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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by altman, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. altman


    Oct 7, 2001
    I was jamming with some ppl the other night, and they were talking about turnarounds

    (I'm a relative newbie) I've heard this term, and I've seen some tab references, but none of this tells me the concept (I crave concepts)

    What are they?

    What are they trying to accomplish?

    Is there a general concept or progression or whatever that I can use to think myself from A to B?"

  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    A "turnaround" usually refers to the end of a 12 (or 24, or other divisible-by-4) bar blues progression and comprises the cool stuff that happens before the whole thing repeats itself.

    If you're a bassist or drummer, it's your opportunity to throw in some catchy fills, because not much usually changes during the rest of those 12 bars.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Just to tag on to Christopher's very good explanation in more of a "street" context;

    - The reason Christopher says the turnaround is an opportunity to "throw in some catchy fills" is because there typically aren't any vocals during the turnaround.

    - As for your question about "what they accomplish" a turnaround gives resolution to the typical I-IV-V blues progression......the turnaround
    "brings it all back home" and sets up the music to begin the next blues progresssion of chords and vocal verses. It's like the "ribbon on a wrapped gift". It tidies up the melody and makes it sound "complete" and keeps the instrumentalists glued together for the next verse/progression. Without the turnaround, the song/progression would sound like something is left "hanging" or unresolved before you went back to the tonic (the pattern/progression starts over again).

    Those are generalizations. Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", however, is a typical blues progression but it has no turnarounds. One verse ends and the next verse or the chorus follows without any instrumental turnaround.

    A couple of blues classics which should be familiar and that incorporate classic turnarounds are T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" and Elmore James' "One Way Out" (the instrumental intro even uses a turnaround before the vocals come in).
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Turnarounds occur in almost any tune that uses a repeating form. It's just a series of chords that resolves back to the top of the form.

    Most turnarounds involve at least the ii-V7, some the iii-iv-ii-V7. Most others are simplifications ( IV-V-I) or reharmonizations (iii-bIII7-ii-bII7) of these two very common ones. I'm sure DUURRL could shed even more light on these...

    edit: moved to General Instruction
  5. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Lets not forget the ii vi I V turnaround - it's used in many jazz and blues tunes. Another one is I iii ii iidim, e.g., in C: C Eb- D- Dbdim. The final chord is sometimes a major, sometimes a minor, a sometimes a diminished. There are many more standard turnarounds.
  6. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    In reference to the 12 bar blues form my understanding is that the 12th bar is often a chance for the bass player to play something different than what he does for the first 11 bars - kind of open for interpritation, but as a general rule will often start on the same note that starts the 9th bar (the V) and lead back to the I. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.

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