The Blue Note

Altered chord on C with flat 5th, 7th, and 9th...
Altered chord on C with flat 5th, 7th, and 9th. About this sound Play ( help · info ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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 In jazz and blues, a blue note (also "worried" note) is a note sung or played at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes. Typically the alteration is a semitone or less, but this varies among performers and genres. More information at Blue note

Blues gets it’s musical color from the use of what are called “Blue Notes”. Blues gets it’s particular feel by switching back and forth between Major and Minor notes. The third is the middle note in the I chord. By dropping this note 1/2 step, the I chord becomes minor. A minor chord has a sad sound or mysterious tone. Blues is not really mysterious music so we switch back and forth between happy (Major) and sad (minor). This is the color of the music. This is why we call it blues.


1. Blue Notes

Blue notes are typically the lowered 3rd, 7th and sometimes 5th degree of a chord. The jazz sound begins by using blue notes. I've marked them in red.

C7 = E to Bb to E...  then for F7 = Eb to A to Eb and G7 = F, B, F

2. The Jazz Chord

Create a jazz chord sound by using blue notes. Play each chord several times.

C7 = C/BbE

F = F/AEb

G7 = G/BF

C7 = C/BbE

3. The Jazz Feel

Rhythms in jazz are most important - they are what make jazz swing.
Practice the following examples several times and experiment with a "loose" or "jazz" feel:

4/4 time signature

C/
/BbE
C/BbE
C/BbE

C/BbE rest C/BbE rest

F/
/AEB
F/AEb
F/AEb

F/AEb rest F/AEb rest

G/
G/BF
G/BF
G/BF

G/BF rest G/BF rest

C/
C/BbE
C/BbE
C/BbE

C/BbE rest C/BbE


4. Playing in the Jazz Style

C7

C/
/BbE
C/BbE
C/BbE, D#, E, C
G/D

F7

F/
/AEb
C/AEb
F/AEb,  Gb, G, F, E, C

C7

C/
/BbE
C/BbE
C/BbE, D
A/C

G7

G/BF
G/BF
A/C
Bb/C#
B/D

C7

C/
/BbE
C/BbG
C/BbG, D#, E, G, E

F7

F/
/AEb
C/AEb
C/AEb
Ab/C
EbDC/

C7

C/BbE
C/BbE
B/Eb
Bb/D
A/C

G7

G/BF
G/BF
Ab/Eb, C
G/D

C

C/C
C/DF#A

You may be interested in gospelguitar101 and advanced guitar301

Happy Blue Monday!






Jazz washes away the dust of every day life." -- Art Blakey
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