How to Play Soul Music on the Piano - dummies

By Hal Leonard Corp., Adam Perlmutter

Talk about a broad category of music! And, don’t worry, this genre doesn’t leave out the piano. Soul can encompass anything from R&B (“rhythm and blues”) to gospel, hip-hop, and rap.

Such soulful styles have been made popular by artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding, and can feature a lot of wonderful piano playing. It’s also great for dancing, although it’s tough to do lots of grooving while sitting at the piano.

Saving your soul

Danceable soul music requires danceable rhythms, so have the following rhythmic concepts in your repertoire before strutting over to the keys:

  • Syncopation

  • Right-hand intervals

  • Dotted eighth-sixteenth pattern

  • Disco ball (rent from your local party supply outlet)

Motown sounds

In the 1960s, Motown Records had a stable of artists specializing in the R&B sound. So popular were these artists that their style became known as the Motown sound. But don’t think the 1960s are gone; you can add the Motown sound to any of your favorite songs.

Using a left-hand pattern with a syncopated rhythm, play this tune. Pretty soon you’ll be hearing the Temptations doo-wopping right along with you.

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Check here to watch this Motown syncopation in action.