8 Bar Blues Substitutions
In this lesson Jon expands on the basics of the 8 bar blues and shows a range of chord substitutions for the first 4 bars of the form.
The 8 bar blues is a very flexible harmonic form and there are a lot of options for chord substitutions, from simple to complex. In its most basic form, the 8 bar blues uses 1, 4 and 5 chords.
Adding Additional V7 and ii-7 Chords
The first place in the form that we can start substituting chords is in the second bar. A basic substitution is to take the F chord and change it to F7 to give us a stronger resolution to Bb.
Then, noticing that F7 is very similar to Cm7, we can take it a step further and make the second bar Cm7 – F7. Finally we can add in a chromatic resolution to Bb, either from a half step above or a half step below.
This gives us either Cm7 – A7 – Bb or Cm7 – B7 – Bb. Find the notation files below for these common chord substitutions.
Adding Dissonance & Inner Voices
Next we take a step back and examine the first bar. Jon shows us how he incorporates dissonance into the F7 chord by using both the 3rd and flat 3rd while using the sustain pedal. He then shows us how the voicing of the F major chord can move chromatically down to Cm7 in the second bar.
The 4 Minor Chord Substitution
Finally, we look at the fourth bar of the 8 bar blues. Here Jon uses a 4 minor, in this case Bbm, to add some colour and lead us back to F major in the fifth bar. This can then be further expanded to Bbm7 – Eb7.
Reharmonising The 8 Bar Form File Type: pdf
8 Bar Blues Demonstration File Type: pdf
Reharm Voicings Bars 1 to 4 File Type: pdf