Minor Key Blues – How Is It Different Than Major Key Blues?
Good morning, this is Duane. The last few videos we’ve been talking about the blues, the 12-bar blues that follows that format of 12 measures progressing to the 1 chord, the 4 chord and the 5 chord. We talked about the blues scale, that sort of thing and how we would voice it and so on.
Can you play the blues in a minor key? It’s a question a lot of people ask and yes, the answer is yes you can but becomes a different animal because the blues in essence is the juxtaposition between a flat third and a major third, a major third and a minor third.
(singing example) “I woke up this morning.”
That sort of thing. That’s what the blues sound like.
When you change it to a minor, you’re already there on that minor key. You already have a somber sadder sound, okay? It’s not halfway between happy and sad. It’s, I shouldn’t say sad but serious or somber or whatever it is, whatever feeling you get from the minor.
When you play a minor blues, you have an entirely different feel but that doesn’t you can’t make a beautiful composition made out of the blues pattern. Once again, the blues pattern is four bars of the 1 chord, two bars of the 4 chord, two bars of the 1 chord and then two bars of the 5 chord or one of the 5, one of the 4 and then a final two bars to the 1 chord. Let me just play it through the blues quickly to illustrate that.
(keyboard demonstration) 1, 2, 3, 4. Here we are on the 4. Here’s a 5 chord. Now to the 4 chord. 1 chord.
And back through the blues again. That’s two bar blues and that’s major of course.
Minor would retain the same format. Four bars of the 1 chord, two bars of the 4 chord, two bars of the 1 chord, one bar of the 5 chord and one bar of the 4 chord and then back to the 1 chord. In any minor key, the 1’s minor, the 4 is minor but the 5 is major and I want to explain the reason for that. It has to do with the form of the minor scale, harmonic minor scale, okay?
In any case, that would be the format. Like I say, it’s a different animal because you lack the juxtaposition of those two notes so you have that. You can create an entirely different, let me play a little bit. I’m going to put sevenths and so on and voice it a little bit.
(keyboard demonstration) That’s a 4 chord back to a 1 chord, 5 chord, back to the 1 chord and then through again, okay?
When you play the 12-bar blues in minor, again you have 1 that’s minor, 4 that’s minor, and 5 that’s major. You can voice the chords a little differently. There’s a lot of opportunities to use suspensions, for example. You can use a suspension like that and resolve it. You can use a lot of sevenths. You can minor sixth if you want. You can use a ninth, I like that chord a lot, it’s a ninth chord, a 7, 9 chord, like that.
(keyboard demonstration) And so on, okay? It can sound a little bit like the major blues but not a lot.
The answer to that question is yes, you can play the blues in minor but it’s a different animal. Hope that helps and thanks for being with me. If you enjoy this free piano tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips because they’re free. They’re pretty much daily which means you can learn a lot about a lot of stuff if you just listen to them everyday and it only takes three to five minutes something like that.
Thanks for being with me and we’ll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye for now. Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xeHcIAdSrk