Blues School: Mixolydian Scale-Chords, Theory & Ear Training

A useful harmonic-melodic conception of the basic major Blues chords (I7-IV7-V7) is as three sets of matched “scale-chords” or “chord-scales”…

Let’s explore this concept in the key of C…

The C7 chord (I7 in the key of C) is paired with the C Mixolydian scale

piano-ology-blues-school-mixolydian-scale-chord-c7


The F7 chord (IV7 in the key of C) is paired with the F Mixolydian scale

piano-ology-blues-school-mixolydian-scale-chord-f7


The G7 chord (V7 in the key of C) is paired with the G Mixolydian scale

piano-ology-blues-school-mixolydian-scale-chord-g7


Now let’s play each pairing over a typical twelve bar blues form, paying attention to the unique sound-feeling that each pairing creates, individually as well as with the harmonic context of the entire form…

piano-ology-mixolydian-scale-chords-putting-it-all-together


Time and time again, you are going to rediscover that scales and chords are intimately inter-related. Knowing your chords helps you know your scales and vice versa! Understanding such scale-chord relationships… theoretically, by sound-feeling, and visio-spatial layout on the keyboard… lays a solid foundation for fluent improvisation… and pays huge dividends when sight reading, transposing, and playing by ear!

You still have HOMEWORK to do: Using your knowledge of scales and chord structure (and your ears of course), play these scale-chord pairings in all twelve keys. In doing so, you are going to build an enormous chord vocabulary that integrates the aural, visio-spatial, kinesthetic and lays a solid foundation for fluent improvisation.


If you learned something here today, please consider donating to support truly democratic education. And if a few dollars is beyond your means, please take a moment to comment on and “LIKE” the lessons that speak to you. Thanks and peace.

 

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About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
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