Improvisation With the 12-Bar Blues, Part 3

I wrote two earlier posts on the subject of trying improvisation using the 12-bar blues. Here are some additional exercises for students, building on the earlier ones.

 

1) The left hand continues to play open chords, following the 12-bar blues formula. The right hand plays individual melody notes of both the major and minor chord triad. In the CM chord for example, this could look like this:

E flat, E, G; E flat, E, C, etc.

 

2) The right hand continues as in #1, but the left hand alternates between fifths and sixths. For example: C and G, C and A, C and G, C and A.

 

3) Both the right and left hands continue as in #1 and #2, but the right hand also plays some of the melody notes together, alternating between melody line and block chord.

 

These are just a few suggestions for beginning improvisation, using the 12-bar blues, and the possibilities are almost endless. Contact us at Listening House if you’d like to learn more!

 Many of Ray Charles' top hits follow a 12 bar blues chord pattern. 

Many of Ray Charles' top hits follow a 12 bar blues chord pattern.