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Minor Blues Scale question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Finsterino, Mar 8, 2008.


  1. Finsterino

    Finsterino

    Mar 8, 2007
    Florida
    I am trying to relate a minor blues scale to a I-IV-V scale progression, and having trouble.

    In a A major scale, the I-IV-V arrpagiates to:

    A, C#, E
    D, F#, A
    E, Ab, B

    But I don't get very far in a A minor blues scale:

    A, C, E
    D, ??, A
    E, G, ??

    Am I attempting something that is off-base in the blues/rock world?

    TNX
    Dave
     
  2. A, C, E
    D, F, A
    E, G, B

    guess it should be same as your minor arpeggio
     
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    A minor 7 - A C E G

    D minor 7 - D F A C

    E Dominant - E G# B D

    Even in a minor key, the 5 chord will be dominant.
     
  4. ryco

    ryco

    Apr 24, 2005
    97465
    OPTION: the IV can be Dominant as well: D F# A C
     
  5. Earthday

    Earthday

    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    That's what's so great about blues, it's simple, but there's so many options. Blues is more of a chordal beast than a scalar one. It's more practical to fit the scale to the chords than the chords to the scale. And even then, they really don't need to fit at all if you're creative.
     
  6. I'm not sure from what you have written if you really mean the A minor blues scale. If you mean playing the diatonic chord tones/arpeggios (of the I, IV, V chords) all in the KEY of A minor in a blues piece, it's exactly as varunkahapi-ji suggests above using triads (three note chords) or pacman using seventh (4 note) chords.

    Don't forget that the minor key uses the same notes as a major key, only a minor third lower. Meaning: play the C major scale starting on A, a minor third lower (all white keys on the piano, if this helps).

    It's always good too to practice intervals. In the case of the A minor key, the triads (three note chords mentioned above for I, IV, V) are ALL comprised of minor thirds. Knowing this from any starting point, moving up by minor thirds will always give you the correct note in this case.

    The A minor blues SCALE, strictly speaking, is: A, C, D, Eb, E, G, A.

    Der Basskopf
     
  7. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    In a A major Blues the A minor Blues scale might be used for soloing to get the two Blue notes of b3 and b5. For a bass line you probably want to use the A major pentatonic. Something a lot of beginner Blues players do is play b7's all the time in their Blues bass lines. They assume that all chords in Blues are dominant chords and that isn't true. Blues will use straight major chords or riffs so the b7 is out of place and the 6th should be used instead.

    Now solo over an A major Blues you can use notes that you would use in your bass line or have to use special handling in your bass line. A good starting point for soloing on a A major Blue would be use A major pentatonic on A, then D minor pentatonic for D chord and E minor pentatonic for the E chord. That will keep you inside for the I chord A and give some Bluesy sound for the IV chord D and V chord E. Once you get a good handle soloing with those sounds, then move to the Blues scales that add an extra color tone.

    Blues is a great way to learn to play music. It is simple, but teaches feeling time and changing chords. It is good for learning to listen to the drums and lock in with them. The bass lines can be simple riffs or use scales for walking shuffles or lines to setup the next chord. Blues is good for learning train your ear to hear basic chord changes. If you get a chance to jam or play with experienced Blues player you learn to keep your eyes and ears open. Blues live is a very dynamic music and you have to stay alert because they will change dynamics, put breaks and other thing into songs while playing. Some with start modulating keys or adding chord change on stage. Blues is a great teacher for any kind of music you want to play later.
     
  8. Finsterino

    Finsterino

    Mar 8, 2007
    Florida
    Yes, I was originally trying to stay in the key of A minor - but apparently I don't have to stay strictly with only those notes of the A minor scale?!?

    " A good starting point for soloing on a A major Blue would be use A major pentatonic on A, then D minor pentatonic for D chord and E minor pentatonic for the E chord. "

    So this sounds like a
    A maj = A C# E
    D min = D F A
    E min = E G B

    Thanks for your help guys. This started as an exercise to figure out the Key of Bad Company's Burnin Sky . This seems like a G minor of some sort...

    Thanks
    Dave
     
  9. onlyclave

    onlyclave

    Oct 28, 2005
    Seattle
    If you are in 'a' minor and you see a D F# A C chord (I would analyze it as V7/VII) it would resolve to G maj and that would make it a secondary dominant but D7 does not have dominant function in 'a' minor.

    am > D7 > G > am has a pretty weak resolution pattern and sounds kind of modal. If I saw this I'd probably play 'a' melodic minor over it.
     
  10. Dave, you said you are in A MINOR, so in my opinione these scales will work well for you:
    - The A minor blues scale: A, C, D, Eb, E, G, A
    - THe A minor pentatonic scale: A,C,D,E,G,A
    Yes, these are not all diatonic (scale) tones but still work fine.
    In A MAJOR, the A major pentatonic scale will work better:
    - A, B, Db, E, Gb, A
     
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I've never heard a blues (major or minor) that had a minor V chord in it. That's a very weak resolution.
     
  12. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Louie-Louie :bag:
     
  13. Deacon_Blues

    Deacon_Blues

    Feb 11, 2007
    Finland
    To keep it simple, you can solo using the A minor blues scale on both A major and A minor blues. It might however be a wise thing to avoid the fourth note in the scale of the chord you stay on (i.e. D if you're on the A chord, G if you're on D, A if you're on the E7 chord).

    For the bass line (if you want to play a walking bass line), use the major or minor arpeggios as applicable, and/or chromatic approaches, and/or whatever notes you think sound good.
     
  14. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    Not a blues, now is it?
     
  15. ryco

    ryco

    Apr 24, 2005
    97465
    Yes, I could have labeled it as a secondary Dominant - but in my mind it 'wouldn't/doesn't have to' serve as a resolving chord at all.

    In Am you could resolve to G maj which would be a bVII - not that uncommon in blues: D7 > G > am
    I agree it is a weaker resolution, but it sounds cool. Not very outside at all: IV7 > bVII > i
    I agree the D7 carries a "modal" flavor. The F of Dmi7 (iv) sounds a little wimpy to my ear - although F as b6 of the key Am it can sound very bluesy.
    I'd also consider using the Bb (6 tone of D) as a good voice leading tone if D was heading back to Am: i > IV7(b6) > i > i. YMMV

    The E has already been altered to be the V7 to serve as the Dom of the key. So the strong V7 > i is already present.

    If I saw this chord set up I would probably play a A Dorian instead of AMm. But that's just me.
    The G# of AMm could be a leading tone back to i, but why? Sounds a little heavy handed IMO. I'd stick with G natural.
    Obviously the G# in the E7 (V7) has to be there. That's plenty.


    apologies, Finsterino
     
  16. onlyclave

    onlyclave

    Oct 28, 2005
    Seattle

    I'd have to see the melody to make any determination on exactly what scales I would be playing within over that progression.

    What you are describing Finsterino is almost pandiatonicism where all chords have all equal treatment within a progression inasmuch as it doesn't follow classical functional theory.

    Functional:

    Tonic < dominant < subdominant < mediant < submediant


    Pandiatonic:
    all chords are equal
     

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