Blues School: Minor Blues 12-Bar Form & Harmony, First Lesson


Welcome to the first and most important lesson in Minor Blues 12-Bar Form & Harmony

Like the Major Blues 12-Bar pattern, the Minor Blues 12-bar pattern consists of three distinct 4-bar phrases…


Phrase #1 (bars 1-4) establishes both the home key and minor-ness of the piece with the Cm(7) chord…


Phrase #2 (bars 5-9) creates harmonic tension with the Fm7 chord (iv7) that is released with a return back to the tonic Cm7 chord (i7)…


Phrase #3 (bars 9-12) creates harmonic tension with the Gm7 chord (v7) that is released with a return back to the tonic Cm7 chord (i7).


Listen to all three phrases combined into a 12-bar chorus…


The deep appreciation of this three-phase structure is absolutely essential to playing minor 12-bar blues in authentic style. Think of 12-bar blues form as a three-line poem and you are off to a great start!

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