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…

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”.

Theory

Here, for example, are the notes in the C Minor Blues Scale identified by letter name, scale degree (numbers), and Solfege syllable…

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  1. The scale structure of the Minor Blues Scale is always 1-b3-4-#4-5-6-b7-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Minor Blues Scale are always Do-Me-Fi-So-Le-Do, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

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 fuss over whether F# should be called Gb or if Fi should be Fa sharp or Se or So flat These are all just arbitrary names that you will eventually discard like training wheels. At the end of the day, the sound and physical mapping on your instrument are all that really 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. 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.

Solfege 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, Ascending…

C Minor Blues Scale: Linear, Descending…


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

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Descending…

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learn more… Major Blues Scale: Theory & Ear Training