ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Piano improvisation using soulful chord progressions

Updated on November 18, 2015

Improvising the E flat Major Scale

If you listen to Neo Soul artists like D'angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Dwele, etc. Most of their music contains a lot of complex, deep tension filled chords patterns. If may be difficult to work out a lot of their chords alone, however improvising on a scale such as Eb will help us get a similar sound. The scale Eb, Bb or F tend to be popular scales to use in the Neo Soul and even Jazz genre. Scales such of E, A and D are more used for pop music. They have more of a "catchy" feel for the larger audience.

The keys I like to improvise on are the following:

D#, F, G, G#, A#, C, C#

You'll notice that it's not a normal D# scale, it's more like a C minor scale since I prefer to use a C# instead of a D as it has more of a soulful sound to it. If you play it you'll know just with your ears. I am not a pro player but this scale is very easy on the fingers and you can trick people into believing you are a pro if you practice the scales smoothly. Notes such as B and one or two other keys not in the scale can be used as "passing" notes if you want to spice things up, however a melody phrase should never end on any of these passing notes.

The Chords

As with Jazzy Neo soul, the best chords to use are 7th's and 9th's. E.g. Try the Fm9 / Dm9 / Cmaj9 - Sounds nice doesn't it.

Using the correct chords for the scales we have:

1. D#min9 (The minor sounds more soulfull here)

2. Fmin9 or 7

3. Gmaj9

4. G#min9 or G# dom

5. A#min9

6. Cmin9 or 7

7. C#Maj9 or 7

The above do not follow the chords theory exactly but following the typical theory can often leave you with a bland unoriginal piece of music. I have adjusted the chords to create a lot of tension for deep soul music.

Try to play the piano combining the above chords with the scale I mentioned earlier and can sound very impressive once you get the fingering speed.

9th chords are probably impossible for most people to play with one hand so invert the 9th and bring it down one octave so that its to the root key. This actually gives more of a deeper gospel type sound than playing the 9th which both hands.

Using the above chords you should be able to play along with a lot of Neo soul artists. Especially Jill Scott - Layzel in Eb.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)