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Blues 103-Improvisation

In the last two columns, we looked at the steps involved in composing and varying a basic Blues melody. The next step is to stretch the form even further by adding improvisation. Blues scales You know how it feels good to complain a little now and then? It gets your concerns off your chest and clears the air. Sometimes, yesterday's problems can eve...
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Blues 102—Variations

Having addressed in the last column how to help students compose simple Blues tunes, let's now consider how to help them add on to their creations. 1. Embellish the melody Whether notated or improvised, ask your students to play their compositions a couple of times to be sure the melody is "set." If a melody is too elaborate, encourage paring it do...
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Blues 101: Basics

blues
Blues music evolved from its eighteenth-century roots in the work songs and lamentations of enslaved African-Americans to become one of the most identifiable streams in American music. If you grew up in the United States when I did, you heard it on the radio (Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B King, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles), in movies (The Blues Brothers), and...
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You can't lose with the blues

The blues has been an important part of American music for more than 100 years. In fact, no one truly knows exactly how or when this indigenous art form originated. However, by 1912 it was well enough established that W. C. Handy successfully began publishing blues compositions. Vocalists, including Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, made blues recordings...
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