Lesson 12: Learning blues piano

Are you ready to start learning blues piano?

Lesson 12 of my online course ‘Learn Jazz Piano online.’ This lesson is all about the blues. When learning blues piano I’ll teach you how to solo, using many creative techniques. I have also included the minor blues. The blues isn’t always in 4/4 time. In fact 12/8 is very common so we also take a close look at this. As always, I’ve provided you with backing tracks, sheet music and a quiz.

Here’s an excerpt from my eBook about the blues:

The Blues  runs in the face of logic and yet has infiltrated rock, gospel, soul… and, of course, jazz. Although the blues influence is stronger in some jazz players than others, it cannot be considered as a separate entity. If a potential student contacts me requesting to learn just jazz or blues I have to insist that jazz and blues come in the same package or not at all.

The form (structure) breaks all the rules. Most song forms last 32 bars and subdivide into groups of 8. However, a blues sequence usually runs to 12 bars.

(There are other lengths, such as the 8-bar blues but here we will be focusing on 12.)

The chord structure also abides by its own rules. In most western music, V leads to I. The 5th note and chord of the diatonic scale is known as the dominant and its function is to pull towards the I, known as the tonic. If you see a G7,the likelihood is that this dominant 7 chord will resolve up a perfect 4th to a C major or minor chord. In the blues, dominant 7 chords just lead to more dominant 7s. I wonder what Bach would have made of this odd beast.

Here, below, is a basic 12-bar blues sequence in F.

Learning blues piano

Blues in F

And here’s a link to some great blues piano players.


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