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Improvise Cool R&B Chords for Piano - Part 2

Updated on January 21, 2019

Welcome to my second part of Improvising R&B chords. This time I will show you some more chords that fit around the E flat major key. Again I am using the E flat key because it is quite popular for Neo Soul music and is easy on the fingers when using the piano or Keyboard.

I believe that too many chord progressions can distract a listener, unless you are writing tracks like Stevie Wonder who used multiple chords and transpositions. There is nothing wrong with limiting your verse to two chords only, which is what I will show you. If the two chords are from different scales then it can add more tension to the track, however a more skilled singer and musician would be required to hit the correct notes for the two different scales. A good example would be the Artist Dwele who often switches scales in his tracks. This can be quite difficult for the average person to sing along too but nevertheless very deep in terms of music.

Two chord verse

The below chords compliment each other nicely and even add some tension.

Cmin9, C#maj9

Cmin9 (C, D#, G, A#, D) the D can be inverted and played next to the C for more depth, playing this way will enable you to cover the 9th chord in one hand e.g (C,D,D#,G,A#) can easily be played in one hand.

C#maj9 (C#,D#, F, G#, C), the 9th is the D# which again is inverted.

If you play the above chords which the left hand you should be able to randomly play around with keys on your right hand in the Eb(D#) Scale e.g. D#, F, G, G#, A#,C, C# (instead of D will sound better)

Just try them over a few bars and see how soulful they sound.

I suggest you mess around which those for a few bars and get the feel.

Four Chord Chorus

A nice chord sequence for the chorus would be.

Cmin9, C#maj9, G#maj7th or 9th, G7 flat 9th (G, B, D, F, G#) - may require two hands.

The G7 flat 9th is a nice phrase ending chord with a lot of soulful tension. Try it out.

When looking for chords, never be afraid of venturing out into other scales. A single chord transition may sound wrong when you hear it at first but when followed up with an appropriate 3rd chord, it may sound better. Trial and error is the key !!!

Good example of the above is the below Video by Ledisi.


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