Friday, June 10, 2016

Twelve Bar Blues Clues

This week we covered one of popular music's oldest and most prolific traditions, the 12-bar blues! Let's try some exercises! As always, you can put your answer in the comments below or on the main video.

1) First let's make sure you understand the idea. Try writing out the 12-bar pattern in, say, the key of E. First do the basic form, then try out the variations we covered. Try it with the turnaround, with a quick change, and try out the chord substitutions we discussed. Then why not try adding your own chord substitutions? Who says you have to stick with the ones I mentioned? Try to play them if you can, but if you can't then send me a transcription and I'll try to make you a demo of it.

2) Try to find some examples of 12-bar blues in songs you've listened to. See if you can find them with and without turnarounds, examples of quatrain form and quick-change blues, and other variations. And don't limit your search to blues songs: The 12-bar blues pattern has been adopted by rock, jazz, R&B, and pop musicians too!

3) Improvising is a big part of the 12-bar tradition, so let's give that a shot. There's lots of backing tracks out there for twelve-bar blues in various keys. Here's one with a quickchange and a turnaround, but feel free to find another if you don't like the way it sounds. Anyway, listen to it for a bit, then try singing or playing some lines over it. If you want to get really inventive, maybe even try making up some lyrics!

And that's that! See you next week!

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