Learn the 12 bar blues progression on piano.


4 Steps to Learning How to Play Any Song on the Piano

1. Determining the melody - Melodies determine what chords will be played. If you can use your ear to figure out what notes are being played in the melody, you are 1/4 on your way to learning a song! More resources on learning how to determine melodies

2.Harmonizing the melody - Once you have figured out the melody (using some of my techniques on the resource page), it is time to harmonize it. This is simply choosing various chords to accompany the melody. There are several techniques and tricks to doing this. More resources on learning how to harmonize melodies

3. Altering Chords - This is the best part! Now that you have strategically figured out the melody to a song and have harmonized it, altering your chords to produce certain sounds is the next step. If you were playing gospel music, you would alter your chords differently than if you were playing classical or country music. More resources on altering chords

4. Listening - After you have determined the melody, harmonized the melody, and altered some of your chords, there are various techniques you can use to make sure that your song sounds right. More resources on listening techniques

I personally recommend "The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course and through my relationship with Jermaine (the author of this course), I've been able to get him to throw in a few bonus items (3 additional piano software programs). He has taught literally thousands of musicians how to play the piano by ear. If you understood just half of what he discussed above, you'll definitely benefit from his 300-pg course. Click here to learn the secrets to playing absolutely any song on the piano in virtually minutes! I highly recommend it.

The All-New Song Tutor: Internet-Powered Song Learning Software

Learning the 12 bar blues progression is basic to understanding the roots of American popular music.

When you see a group of musicians getting together to play everyone seems to know what to do almost magically.

This is because at one time or another they learned the 12 bar blues progression.

While there are lots of variations of this timeless progression the most common is a three chord 12 measure version explained in this lesson.

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Basic Structure

The term "12 bars" does not refer to the numbers of taverns you need to visit before you get the "blues".

It is actually the amount of measures that are played before the chord progression is repeated.

So for the sake or our discussion a "bar" and a "measure" are the same musical term. Since most blues songs are in 4/4 time each bar or measure will receive 4 "counts" or "beats" or foot taps for that matter.

The term "chord progression" refers to the way the chords move or "progress" from one to another.

The Chords...

The basic 12 bar blues progression can be played in any key and will use the I, IV, and V chords from that key.

In the key of C the chords would be C major F major and G major. For a review of the roman numerals system see the lesson on diatonic chords.

What makes the chords "bluesy" is the use of 7th chords rather than the basic triads. In a 7th chords the flatted 7th note of the scale is added to the chord.

So we now have C7, F7 and G7. See the lesson on chord formulas.

The chords and measures are played in this repeating pattern.

In the example below you will see that the second measure can be the IV7 chord as a substitute. This is sometimes called a "quick four" as the IV chord is only played one quick measure in the beginning.

The diagram below is another way of notating the 12 bar blues piano progression using the roman numeral method of notation. Remember the formula stays the same for any key! Just plug in the I, IV, and V chords from that key.

Notice the "spiced up" turn around in the last two "measures" or "bars".

If you would like to see and hear an example of the 12 bar blues progression, be sure to check out the short video clip below and also register for the lessons alerts at the top right of the page! Contact me!

So your finally jammin' with the boys in the band!

You are on your 4th chorus of the 12 bar blues progression when someone points at you and says take a solo.... To find out what to do click on the link below to begin the lesson on the blues scale.

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If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas for future lessons feel free to Contact Me.

click here for the lesson on the blues scale.
from Blues Progression to - Blues Piano
from Blues Progressions to - Free Piano Lessons HOME

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