All About Blue Notes preview


The blues is a vital part modern song without which, little of today’s popular music would be the same. It is a genre, a form, a groove, a style of call-and-response lyrics, and much more. The blues emerged from Black American culture in the 19th century, growing from chants, work songs, hollers, spirituals, and rhymed narrative ballads. Blues as a musical expression also became the seed for many other genres, including jazz, rock, R&B (which stands for rhythm and blues), soul, and funk, to name a few.

One aspect of the blues is the use of notes outside of the traditional major and minor scales called blue notes. Blue notes, sometimes called “worried notes,” are special notes that bend, push, and slide between notes of a scale to heighten the feeling of a song. They let musicians push a range of emotionality through their sounds. They can add softness or power, melancholy or joy, depending on a player or singer’s preference and ability. They can be used simply to augment or ground a melody or as building blocks of all sorts of flavorful harmonies. Overall, they are a wonderfully versatile expansion of the notes of our typical music scales and can energize our music in unique ways...

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