

    This is a rootless C minor 11.  Remember this is rootless so hit a C in the bass and play this.

    Bb, D, Eb, F, G, Bb, D.

    You want your thumbs to cross.  To make it easier I'll spell it out left and right hand.  Remember your thumbs will be overlapping.

    LH:  Bb, D, Eb, G
    RH:  F, Bb, D

    You could look at it as Ebmajor7 in 2nd inversion with a 2nd inversion Bb triad on top.

    Try this in all keys, its pretty easy to walk up so practice in all keys then try these minor voicings for the Cminor11 - Gminor11 - Bbminor11 - Fminor11 sequence.

    Let me know if none of this makes sense and I'll try to explain it more clearly!!
    by on 11/08/2009, 04:40 LJP Like
  • Jasper - thanks very much - thats brilliant - I'll work on this and get back to you.

    by on 11/08/2009, 13:40 LJP Like
  • Last year we got into this,here's the links-
    by on 11/12/2009, 13:34 LJP Like
    by on 11/12/2009, 13:36 LJP Like
    by on 11/12/2009, 13:38 LJP Like
  • That last one is really this-
    by on 11/12/2009, 13:38 LJP Like
  • Searching all threads for: clusters  
    The Piano Lounge  
    08/07/2006 ... Post-Bop piano on these. The CLUSTERS seem to give and... 29141  
    08/09/2006 ... I'm familiar with these CLUSTERS. Perhaps you could... 29206  
    03/29/2007 ... minor, rootless voicings, CLUSTERS and pastel shades,... 34283  
    03/29/2007 ... which harmonies and tone CLUSTERS were used in non-traditional,... 34285  
    05/13/2007 ... the top of both black key CLUSTERS, and then land on... 35014  
    08/15/2007 ... playing the blues scale). CLUSTERS (b5, 5 and b7)... 36400  
    10/09/2007 ... vs. the type of voicings/CLUSTERS,etc you might find... 37505  
    02/26/2008 ...For info about "CLUSTERS"- http://www.mel... 40483  
    03/03/2008 ... For info about "CLUSTERS"- http://www... 40563  
    04/23/2008 ... this is that although the CLUSTERS CAN resolve, in some... 41139  
    10/09/2008 ... discussed i.e.  "CLUSTERS" and other similar... 42850
    by on 11/12/2009, 13:42 LJP Like
  • Thanks for the info so far guys - its of great help. Would really like to get more into this and have checked out a few links on YouTube as well as some of the artists mentioned.
    For any 'seasoned' neo-soul players out there I'd also like to ask are there any traits you apply to your right-hand playing. To my ears and eyes the melodic lines seem to be quite short and more of a 'jump' from lush chord to lush chord - which is a world away from the long lines I was trying to play during bebop.  
    Also - is there any particular emphasis on the offbeat ?
    Thanks in advance, Shaun.
    by on 11/28/2009, 03:13 LJP Like
  • It's important to think not in terms of comping rhythms with this style as much as one riff which is used as a "loop" behind the vocals;use this type of thing as the basis for whatever rhythmic things you get into............getting some "beats tapes" and listening to how they use the harmonic/melodic material in conjunction with the actual beat is one way to develop this .........
    by on 11/30/2009, 16:17 LJP Like
  • NeoSoul RH: mostly blues scale, dorian, some chromatic passing tones, some altered scale when appropriate
    by on 11/30/2009, 21:18 LJP Like
  • Here is an example of Neo Soul Piano:

    I am very comfortable in this style,
    I have been playing it for 30 years.
    by on 11/30/2009, 22:59 LJP Like
  • Right hand mainly consists of playing with the 9th and 11th with whole tone grace notes used lots and lots.  

    This is how you should want to sound if you really want to play 'neo-soul'.

    This guy is a great person to learn from, its actually gospel music but with loads of neo soul added in, sounds great, I recommend his DVD highly.

    by on 12/03/2009, 02:28 LJP Like
  • thanks Jasper - I actually bought a few dvd's of this guys stuff (it was a neo-soul compilation). It was great on the chord stuff (minor 9th etc) but not so much on the right hand stuff.
    I think he does a couple of 'soloing' DVDs as well, but I've spent enough money for now :)
    by on 12/03/2009, 10:45 LJP Like
  • What a great site – but overwhelming! I’m 69 years old (from South Africa). I know the basic chord structures from playing guitar by ear in a rock band 45 years ago! I had a few piano lessons more than a half century ago. I can play the topline melody of most standards -- more or less! Sight reading virtually non-existent.  

    After ten years of not playing at all, I’ve just bought the Roland E-09 Arranger (Keyboard). I’m re-born! I now have bass and drums accompaniment and can play with earphones so my wife doesn’t scream in agony! Since the Roland transposes into any key at the press of a button, I’m concentrating on becoming reasonably proficient in the key of C. Professor Alberto Betancourt gave a terrific site for lyrics and chords ( ). I’ve downloaded 200 standards.

    Some questions:  

    (1) Out of habit  I play the left-hand chord C7 with G Bb C E in that order. Should the root preferably be at the bottom? Are there preferred inversions which facilitates chord changes?  

    (2) Currently practising chromatic scale and (minor?) pentatonic scale. Need to prioritise my practising. Are there some relatively easy “riffs/grooves ” I can learn to make me sound professional! If so, where do I find them?  Any other simple tricks like lefthand over right hand arpeggio chords running up the piano?
    (3)  I use my right hand for melody and left for chords only. I can play C Am Dm G7 (and most of the other basic stuff) without too much difficulty. I’m looking for ‘chord routines to practice’ with interesting substitute/embellishing chords. For example, I have seen the opening of Ain’t Misbehaving as C A7 Dm7 G7 C C7 F  but I prefer the substitute routines like C C#dim7 Dm7 D#dim7 C Eaug7  F which I can apply to other tunes (hopefully). I love reharmonization like Prof Betancourt’s ‘Moon River’. Don’t really want to get involved with theory!  

    Any help greatfully received.
    by on 01/26/2010, 06:10 LJP Like
  • Nice to see you're enjoying the keyboard (and your wife's enjoying the silence ! Im fairly new to this site but here are some thoughts to your questions - as Im having fairly similar issues

    1) Generally if youre playing solo piano it sounds better when the root is at the bottom - well not neccessarily 'better' but its easier to identify the chord. Having said that - now you have a drum and bass accompanying you, you do not have to put the root at the bottom and can be a lot more free in how you voice your chords. Playing certain types of 'voicings' will give your playing an individual touch, as there are so many combinations available. Work on things you wouldn't normally play and if they sound good to you - stick with them.
    2) There are loads of books, but you mention you are not a sight reader - may be worthwhile checking out some dvds (but even then you may need to do some site reading. Another option which would help is a program called 'Transcribe' it enables you to slow down music while keeping the same pitch. Perfect for practicing licks !
    3) Again - there are books for this - but may be an idea to check Amazon for DVD's. In this respect you may have to bite the bullet and work on increasing your theory - even if only a little bit.  
    by on 01/26/2010, 08:20 LJP Like
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