He Has Made me Glad: 4 Cory Henry tips on improvising

How would you improvise a hymn? Would you feel stuck on where to start? Check the video below

Cory Henry has undoubtedly blown many minds when it comes to improvising, but improvising is not as difficult as many musicians make it. In this tutorial for the song, He Has Made Me Glad, by Cory Henry, we will examine some basic suggestions for improvising that are extremely easy to implement. If you would like a MIDI file for this song click here.


Trade Major Chords for Minor Chords

In the Hymn he should have played on an Eb major chord, but he kept changing it to an C minor chord

Ok, I agree. It won't ALWAYS work. But when used correctly, will have a nice effect. However, don't just go and start changing EVERY major chord to a minor chord. there is definitely to context to consider

  • Don't just randomly change EVERY major chord to a minor chord
  • Changing a chord from major to minor seems to work better when the chord is inverted
  • Although the video says to only change one note it is NOT advisable to change the MELODY
  • Consider the length of time the chord is being held, holding a chord too long if you are changing the quality is not recommended (unless you already an expert at this of course)

Change an AbMaj9 to a AbMaj9#5

Notice the notes in the AbMaj9 chord, Ab - C - Eb - G - Bb

Changing only ONE note changes the quality to a AbMaj9#5 chord, Ab - C - E - G - Bb


Improvise using a simple melodic line

Ok, so here is the thing, most of us think of using chords, chord substitutions, or passing chords when trying to improvise. Did you notice that there is a word that is being overused here: CHORDS....

Why does all improvisation have to involved CHORDS?

Cory, is using melodic lines in a very rhythmic way. In fact, if you listen to many of his improvising movements they involve some type of melody where both right and left hands are doing the same thing. Usually ending in some type of chord​

Q: The melodic line you hear in the Video IS NOT in the song. So where did he get the melodic line from? How did he know to do that? These are questions that you must wrestle with on your journey to improvisation


Keep the melody on top and experiment with different voicings

The neat thing about improvising are that the rules are flexible.


For example, if I wanted to voice a CMaj chord and keep the SAME quality then I only have three ways to voice that chord. I can hit a regular C-E-G, or I can play one of the two inversions, E-G-C, or G-C-E.

However, if I am focusing on melodica improvisation then I don't EVEN CARE about the chord. I only care about the note that the MELODY REQUIRES. In many cases this means the the melody is on top but doesn't have to be. 

How many ways can you voice a chord with G on top?​

ugh!!! Im really started to get tired over here. But I think you get the point!

  • sean says:

    I plan to finish this page soon. Let me know what you think so far..

  • Samuel says:

    This website is gonna put a lot of piano tutors out of business that’s for sure

    • sean says:

      Thanks Samuel, but I would rather they use it as an additional resource. Plus, it’s not really geared to beginners..

  • Man Sean you have Great ears. You ever hear Shedrick Mitchell?

  • award4bestfilms@aol.com says:

    Shedrick is actually my favorite organist alive. I actually think he’s the best; Travis Sayles would agree.

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