Blues School: The Minor Blues Scale, Theory & Ear Training

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

C Minor Blues Scale: Notation & Keyboard Layout…

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

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Play and sing the Minor Blues Scale with special attention to the three blue notes: Me, Fi, and Te. Notice the bluesy quality these special notes bring to the musical table. “Bluesy” cannot be described with mere words, but you sure know it when you hear it!

Special Note about Names: Don’t fret about whether F# should be called Gb instead. These are just names that you will eventually discard like training wheels. Likewise, don’t worry about whether F#/Gb should be called Fi or Fa sharp or Se or So flat.  They are all just arbitrary names… 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 F# (Fi). Don’t try to “memorize” this fact, but do realize how much certain scale types have in common and how learning one kind of scale helps you to learn others.


Ear Training

Reading and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is a very effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in a musical scale. Reminder: It is absolutely essential that you sing these out loud… and to play and sing slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each solfege syllable to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Minor Blues Scale: Linear

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Ascending…

Descending…

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C Minor Blues Scale: Do-X-Do

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Descending…

Descending…

Tip: Many other patterns are possible as well, but at this point your time is better spent going right to the kinds of music that YOU want to play for your study-practice material.


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