There are many aspects that define a music genre. The kinds of harmonies, rhythms, lyrics, chord progressions, fashion, etc. all help classify a piece of music.
Before we get into a debate of whether labels are good or bad, it is skill for composers to know what makes a genre to draw direct inspirations from.
We are going to talk about how simply expanding the harmony of your chord choices and voicings can give your piece of music an interesting neo-soul feel.
Take a look below at some common chord types (never mind the key):
Typically, you would use some major chords, minor chords, dominant seventh, and diminished chords to write a song. To give it a neo-soul flavor, try expanding the harmonies this way:
- Major Triad -> Major Ninth Sharp Eleventh
- Minor Triad -> Minor Eleventh
- Dominant Seventh -> Dominant Thirteenth Sus 4
- Diminished Triad -> Altered Dominants
Also, taking inspiration from modal harmonies are re-voicing in quartal harmonies (of stacked fourth), can give your piece a neo-soul sound. Basically, jazz harmonies will be your best friend in this.
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