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Piano Fact

Week 3: Blues Form (Part One)
Ever get the feeling most blues songs sound similar to one another? It’s true. While many factors contribute to the blues sound, it’s important to know that chord progressions for all blues songs are practically identical.

A typical blues verse consists of 12 measures (or bars). In the key of C the chords for the 12 measures of a blues song would be C C C C F F C C G7 F C C . Memorize this one chord pattern, and you have the structure of virtually all blues tunes! There are hundreds of thousands of these tunes. Perhaps millions.

This is why the blues is such a popular style for musicians to improvise or jam with. It’s a universally known and accepted common ground.

However, it’s not always that straightforward. For example, there are countless little variations on the 12 bar theme. Often a chord is changed here or there to create a little diversity from song to song.

And, of course, the chords are different when you play in different keys.

But the 12 bar blues form, as noted above, would be good for every piano player to memorize.

For more information on the blues styles see Deluxe Blues/Boogie-Woogie.

For more information on transposing see How to Play Piano by Ear.

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