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Don't understand seventh chords? Need some tricks for learning key signatures? Post your questions here, or see if you can answer someone else's question.

Message: Re: Understanding Blues Theory

Changed By: Fretsource
Change Date: April 27, 2017 10:30PM

Re: Understanding Blues Theory
Rex Hamilton III Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I play - say A blues - I noodle around with A
> pentatonic and A blues but I am sure I heard that
> you're meant to change scales/keys when the chords
> change. If so, how, what, why?
>
> Also, as blues is made up of domiannt chords, and
> as there is only dominant chord per key, then when
> you go from A7 to D7 to E7 you're changing key and
> not only that but, strictly speaking, going from D
> to G to A. This is quite the headfuck!

You're trying to apply CPP music theory to non CPP music. Blues in A relates to A as the tonal centre throughout. The tonal centre chord is A7. In a blues context, this is a stable chord. It's not the functioning as the dominant 7th of D major, but the fact that it's the same as the dom7 of D explains why it progresses there smoothly.

Similarly, the next chord, D7, is not functioning as the dom 7 of G. It's just the IV chord with a flat 7th 'blue note' - a hallmark of blues. Only the E7 is functioning as a THE dominant 7th. It's the only one in a three-chord 12 bar blues not to contain any out of key blue notes.

There are no key changes - it's in A throughout. Look what would happen if you improvised in the key of E major when the chord changes to E7. You would be choosing notes from the scale of E major: E F# G# A B C# D# . D SHARP!!! against a D natural won't sound bluesy unless it's played very briefly before it has a chance to cause listeners to wince at your obvious mistake. Also D won't be available if you insist on sticking with E major, but it's a very important note you're depriving yourself of.

Of course, you could substitute D for D#, but that gives you E F# G# A B C# D, which is exactly the same notes as A major. (You can call it E Mixolydian mode if you like but that's also not right because the tonal centre of the music at that point is still ASo what's the point?

You can also play major or minor pentatonics on the chord roots and avoid clashes and provide some cool blue notes, but , again, it limits your choice of notes.

Play the notes YOU want. Don't be confined to notes of a scale. I've never heard a master bluesman stick slavishly to the notes of any scale.

Original Message

Author: Fretsource
Date: April 27, 2017 10:26PM

Re: Understanding Blues Theory
Rex Hamilton III Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I play - say A blues - I noodle around with A
> pentatonic and A blues but I am sure I heard that
> you're meant to change scales/keys when the chords
> change. If so, how, what, why?
>
> Also, as blues is made up of domiannt chords, and
> as there is only dominant chord per key, then when
> you go from A7 to D7 to E7 you're changing key and
> not only that but, strictly speaking, going from D
> to G to A. This is quite the headfuck!

You're trying to apply CPP music theory to non CPP music. Blues in A relates to A as the tonal centre throughout. The tonal centre chord is A7. In a blues context, this is a stable chord. It's not the functioning as the dominant 7th of D major, but the fact that it's the same as the dom7 of D explains why it progresses there smoothly.

Similarly, the next chord, D7, is not functioning as the dom 7 of G. It's just the IV chord with a flat 7th 'blue note' - a hallmark of blues. Only the E7 is functioning as a THE dominant 7th. It's the only one in a three-chord 12 bar blues not to contain any out of key blue notes.

There are no key changes - it's in A throughout. Look what would happen if you improvised in the key of E major when the chord changes to E7. You would be choosing notes from the scale of E major: E F# G# A B C# D# . D SHARP!!! against a D natural won't sound bluesy unless it's played very briefly before it has a chance to cause listeners to wince at your obvious mistake. Also D won't be available if you insist on sticking with E major, but it's a very important note you're depriving yourself of.

Of course, you could substitute D for D#, but that gives you E F# G# A B C# D, which is exactly the same notes as A major. (You can call it E Mixolydian mode if you like but that's also not right because the tonal centre of the music at that point is still ASo what's the point? You can also play major or minor pentatonics on the chord roots, but again, it limits your choice of notes.

Play the notes YOU want. Don't be confined to notes of a scale. I've never heard a master bluesman stick slavishly to the notes of any scale.