Enhancing The Minor Blues Form
Welcome to lesson 2 of the minor blues course. In part 1 we introduced the basic minor blues form, how it differs from the standard 12 bar form, and how to play through the chords root position as well as with some inversions.
In this lesson, we explore how we can enhance the form with variations of the original chords, inversions, passing chords, substitutions and a minor turnaround to take us back to the top.
Diminished Passing Chords
We start by introducing a passing chord preceding F-7. This is a useful trick that you can use to approach any minor 7th chord, simply play a diminished 7th chord that’s a half step below the minor chord you’re approaching. This can be used to add both rhythmic and harmonic variety to the first chord transition in the form.
Rootless Dominant Voicings
For the final line of the progression, we can use common rootless voicing shapes to outline extensions and alterations over the descending dominant chords.
The Ab7 and the G7 are only a half step apart which means there are some similarities in the voicings we can choose. We will explore both altered and unaltered rootless chord voicings.
The Minor Blues Turnaround
It’s common to add a II_V turnaround in the final bar of the form. The purpose of the turnaround is to take you back to the top of the progression. The Minor Blues starts with a minor I chord, and so a minor II-V is a great choice to lead smoothly and convincingly back to the top of the form.
We look at some common ways to voice D-7b5 to G7alt.
Minor Blues Progression PDF File Type: pdf
Applying inversions allows you to switch chords smoothly and reduce hand movement to a minimum.
Learning and mastering your inversions will give you more control of the register of the piano that you occupy.
When experimenting with rootless voicings, you should play along with the iRealPro app.
- iReal Pro will provide the bass note which allows you to explore the upper extensions and alterations of the chords in the progression.