1. The 8 Bar Blues Introduction
- 1. 18 Bar Blues For Beginners08:13
2. Harmony & Voicings
- 2. 18 Bar Blues Chord Substitutions09:16
- 2. 28 Bar Blues Reharmonisations07:51
3. The Role Of The Left Hand
- 3. 1Beefing Up The Bottom End08:59
- 3. 2Funky 8 Bar Blues: The Left Hand07:21
4. Putting Everything Together
- 4. 18 Bar Blues: Maximum Funk08:52
Learn to play the 8 bar blues with Grammy winner and veteran bluesman Jon Cleary. We explore the 8 bar blues form, reharmonisations, bass lines, and embellishments.
8 Bar Blues For Beginners
If you are new to the 8 bar blues, spend some time to fully absorb the basic chord changes and form presented in this lesson. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the basics before we move onto the chord substitutions and reharmonisations presented in the next lessons.
Substituting Chords In The 8 Bar Blues
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.
Altering The Harmony
Chord alterations are used to dress up the the voicings so that we create a melody that moves through the chords. Chord alterations can be used to great effect over dominant chords to add additional colour and tension. To take it one step further we explore arpeggiating the chords and adding passing notes which move between chords.
Beefing Up The Bottom End
The left hand’s role is primarily stating the root of the chord and often this simple choice is the best. It works perfectly well and leaves the listener in no doubt about what’s going on. However, you don’t have to be restricted by this and it’s important to experiment with other options.
Left & Right Hand Interplay
For any music that is leaning towards a funk-based style, the gaps and the space that we leave are very important. Rhythmic considerations are very important for students exploring the New Orleans piano style where the left hand and right hand have to work together.
Straight vs. Syncopated
Throughout the course, Jon demonstrates the different approaches to playing the 8 bar blues. One approach is to play with a straight triplet vibe similar to the styles of Fats Domino and Smiley Lewis. The other end of the syncopation level is the New Orleans 8 Bar Blues such as "Tipitina".