Blues School: Minor Blues Scale, Theory & Ear Training


The Minor Blues Scale is the blues scale that most people are familiar with, so much so that it often just called the Blues Scale…

C Minor Blues Scale Theory…

“Bluesy” cannot be described with mere words, but you sure know it when you hear it!

Notice that the Minor Blues Scale has only six notes–yet another existence proof that scales are not made up of “half steps” and “whole steps”.

Notice the “bluesy” feeling created by the three blue notes: Me, Fi/Se, and Te.

  1. The scale structure of the Minor Blues Scale is always 1-b3-4-#4-5-b7-1 going up and 1-b7-5-b5-4-b3-1 going down, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Minor Blues Scale are always Do-Me-Fa-Fi-So-Te-Do going up and Do-Te-So-Se-Fa-Me-Do going down, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Special Note about the Names

Don’t fuss over whether F#/Fi/Fa sharp should be called Gb/Se/So flat or vice versa. These are just names that you will eventually discard like training wheels. It’s the physical key and the sound that matter!

Comparative Scale Study

Notice that the Minor Blues Scale uses all five notes from the Minor Pentatonic Scale, but adds an extra blue note (Fi/Se). Don’t try to “memorize” this fact. Just realize how much these scale types have in common and how learning one kind of scale helps you to learn others.

Solfege Ear Training

Reading, playing, and singing the Solfege Syllables out loud is an extremely effective way to tune up your ears and to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in the scale with respect to the key center Do. Make sure to do this slowly enough for the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege Syllable to make a meaningful impression on your mind’s ear.

C Minor Blues Scale: Linear, Ascending…


C Minor Blues Scale: Linear, Descending…


C Minor Blues Scale: Do-X-Do, Ascending…


C Minor Blues Scale: Do-X-Do, Descending…


Note: While it’s possible to continue by singing a bunch of other musical patterns, the 80-20 Principle teaches us that a more efficient approach is to get your ear training material directly from the music that YOU want to play!

learn more… Blues School: Minor Pentatonic Scale: Theory & Ear Training

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