✯✯✯ Blues Song Structure

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Blues Song Structure

Blues Song Structure from the original on October 2, Life was very Who Is The Protagonist In The Running Man. Blues musical styles, forms bar bluesmelodies, and the blues scale have influenced many Blues Song Structure genres Blues Song Structure music, such as Blues Song Structure and Blues Song Structure, Disobedience David Wilde Analysis, and popular music. Jerry Lee Lewis 's style of rock and Blues Song Structure was heavily influenced Blues Song Structure the blues and its derivative boogie-woogie. Zur Totalitarianism Vs Bureaucracy der Formanalyse von Blues Song Structure und Rockmusik".

The World's Most Important Chord Progression

Strangely enough, for reasons we won't go into here, the chord that completes the trio isn't a major chord that turns into a 7th variation , but is already in fact a 7th chord. The form shown on the right has the A string fretted on the 2nd fret, so it's this string we need to use in a monotonic bass pattern, for example, as the bass E string isn't fretted and will sound discordant. Very often, this shape is used but with the bass E held down on the 2nd fret instead of the A string. As long as we don't pluck the A string by design or mistake, it sounds pretty good. The high E is held down with the pinkie and can be used to fret the B string if we wish.

A 'hammer-on' can be used to great effect on the D string, which is fretted by the forefinger - alternate pulling off and hammering on makes a great Delta blues sound. Basically, that's it! It's our job to make it more interesting by introducing extra notes between chord changeovers, and by adding more intricate musical variations as musical breaks between the verses. Well, what about the chord inversions that I mentioned earlier? Here are some easy ones that I use myself:. Half-chords are often used, which enables the guitarist to get creative and play lead-type runs high up the fret board.

Starting with the E chord, its mostly used in it's basic shape, because it is so powerful, but sometimes in the verse and also the breaks, we want to break away from the chord to make a little excitement. Always remember, the cardinal sin of blues guitar is to bore the audience! This is easily done if strumming the basic chord structure in a 12 bar blues progression , for example. The chord shape in the left is in the shape of D7, and we form it the same way. Notice that the B string is fretted on the 3rd fret, exactly where the 7th note appears for the E chord. This shape is a great way to play E7. You can either hit that bass E string with a monotonic bass, or use the thumb to pick one of the trebles, using two fingers to add triplets on the last two strings, if your technique is advance enough.

Or just strum across the strings upwards with your forefinger - it all sounds great! A good way to use this formation is to run it down to the 2nd and 1st fret before going back to the E major, which then becomes E7, or stays as it is depending on where you are in the song - you'll soon get the hang of it! Try and strike the strikes four beats to the bar, running the chord down every bar, and your music will start to swing.

Another thing we can do for the E chord is to move right up the fret board and play just strings from an inversion on the 7th fret. Place the forefinger on the high E string on the 7th fret as shown in the diagram on the right. Now the second finger goes on the next string on the 8th fret, and either strum upwards with the forefinger or pinch the two strings together. Yes, it makes a fantastic train whistle Mississippi Blues sound, but wait - it gets better! Now, strike the B string pushing over and then let it slide back. It really does create an unbeatable Delta Blues music sound. It's plaintiff and speaks directly to the emotions of the listener. Lightnin' Hopkins used this technique as well as many others! In the video below, the E chord progression starts with an E chord and I jam along trying techniques from famous blues men, and also surprising myself with completely new sounds!

It also includes all of the techniques discussed on this page, including the chord inversions and instrumental breaks. Lightnin Hopkins was born on March 15, in Centerville, Texas. He lived a humble life and spent his childhood picking cotton with his family. His father let him play guitar as a way to pass the time and help out with the chores around the house. He was self-taught and learned to play by listening. He put heavy emphasis on string bending notes up from their natural pitch for expressive purposes; this technique creates what many call "the crying sound". Hopkins' guitar playing also featured percussive fingerpicking techniques, rather than flat picking or strumming like other styles such as rockabilly, country, or western swing.

He became famous, the word spreading about him being able to make the guitar talk when performing live at parties using endless repetition and 3 or 4 basic blues chords, mostly in the key of E. Another variation used in common blues chord progressions is the A7 shape on the 4th fret. Here again, you can also stretch that pinkie up to 7th fret to turn it into a major, in just the same way as with A and A7. The only thing to be careful of is which bass string your thumb strikes. Normally, it needs to be the open A string, but in truth, hitting either or both the bass strings and then muting hard with the palm of your picking hand will work. In fact, some blues men, like Mance Lipscombe , very rarely fretted any bass notes - he just choked off the notes so that the resulting noise was more like a 'thud', and like a drum beat for tempo.

How To Play A Blues In E Scrapper Blackwell Style As often said, now that we completely understand the chord sequence for a typical blues in the key of E, we can look around for players that don't exactly break the rules, but severely bend them. Scrapper Blackwell was one of the best guitar players in the s blues era; he played a style called "piedmont" blues which means his songs were often upbeat, fast-paced, and exciting even though many had themes like death or going insane because life was so hard back then.

He recorded hundreds of songs and was a major influence on the blues guitarists who followed him. He was particularly interesting as his creations often didn't follow the accepted blues chords format and paved the way for some really creative work. Blackwell's interesting chord formations probably came from his partnership with Leroy Carr, who played an advanced form of boogie-woogie and swing piano. In fact, Carr could play just about any chord progression blues or otherwise, but leaned towards a rolling kind of rural music that the audiences loved.

A simple 12 bar blues chord progression became much more complex under Leroy Carr's hands, and I surmise that his guitarist partner was constantly looking for ways to embellish his own chord sequences to complement the music in the most effective way. For Leroy, the best blues chord progressions were the ones that drove the music forward and excited the audience. Of course, piano chords for the most part are much more complex than for the guitar, so Scrapper was at an immediate disadvantage.

The piano has 88 keys and the guitar has six or twelve strings, which means the chords are formed in completely different ways. However, this inventive guitar player did manage to add some inventive linking chords to the main blues sequence, which is very evident in his rendition of Blues Before Sunrise , another song in the key of E. While the standard E blues progression still holds true, half-chords derived from inversions are used liberally and single string runs in the form of instrumental breaks show the influence of Leroy Carr's piano work. It makes for a satisfying and different sound from standard musical forms, and is testimony to the guitarist's ingenuity and creativity.

He began performing in the s on street corners with his guitar while he learned to play. His nickname, Big Bill, came from his stature and personality. He grew up on a plantation where he learned to play the guitar at age Born in the Mississippi, he move to Chicago to play the blues and had a very successful career as an artist in that city. He's known for his distinct blues guitar playing style which includes a lot of finger picking and percussive sound effects. Big Bill Broonzy was one of the most exciting and inventive blues men.

Although Key to the Highway was recorded by several notable blues musicians, past and present, it's Broonzy's iconic recording which sets the standard. The chords I use are pretty close to Big Bill's rendition and you can download the tab here. Watch this iconic lesson in basic blues chords in E below:. You will notice many slight variations when you watch the lesson. Broonzy was constantly reforming the chords, add 9ths and 13ths to make a very rich musical experience - all with just 3 basic chords! The complete progressions is made up of the chords A that can morph into A7 anytime you need it to , D7 and E7. We looked at the E7 chord, but we don't use it in quite the same - we don't use inversions, as like the B7 when playing the 12 bar blues in E, it just isn't used very much at all.

So the only chord we haven't looked at for the guitar progression in A is D7, shown to the right. The fingering is fairly intuitive and the thumb is used to fret the bass E string on the 2nd fret. You might find this a bit difficult, but depends on the size of your hands and of course the width of you guitar neck. A classical guitar neck, for example, is just too wide to do this comfortably. If you didn't want to bother fretting the bass E string, either damp it heavily with the picking hand palm when you play it, or simple use the A string instead.

However, some songs in the style of Robert Johnson, for example, really benefit from having that bass E fretted as shown in the diagram. Listen carefully and visualize the chords of A, A7, D7 and E7. You'll hear embellishments and variations but the songs shows how this simple chord structure creates a powerful blues experience. Actually, it's quite rare that the blues men played a full chord for most of the time, and in the song above, the D7 chord is never fully played.

The high E string is left open, as it isn't played. This is a kind of unwritten rule - if you don't play a string, why bother to fret it? The only exception being if the string in question rings in sympathy with others and makes a horrible sound. The B string fretted on the 1st fret is often pulled off, and the hammered on, several times in one bar and the bass E becomes very useful in adding variations to the bass pattern. There are many chord inversions for A major, but there are not that often used for a basic acoustic blues guitar song. It's probably best if you explore them yourself and experiment with the sound to see if it fits in with what you're trying to do. The whole idea of exploring the old style acoustic blues is to find out what the old guys did and try to integrate the techniques into your own guitar music, constantly trying to keep that old flavor that makes the blues what it is.

The same goes for E and E7 chords, which are mostly used 'as is' in their basic form. When playing D7, however, I use one particular inversion quite a lot, sometimes in a verse, but more often as part of an instrumental break. Slide up to the chord from the 3rd fret to the 5th with the forefinger on the high E string and the second on the B string, which finishes up on the 7th fret. It's tempting to use the pinkie for the B string, but if you use the second finger, the pinkie is free to play the 7th, 8th and 9th frets to create variations. The contrast of the high notes of this variation compared to the basic D7 chord makes for an exciting sound and is part of that mysterious idea of syncopation, where and unexpected change in tempo or sound pleasantly surprises the listener.

An audience wants to be surprised, but also need to feel secure in the correct musical structure. Right from the introduction we see inversions of the E chord used to run down before starting the verses, which do use a standard E chord. He starts off using a simple D shape on the fourth fret and runs down with half of the E inversion. He accents this with an emphasis on the normal E7 shape before moving to the A7 on two strings. When the normal progressions brings him back to the root E chord, he alternates this with a B7, using string pull-offs and hammer-ons to great affect.

It has been often called "the father of jazz" because it was a major influence on early 20th century popular American music. There are many different types of ragtime guitar - ragtime blues guitar is just one - but they have one thing in common: syncopation. This means that the rhythm and melody don't follow each other; instead, there's an emphasis on the offbeat or un-stressed beat. Ragtime was sometimes played with brass instruments and usually features improvisational solos by solo players or duets between lead and backup musicians.

Ragtime chord progressions are predominantly in the keys of C and G. The chord structure of the root chord in each key is inherently more complex than E or A, and lend themselves to richer chord combinations. When the early guitar players wanted to copy the ragtime piano style of Scott Joplin in the early s, they found that standard Delta blues chords just wouldn't cut it.

Although they can create amazing and emotional blues music, they don't have the variation required for fingerstyle ragtime guitar playing. Old-style Mississippi Blues pickers would mostly hit one bass string, often damping the sound with the palm of the picking hand so that it didn't resonate. This had the effect of sounding a little like a drum beat, or 'thwack', which was awesome - these guitar players had there own percussion section!

One day, a bright young fingerstyle guitarist realized that the bum-chick sound prevalent in the popular piano music at that time could be approximated by alternating the thumb strikes between two or three bass strings. This alternating bass finger-picking technique was a huge step in the evolution of acoustic guitar. Many modern players such as Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanue l and many others would turn it into an art form, but it all started back in the early days of the roots of the blues. The alternating technique was dubbed Travis-picking and has been used to create ragtime blues, Piedmont, swing, country and almost every musical style under the sun.

When used with the chords found in the key of C, it opens up wonderful possibilities. I know, I know - it's super-fast! The trick is to play it very slowly and speed it up a little each day. It's not just that the standard chord progression of C, F and G are richer chords, which is one way of saying that more strings are fretted, so more variations can be created, but really cool turnarounds can be added between verses as well. Try it out! It's a load of fun, once you get those fingers disciplined.

It happens in the above video at the end of every verse. Another characteristic of Piedmont or ragtime blues guitar is the use of quite complicated and melodic runs on one, two or three strings. The fingerstyle technique is dumbed down while singing, but between lines and verses, and particularly in the instrumental breaks, the arrangements can get very interesting indeed. A ragtime blues progression doesn't have to be fast to be powerful.

He uses just a few chords, basically C, F and G, to create a fantastic piece of fingerstyle guitar. His right hand technique was very special indeed - it's what we all aim for! The basic G blues progression begins with the major root chord, which is nothing to write home about and played by itself, it doesn't scream 'blues'! However, as is often the case, it's what you do with it that counts. Look at all those middle strings, just waiting to be pressed, pulled off or hammered - the chord is a ragime blues guitar player's paradise.

In the diagram the high E string is fretted with the ring finger, which is one way that I play the chord, depending on the song and the style of the music. Now, if you use your pinky to fret the high E string, a whole world of possibilities open up, simply because you can use the freed-up third finger to play around with the open D, G and B strings. Just changing the fingers around to form a G chord radically change your playing style, making it much more exciting. The most important thing that this facilitates is a ragtime blues progression in G known as the turnaround, discussed above in the section about key of C chords. This ragtime blues chord progression was used by many guitarists such as Blind Blake as a kind of fill-in to link the verses in his ragtime songs.

Other Piedmont fingerstyle guitar players, such as Fuller and Floyd Council used a very similar, if more simplified, chord sequence in their slower pieces. Play it fast and it sounds super. Listen to the MP3 below:. Key to the Highway, Clapton Style. Chord Structure In Open Guitar Tuning So far, I've only considered normal, or standard, guitar tuning, but there's a whole other world of possibilities when you start to play around with those tuning pegs. Although an artist like Joni Mitchell once said that she has used over 50 different open guitar tunings in her career, most people manage with just a couple! There are countless song structure options available to songwriters. Using them effectively requires an understanding of the individual parts, such an intro, verse, and chorus, for example.

We'll explore each while discussing their emotional impacts and how you can use them to serve your song's purposes. The deeper into the adventure of song writing you delve, the more you'll begin to notice patterns, especially relating to song structure. Differing genres and decades will display their various influences and preferences, but at the end of the day the basic song structure essentials never change. One or two of the fundamentals may disappear in exchange for others here and there, but you'll typically find the same elements over and over again in various orders.

Some songs may feature two full verses before you hear the first instance of the chorus. Some songs may have a four-bar intro and go straight into a chorus. Others will feature a pre-chorus or a bridge while pop songs, for example, may not. Your own personal goal will change depending on the style of music or the emotional impact you're trying to create. It will serve you well to be familiar with each structural unit of a song so you can listen critically and discover more arrangements to use in your own music.

The bird's eye view of songwriting is far simpler than you think. As you venture into other types of music such as progressive rock music medleys and classical overtures, you'll begin to discover more types and songs that completely break all of the rules. But it all always comes back to these main six. The structure of a song is comprised of its parts, and its parts will each be one of the following building blocks, called sections.

This means you can think of songwriting as sectional, with a song built up of only a few sections, most of which are repeated. It's all about the order of the sections, which create musical forms and there's only so many of those, too like:. Through-composed is for classical music and art songs. I only mentioned it so you'd know it exists, but it's not really relevant to us.

In the above list of examples, A stands for the verse and B stands for the chorus. But that doesn't mean they're limited to those two sections. We'll explore more and explain how they fit in. Read on to learn about how each piece functions and what purpose it serves. Let's take a look at each individual piece of the typical non-pop song. Understanding the purpose and function of each of the following pieces will prepare you to write songs that feel mature and complete. They may or may not include all of them and definitely aren't constrained to the following order. When you begin a song, you don't want to come in at full force. Your listeners need a chance to become accustomed to you, your style, and your intentions.

This is the goal of an introduction: to acclimate the user and allow them an attempt to anticipate the adventure. Like a movie or novel, music should feature a clear start, gradual build-up, an exciting climax, and a final act that debriefs and returns the enjoyer back to their original state of mind. Typically, intro's have been fairly low-key and don't feature all of the instrumentation of the song. It will often allow a backing instrument to play a rendition of the lead melody, easing it into the listener's mind to bring on immediate familiarity.

Some genres however, like the newer Dubstep , have further developed the usage of the intro, creating a giant crescendo that leads into the first verse in a very dramatic fashion, taking as long as a full minute of listening time. Traditionally in most styles of music, intros will last anywhere from four measures to eight measures. Your goal is to establish the rhythm, the tempo, foreshadow the lead melody, introduce the vocalist's voice, and more.

Show the user your conceptual idea without giving away the whole show, so when the downbeat drops and the rhythm section brings in the full groove, there will be sense of excitement leading them into the first verse. Usually the intro is simple and dances around the tonic chord the home chord with the root scale degree of the key , building up to an interesting cadence that ends back on the tonic or dominant chord. A neat trick is to base it on the "turnaround," which I'll talk about further down. This saves you even more effort while adding complexity to your song. It's a good move to introduce the main melody of the vocals as a riff played by one of the instruments to kind of seed the idea into the listener's mind.

That way the verse will already be familiar upon first hearing. There's more advanced tricks using the dominant seventh to trick the listener but we'll save that for a future article. Many people feel that the verses of a song are only there to give the brain a break before hammering it again with the chorus. It's how you ensnare most non-committed listeners. But huge opportunities are lost by this "make the chorus rock and forget about the verses" methodology. It's no surprise pop music is shoveled and marketed towards kids and teenagers. These are the same people who want to eat their dessert first and spoil the meal. You don't have to ask a listener to delay their gratification though.

You should be entertaining and developing the story throughout the verses. The best songwriters have managed to write verses that completely change the meaning of the chorus after each separate verse. Yes, verses can literally be mind blowing. It's your chance to explore the depth of emotion and intellect of your listener. It is the meat and potatoes that sustains the listener and readies their pallet for another chorus. A great approach is to think of a verse as having two segments of eight bars each with their own stanza of lyrics.

Taking advantage of this allows your to keep things feeling creative and different while unified. You can have varying melodies, chord progressions, and harmonizations that drive the listener higher and higher until you wow them with the chorus. Don't feel like you have to stick to the typical ABAB rhyme scheme either. You can think of the verse as a way to prolong the tonic. Prolongation is a way to dance around the tonic note without actually playing it, but still reinforcing it as the stable home of the song.

This is getting a bit advanced, but once you understand this you can exploit it to great effect. But not just yet It's time to tease them with the pre-chorus which accomplishes a few goals. Sometimes this is called the turnaround, build, channel, or transitional bridge, and the point is always to note the end of one section while leading to the next. This build or turnaround indicates that a transition is coming. With the chorus on the horizon, it gives a chance to snag the listener's attention as if to say "hey, perk up, it's time!

You can also break patterns, bring in novel harmonies, and use interesting drum breaks. Basically, whatever you've got to do bring full attention back to the song. Because the Hook brings you back I ain't tellin' you no lie The Hook brings you back On that you can rely.

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