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Chords within a blues scale

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Emprov, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    I'm sort of hanging my head in shame while asking this question as I've been playing for more years than I care to think about but have never really gotten into blues. Here it goes...When changing chords within a progression, take I IV V for example, do y'all stay within the scale of the dominant when moving to the IV and V chords or does each chord get it's own scale?
  2. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Hmmmm well...

    You know that the dominant is not the same thing as the tonic ,right?... The tonic is the "home" chord... like if someone says "Let's play a blues in F" it means "F is the tonic".

    The dominant is the V chord (or more commonly V7 with a lot of possible diffrent add-ons and alterations). Now for blues there's the good ole nifty BLUES SCALE which thousands if not millions of musicians know of. It's one of the first scales the improvising musician is taught.

    The blues scale based from the tonic (lets say F) will work over all the progressions in a simple blues. In other words you can play F blues scale over all chords in a F blues ;)

    This is how a lot of blues and rock musician would approach it. A jazz musician would probably treat the progression a litte diffrent ...

    This is about as much help I feel I can/want to give you hehe. The only way to find out what works and what doesent is to listen to records of the old masters. Pick a blues recording you dig with a solo in it and learn to play it, or atleast sing it.

    The blues can't be explained in words....

  3. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    Dominant??? Tonic??
    And to think that I was a music major in college. Blame it on trying to post while on a conference call. Thanks for the info.
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    One thing to consider here, however, may be that Emprov is asking if he stays within the dominant, because many blues songs use only dominant chords. So, if you're playing a straight I-IV-V twelve bar blues progression, it is very common that the I bar is actually a dominant chord. If I'm understanding Emprov correct, this may in fact be his question. To address that question, you're actually thinking along a logical lines Emprov, but many blues songs do not follow that sort of diatonic chord shaping that would be so nice. If you're in F, the IV chord Bb is actually dominant as well, as is the V chord, C.

    What this is to say, is that many blues songs actually use the changes I7/IV7/V7. F7 - Bb7 - C7
  5. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    I actually intended to say "tonic" and, as you know, there are many different flavors scales for the tonic within blues. My question was merely whether or not to stay within the tonic's scale when going to the dominant or sub-dominant. I've seen a lot of "junior" players stay with the exact same intervals on their lines as they progress from I-IV-V, taking their notes/patterns *way* outside the boundaries of any one scale that I know of. Kinda hard to explain in post but I think that my question's been answered. I've been asked to sit in with a few fairly well known local blues players and I just didn't want to look like a complete dork when I played (any more than usual, that is!:D).

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