BY Aaron Blumenfeld

O 1995 Ekay Music, Inc. 223 Katonah Ave., Katonah, NY 10536

Richmond.THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED T O MY WIFE BARBARA A cassette tape of the twelve blues piano improvisations in this book is available. 2887 Tulare Avenue.95 to: Aaron Blumenfeld. CA 94804 . Send $5.


171 ................. vi About The Author ......15 Music .......................................... SHAKINn LOOSE VII .....81 Music ..................................................viii I............ LOUIS BLUES STOMP Lesson ..... FOUR O'CLOCK B L W S Lesson ... 18 ........119 X.................. BACKWATER B L W S Lesson ...................................... SEE SEE RIDER Lesson ...... 63 Lesson .....................103 IX ............. 98 Music .................... TROWLED I N MIND BOOQIE VI .... 114 Music ..... 130 XI ..........86 VIII ................................................................................................... CALIFORNIA Lesson ................................... 147 XI1 .............59 Music .............24 Music .....................48 Lesson ...................... 139 Music ... 6 Lesson ...... 159 Music ....................................................................... 41 Music .................. .......................................2 Music ............. 29 IV........ SQUARE MNCE B L W S I11 .............163 Conclusion ............TABLE OF a-S Introduction ................................... LOUIS BLUES 11 .....Lesson.......................... ST .................................................... 127 Music .......... ST .............................................................72 Music .................... TRomLgD I N MIND BLUES Lesson ............. BACKWATER BOOGIE Lesson .....170 Index ................................76 V......................R I F F BOOaIE Lesson ..............................................................

Berkeley Extension.played in a new key at a different tempo. tempos and keys from song to song. a change of bass pattern equals a change in style. The secret of blues and jazz piano improvisation is that a performer acquires a body of right hand techniques which are available to be employed for each and every piece performed.INTRODUCTION This collection of blues piano improvisations came about gradually during a thirteen year period of teaching the art of piano improvisation at the University of California. in various keys over many kinds of bass patterns. lacking a text to provide new impetus from chorus to chorus. medium and slow tempos. Except for SQUARE DANCE BLUES and CALIFORNIA BREAKDOWN (which were taped for a recording produced in 1980) these improvisations were taped during these lessons and after a period of years enough suitable examples had accumulated to create this pedagogical work. In instrumental music such as solo blues piano."Prototypical Blues Songs. either at private lessons or in the classroomr improvisations such as these were performed for the purpose of demonstrating how to put together a complete blues piano solo." This is appropriate for a vocal art such as the blues wherein the vocalist repeats a basic chantlike melody many times. The outline used as the basis of most of these improvisations follows a specific musical form known as "theme and variations. This impression of freshness is especially enhanced when each piece is. it is fascinating to observe how completely fresh a particular tune will sound when the left hand introduces new bass patterns from piece to piece while the right hand retains the same music. They were played in as clear and uncomplicated a manner as possible. Every blues piano technique that had been studied in class was represented in this outline and was demonstrated in a basic. Since the rule is. almost elementary way so that it would be immediately recognizable and easily understood in this new context. To this end the blues pianist generally develops a collection of techniques which are featured one by one during each song. it is up to the pianist to create something captivating enough to maintain interest. 220-223 . because the right hand techniques remain constant and since a great number of blues songs have their origins in just a handful of prototypical blues songs (1) it could almost be said that the blues artist knows only one blues piece (so to speak) which is playe'd at fast. using a new set of words for each repetition. following a predetermined. Occasionally. To summarize. (1) Book I:. with the left hand providing changes in bass patterns." P. well prepared outline.

BOOGIE AND BARRELHOUSE PIANO WORKSHOP in 1992 by Ekay Publishers (3) ) . THE ART OF BLUES AND BARRELHOUSE PIANO IMPROVISATION ( first published in 1980 and republished as THE BLUES. FORM OUTLINE FOR SOLO BLUES PIANO IMPROVISATION I. CADENCE & "TAG" Since the "theme and variations" form in the blues consists of repeating a blues song over and over following a particular harmonic progression as outlined by a "harmony chart. Variation 7. p. Variation 6. P. i. (1) Book I.e. Variation 111. 204-208 ( 3 ) Available from Songbooks Unlimited. THEME 1. followed by a return to the theme on the third line. In most of these pieces the featured variation technique takes place during the first two lines of each turn around the chart. Box 1950. theme 5.The general outline used as the basis of most of the improvisations in this collection is presented here. Variation 4. Variation 3. the previous book in this series. Most of the "introductions" (2) follow a commonly used formula consisting of a simple statement of the final four measures of the theme leading directly to the beginning of the song." (1) an appropriate harmony chart is presented before each piece. usually varying somewhat from this general outline accompanies' each piece. while a more specific outline. Harmony Chart. BREAK. Ridgely MD 21681 . Variation 11.O. p. THEME: FINAL #1: Tremolos #2: Glissandos #3: Melodic Variation / Chords #4: Repeated ~ o t e s resumed on line 2 of harmony chart #5: Grace Notes #6: Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky ~echnique) #7: Rocking Motion STATEMENT. 24-25 (2) Book I: Introductions. Variation 2. Note: In the footnotes throughout this book repeated reference is made to "Book I".

Blumenfeld is a composer who received his M. Mr. His research into blues music grew out of his desire to use jazz-influenced material authoritatively in his original music. The author is also the originator of a new and unique perspective on twelve tone harmony. he has succeeded in creating a style of avant garde piano improvisation of unique. composed on a grant from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. AVANT GARDE PIANO IMPROVISATION: A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON TWELVE TONE HARMONY which he uses as a classroom manual at U. New Brunswick. boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano workshop as part of a very popular. approach to modern jazz improvisation is presented in his book.B. Berkeley since 1980. His undergraduate work includes two and one-half years at the N. barrelhouse and ragtime piano music. His graduate work at Rutgers included intensive research into blues. almost all containing extensive passages and/or complete movements of blues and barrelhouse music. completed in 1980 and performed with great success in the California bay area the same year. resulting in his first book. Among those concertos already performed is his monumental BARRELHOUSE PIANO CONCERTO (Piano Con'certo #1). THE ART OF BLUES & BARRELHOUSE PIANO IMPROVISATION ( renamed THE BLUES.ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mr. in music theory and composition.S. degree from Rutgers University.) Mr. and abroad at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.C.U. He has taught and given lecture-concerts on the subject of blues piano extensively in the U. colorful and This perspective. . His significant contribution to the school was acknowledged in a concert of his compositions presented at the U.B. Blumenfeld is presently conducting a blues. N. constituting a new highly intrig~ing~qualities. In combining the techniques of blues piano music with the most original of twelve tone musical systems.Y. JAZZ & MODERN PIANO IMPROVISATION) which he has been teaching at the Extension Division of the University of California. Israel. BOOGIE-WOOGIE & BARRELHOUSE PIANO WORKBOOK when republished by Ekay Publishers in 1992. Blumenfeld has composed eight piano concertos.J. School of Music Education and two years at the Juilliard School of Music. Extension. accredited course called FREE IMPROVISATION AT THE PIANO (recently renamed BLUES.A. ~xtension's Centennial Celebration in 1991.C.


TRIPLET . The most notable aspect of this rendition of ST. (1) Book I: Duple Rhythm. BREAK. it would be worth comparing this duplet rhythm version of ST. Variation #4: Grace Notes 11. P. THEME 1.ST. Theme resumed on line two of chart 5. thus indicating that it is probably closer stylistically to classical ragtime or White folk music rather than New Orleans Marching Band or any other early jazz music. Variation #5: Rocking Motion 111. Variation 82: Tremolos 3. Variation #1: Melodic Variation 2. 198-201 . LOUIS BLUES is that it is in duplet rhythm (1) rather than the more commonly used triplet rhythm of most blues and jazz music. Variation 83: Glissandos 4. THEME (plus Repeated Note Variation) CHART DUPLET VS.RHYTHM Only the first melody of this three themed blues standard appears in this improvisation. To understand the difference between these two rhythmic catagories. LOUIS BLUES FORM OUTLINE I. LOUIS BLUES with the version in triplet rhythm appearing on page 119 of this collection.

in fact. G C I etc. i Add the upbeat eighth note only after establishing the above downbeat pattern securely. EX. blues players rarely play an "official" version of any blues tune. . customary order of presentation. 2. thus reversing the expected. A good way to master this technique is first to omit the upbeat eighth note when practicing. . THE INFORMALITY OF BLUES MELODIES In studying the order of appearance of these variations. re-emphasizing and reshaping every aspect of it at will. G C t I ! etc. t EX. . every player leaves a personal stamp upon any tune played. as follows. altering. Generally. there is considerable difficulty executing this bass pattern since.l. LOUIS BLUES melody than Variation #1 (listed as Melodic Variation in the outline). for example in measure 1 (page 6) the note "C" on the final eighth note of the measure anticipates the "C" chord of the next measure while conflicting with the prevailing "G" chord of its own measure. it is interesting to note that the first statement of the theme is actually more of a "melodic variation" of the original ST. This serves to point out that.THE BROKEN BLOCK BASS PATTERN The bass pattern here consists of a steadily rocking motion based on a broken octave plus a middle note alternating between the fifth and sixth of the given chord. An easier version of this bass is. from measure to measure the small finger of the left hand is required to play the root of the chord of the next measure on the final eighth note of any given measure Thus.

including the glissando in measure 26. G7 (or) I.209-212 (2) Book I: "Turn-Around" Cadences. #IV 070. EX. 1" ' I I I I I * I I d 1 *= etc. Each chord. P. EX. d 7 . * * GI C # O ~ O . but it is almost never exclusive of other variation possibilities. For example. per measure as follows. THE "QUICK TURN-AROUND" FIGURE In contrast to the above turn-around formula. Variation #2 ( page 8 ) features the tremolo. 17 ( actually #ii 070) This is a rhythmically extended version of a particular chord progression that almost invariably appears as part of the most commonly used "turn-around" cadence (2). of quarter note duration in the above turn-around cadence takes a full measure in the above break chord progression of this piece. the "quick turn-around" cadence ( a brief reference to the ubiquitous I-IV7-I blues chord progression ) 1s used throughout this piece as a device that is capable of serving as a "fill in" in almost any blues piece at almost any point in the chart. But other techniques also appear. (1) Book I: Breaks. where tremolos as well as glissandos appear also. as follows. 1. usually spanning the 11th and 12th measures of the chart. the grace notes in measure 32 and of course the ever present stream of melodic variation. AN INTERESTING "BREAK1'CHORD PROGRESSION The "break" (1) occurring in the next variation ( page 11 ) is worth studying for its interesting chord progression.215-217 . P. Another example is Variation #4 ( page 10 featuring grace notes. iijd7.FREE USE OF TECHNIQUES Generally only one technique is featured throughout a particular variation.

Repeated Notes. Instead. while the tremolos. MOOD The mood of this piece is generally nostalgic in the tradition of "train blues. 80-84 . It is as though a sudden explosion of anger is followed by an equally sudden expression of resignation and despair. as 1s customary. with the subtle insertion of glissandos and grace notes ( thus lending sophistication to a series of tremolos that could easily sound stylistically inappropriate otherwise. grace notes and ad lib. the ad lib.and again in measure 36 takes the place of the correct ( of Variation # 2 where a measure in occurs. played at the dynamic level of FF is a good example of a suddeq revitalizing change of register. This can be observed in measure 73 where a measur%. P. with the sharply accented grace notes highlighting the resulting crossrhythms. (1) Book I: Ad lib. repeated note (1). The downward progression of the melodic line after this outburst is very characteristic of blues music. % FINAL THEME VARIED The final statement of the theme .VARYING THE BREAK During the break the left hand abandons the bass register. repeated notes of the right hand recall the far off wailing and bell-clanging sounds of an old fashioned steam engine train. this time combined with a fresh blues ornamentation." the constantly rolling left hand pattern vaguely reminicent of turning wheels. DIVERGENCE FROM CHART IN NUMBER OF MEASURES The occasional addition or omission of measures or parts of measures is quite natural in solo blues improvisation and if not overdone is measure quite acceptable. but doesn't discontinue its rocking motion as one would expect.) POLYRHYTHMIC MELODIC FIGURE Measures 68 and 69 of the "break" variation ( page 11 ) contain an interesting and typical polyrhythmic figure consisting of a constantly repeated pattern of three eighth notes in the right hand against the continuing four eighth note bass pattern. beginning in measure 8 5 consists of yet another melodic variation. CHANGE OF REGISTER: BLUES DYNAMICS The rocking chord technique of Variation # 5 ( page 12 1 . it continues its rocking motion while the right hand plays a series of moving tremolos.










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J * * *

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Variation #1: 2. Variation #2: 3. Ff Ff Ff F BbfBbfFf F 111. Variation 85: 6. Variation #3: 4.SQUARE DANCE BLUES FORM OUTLINE I. Variation #4: 5. Variation #6: condensed ) Melodic Variation Melodic Variation Melodic Variation Repeated Melodic Figure Repeated Melodic Figure Repeated Melodic Figure CHART I. C f C f F f F . THEME 11. THEME REPEATED ( 1. 11.

the trend of creating challenging bass lines became an important stylistic feature of the virtuoso jazz piano style known as "stride piano.a continually shifting major pentatonic scale (2). but not to the exclusion of basses derived from blues and boogie-woogie sources. Historically. mainly because of its adherence to the classic twelve bar blues form with its very limited.SQUARE DANCE BLUES THE BARRELHOUSE STYLE Although it sounds very ragtimey.completely non-ragtime features of this piece are its twelve bar form (aside from the first thirty two measures (3) ) and the prevalence of blue notes.a very early "folk ragtime" or "cakewalk" composition. the only . The bottom line of this bass is usually limited to an alternation between the root and fifth of the prevailing chord. with its unvarying single note swing bass. p. its characteristic ragtime syncopations (2) and its melodic line based on. 130-135 (3) The first 32 measures can also be understood as adhering to the' standard 12 bar blues form as follows. In fact. 57-60 . SQUARE DANCE BLUES can be broadly classified as a barrelhouse piano piece. from whence it derives its description as an "oom-pah" bass. purely duplet rhythm (2). P.. ( The barrelhouse bass style is exemplified by the sixth piece in this collection. (4) Book I: Swing Bass. with the first trip (using two measures in place of one) ending in measure 21 (thus omitting the final 3 measures) and the second trip around the chart taking place in 11 measures ending with measure 32. highly characteristic chord progression. As such it is generally a bit less sophisticated then it appears in this piece where the low ranging single notes form a captivating melodic line of its own. SHAKIN' LOOSE ( page 76 ) ) . P. THE RAGTIME 'OOM-PAH" BASS The left hand line of SQUARE DANCE BLUES uses a simple version of the typical ragtime swing bass (4) with a very consistent alternation between one note of a chord played in the low register of the piano on the first half of each quarter note and the chord itself played in the middle register of the piano on the second half of each quarter note. VARIOUS STYLISTIC INFLUENCES However. while very characteristic of the barrelhouse blues style a r e n o t altogether uncommon to the early ragtime style. with the swing bass of the ragtime style prevailing." (1) Book I: Barrelhouse Piano. Measures 1-32 comprise two trips around the 12 bar blues chart. because SQUARE DANCE BLUES is much closer to White folk music than the usual barrelhouse piece. The occasional appearance of blues derived ornamentations such as glissandos (measures 31 & 76) and grace notes (measures 87 & 891. The barrelhouse style (1) is usually defined as a mixture of ragtime and blues. 143-149 (2) Book I: Pentatonic Scale ( and Duplet Rhythm 1 . it sounds a lot more 1ike.

(1) Book I: Pentatonic Scale. Except for where alternations Variations #1 ( page 19 ) and #5 ( page 21 between the "F" major scale and the "F" blues scale take place.THE SHIFTING PENTATONIC SCALE SQUARE DANCE BLUES provides some examples of the shifting major pentatonic scale (l). It is remarkable how much the major pentatonic scale prevails in this piece: only at the end of measure 77 and from measure 92 to measure 93 are chord tones used as the basis for the melodic line. in measures 33-35 the "A" natural of the "F" chord replaces the "Ab" of the blues scale in order to conform to the prevailing "F" chord."the seventh of the "F" chord. P. As a rule. that of allowing whatever conflicts existing between the blues scale and any of the various chords of the given chart to occur freely (3). Variations #1 and #5 receive the necessary alterations that must take place in the blues scale in order to adjust its melodic line to the prevailing chord (2). 41-42 . P. P. although somewhat disguised. stylistically correct blues sound is achieved by using the key blues scale whenever the IV chord appears "PERMITTED" DISSONANCE in the right hand ( as part of In measure 42. with the exception of measure 54 ( where the blue note "~bllappears are examples of how the shifting pentatonic scale sounds. an authentic. Melodically. BLUES SCALE ADJUSTMENTS As mentioned above. 130-135 (2) Book I: Melodic Adjustment. while in measures 37-39 the melody reverts to the blues scale note of " ~ b " ( the flat seventh of the prevailing "Bb" chord. this entire p'iece easily could be transformed into a good study of the use of the shifting major pentatonic scale simply by omitting the occasional blue notes throughout ( as " ~ b " . 33-35 ( 3 ) Book I: Permitted Dissonance. the use of the note " ~ b " the "F" blues scale ) against the " ~ 4 " ( of the "C" chord in the left hand ) represents another possibility . the seventh of the " ~ b " chord and ‘ " ~ b . ) Variation #31 with the exception of measures 62 & 66 ( where the blue n'ote " A ~ " appears ) and Variation #2.

h - 19. 17.j=101 THEME SQUARE DANCE BLUES 18. ZD. \ 19. .








G I 11. Variation #1: Tremolos #2: Glissandos #3: Melodic Variation #4: Repeated Notes resumed on line two of chart #5: Grace Notes #6: Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky Technique) 7. Variation 6. Variation 4. FINAL TURN-AROUND & "TAG" CHART I. C. BREAK. C. Variation # 7 : Rocking Motion IV. GI C GI G GI G . C. D. C. THEME 1.BACKWATER BOOGIE FORM OUTLINE I. 111. THEME. Variation 111. Variation 3. Variation 2. Theme 5. INTRODUCTION 11.

This and similar chantlike patterns are repeated many times in countless variations as demonstrated in BACKWATER BOOGIE. harmonic ( chordal ) elements derived from European music. as the tremolos in measures 35-36 and repeated notes in measures 36-37. beginning with the presentation of the theme (measures 5-16) and continuins throughout the piece wherever the basic melody appears. the melodic variation ( page 33 fundamental chant into the space of three quarter notes. BLUES SCALE GLISSANDOS The glissando patterns utilized in the first three measures of Variation #2 ( page 32 ) are intentionally limited to blues scale tones for the purpose of encouraging students to experiment with as many blues scale patterns as possible before moving on to other combinations MIXING TECHNIQUES While featuring the one particular technique of glissandos. as in the folowing example. but this improvisation was meant to demonstrate the fundamental blues scale sound of the blues as it actually existee before its admixture with western." It consists of the constant repetition of a four note melodic pattern. variation #2 also demonstrates that all the other techniques are always available and can always be included frequently enough to be interesting and colorful. It is doubtful whether another such example of a blues piano improvisation consisting exclusively of blues scale materials can be found in the actual blues tradition. A POLYRHYTHMIC REPEATED MELODIC FIGURE compresses the above Variation #3.BACKWATER BOOGIE THE BLUES SCALE The most important aspect of BACKWATER BOOGIE is that it remains entirely in the blues scale throughout. thereby creating an interesting polyrhythmic melodic figure in the right hand over the established bass pattern in the left. but not so much as to cause all variations to sound alike. . THE BASIC BLUES "CHANT" BACKWATER BLUES is probably the most prototypical blues melody in existence and it clearly shows how the basic blues melody falls into the catagory of a "chant" rather than a "melody.

BLUES SCALE STYLE "BREAK" (2) Variation #5 ( page 35 ) is an example of a break as it might be formulated in an exclusively blues scale piece. a non blues scale tone.Breaks.REPEATED NOTES This repeated note (1) variation ( page 34 ) is typical of the way it is usually executed in the blues scale. by this time. the expected resumption of the theme on line two of the chart is somewhat obscured by the long tremolo beginning in measure 67. replacing the usual 7th chord broken chord run of the typical non blues scale break. I7 (in a downward broken chord run) ~ 7 ~ . upward progressing notes in the blues scale before arriving at a " p l a t e a ~ ~ ~ here in this piece a repeated note combination consisting of two notes of the blues scale takes place. ~ 0 7 0 . P." rhythm. consisting of three tones of the blues scale in combination with one non blues scale tone includes the powerful."E". I. RESUMPTION OF. in turn. the GO70 chord. so strongly calls for resolution into the ~7 chordthat. per measure. (measure 63) which avoids the major third of the "G" chord ("B"). ( For more color the seventh ("I?")of the "G" chord could have been included in the first measure of the break without stepping out of the bounderies of theblues scale. including grace notes. In measure 64. Since a break is a musical artifice borrowed from non blues sources it must be suitably altered from the form in which it appears in later blues piano styles. In measure 66.7 . a conflict which can be resolved by delaying the introduction of non blues scale tonesfas is done in the first measure of the break. the subsequent downward run in the blues scale fulfills the expected return to the prevailing mode. P. The problem of using this break in an exclusively blues scale piece is the sudden appearance of non blues scale chords in this non chordal milieu. (1) Book I: Repeated Notes. in the key of "G". As suggeated. the flat five ( or sharp four ) tone ( "c#" 1. "funky blue note". seeming perfectly natural as it appears in measure 65. with a few introductory. creating a dissonant combination that camouflages the introduction of the new tone . This diminished seventh chord. G. The usual formula for a break is a series of repeated chords in triplet rhythm upon the following chord progression. the "B" of the G7 chord is readily accepted. a glissando and a tremolo.68-72 (2) Book I:. 1070 (actually #ii 070). other ornamentation tecniques appear also.209-212 . I?.THEME Following the break. or. In this case the repeated note ornamentation is played in "regular" ( triplet ) rhythm rather than the equally utilized "ad lib.

while featuring a series of accented syncopated grace notes also demonstrates once again the effectiveness of a change of spacing (1) as a means of variation.CHANGE OF SPACING AS A "VARIATION'# Variation # 5 ( page 36 ) .94-96 the activity is reversed. with the thumb side now playing the repeated note while the pinky side plays the melody.PATTERN VARIATION In addition. 158-161 ( 2 ) Book I: Thumb-Pinky Technique. measures 87 through the beginning of measure 94 provide an excellent example of the "thumb-pinky" technique (2) wherein a constantly repeated note is played by the pinky of the right hand while blues scale patterns are played by the fingers on the thumb side of the same hand.of tones in the blues scale are always acceptable regardless of the prevailing chord of the chart. middle register for the following variation (#6). P. the continuance of a constant combination of tones in the right hand throughout the alternation between two chords in the left works very well in Variation #7 ( page 38 ) . for the first time in this piece the ostinato bass pattern is abandoned by the left hand in favor of a constantly rising melodic line. P. This becomes especially evident with the return in the right hand to the normal. a return accepted as a welcome release from the extreme tension of the previous music in very high register. THE "THUMB-PINKY" TECHNIQUE In Variation #6 ( page 37 ) . THE BLUES SCALE Because of the non-chordal nature of the blues scale and because all combinations. 174-176 . In measures. (1) Book I: Spacing. BASS. The variation ends with the melody returning to the thumb side. This provides an additional interesting aspect to Variation #7.

RESTATEMENT OF THEME The restatement of the theme is quite straightforward. the execution of the final cadence section in this piece is limited to a downward progressing melodic "run" into the bass register. Since a "cadence" in the blues scale style lacks the distinctive chord progression common to cadences in later blues styles. . This could be taken as an appropriate ending for any piece in the blues scale. occurring in measures 121-122.



Y . / p I - -- . VARIATION #1: TREMOLOS ' 6 / A 4 A - 7 '8.A - I * l Fii l . . .




.BREAK 3 3 3 3 '-3- 3 -3- -3- 35.

VARIATION # 5 : GRACE NOTES Semprc a-cccnbato .



3 . I poco p i t .THEME Ill.3 1 .



BREAK (Theme resumed on line two of chart) 5. 111.SEE SEE RIDER FORM OUTLINE I. Variation #6: Melodic Variation 111. Variation #2: Glissandos 3. Variation #1: Tremolos 2. F . "TAG1' CHART I. Variation #4: Repeated Chords 11. C. THEME. C C-G C C. C. C (GI. G . FB. C. MOVING TREMOLOS. THEME 1. Variation #3: Melodic Variation 4. G. . 11. Variation #5: Grace Notes 6.

57-60 ( 2 ) Teddy Wilson: Between the Devil a the Deep Blue Sea. since the constantly swinging chords become monotonous if not interspersed with various other techniques. VARIATION OF THE SWING BASS In the swing style. the thumb passes from the 3rd of the chord upwards by half steps to the Sth. swinging from either a tone or from an octave or 10th of the chord in low register on one beat to either the entire chord or to various combinationsofparts of it in the middle range of the piano on the fo1. with the thumb always moving by half beginning with the bottom steps. P. this bass eventually !became the basis of an entire jazz style known as "swing". This technique can be use of passing 1 0 t h ~ most readily understood as a stepwise progression from one tone of a 7th chord to the next.lowing beat. CBS 62-876 Don Ewell: Honey Babe. appearing in this piece initially in measure 6 represent an important left hand variation option. the "walking l0thsW. interval of a major third ( 1 0 t h ~are the same as 3rds ) . a term which ultimately came to to designate a whole era of American popular music. Thus in a ~7 chord. as in the following example. (1) Book I: Swing Bass. The swing bass consists of a constant alternation between tones or various combinations of tones of a given chord in the left hand. Originating with the early blues.SEE SEE RIDER THE SWING BASS The most significant feature of this improvisation is the constant use of the stylistically important "swing bass " (1).(the 7th being the upper limit) as in the following examples. and again from the 5th of the chord upwards to the 7th. The foremost stride pianists found many ways to enhance the bass line but the was most favored (2). FCJ 109 (For left hand swing style variations) .

as below.Of course this progression can go downwards as %ell. -3- thumb . Biograph BLP 1002Q .3 1 1 1 I 1 The use of "broken" 1 0 t h ~should nok be misconstrued as being a comprimise for the less endowed. such as (1) Fats Waller: "Papa. ( in 1 0 t h ~ rather than 3 r d ~ .3 1 . it can be "broken" as follows. SUBTLE STATEMENT OF THEME The first statement of the theme in this rendition of SEE SEE RIDER is somewhat sophisticated with its constant syncopation and its indirect approach to some notes of the melody. using the pedal to sustain the sound of each loth. IN BASS PASSING 1 0 t h ~ The four consectutive measures of passing ( or "walking" 1 1 0 t h ~ at the beginning of both Variations #I and # 4 serve as a contrast and balance to the' comparatively static tremolo featured in measures 17-19 and: the repeated chord featured in measures 53-56. if the span of the left hand is not large enough to encompass a loth.3 1 . Better Watch Your Step". ) Naturally. It is a legitimate and stylistically authentic option used by all the great stride pianists (1).

An alteration of this kind. AN ELABORATE MELODIC LINE A notable characteristic of this improvisation is the elaborate melodic line throughout. (1) Book I: Neighboring Tone (Chordal) Melody. utilizing various neighboring tones.the "D" in measures 9 & 10 where. C G7. P. while followed by an abundance of melodic var. it is always lightly exploited in comparison to melodic variation. the upper neighbor resolves into the " G n r the root chord. ) of the prevailing " ~ 7 " This method of varying the melodic line is even more evident in the following section. from Variation #1 ( page 50 ) through Variation #5. This is evident in the first two variations. The "two lower neighbors" can be found in measure 42 on the fourth beat. the third of the "C" chord ) that was selected to be the basis for the "two lower neighbor" technique simply demonstrates that there is a natural inclination for a performer to habitually utilize a limited number of personal preferences. the third of the "C" chord ) or by the use of the "two half step lower neighbors" of a chord tone ( as in measure 18 where the "DM and the "D#" are two lower neighbors progressing to the "E". 165-172 . A PERFORMER'S STYLE In the above examples. the third of the prevailing "C" chord ) or by approaching a chord tone from above ( as is done on the last beat of measure 25 where the "A". ALTERATIONS OF THE CHORD CHART It should be noted that the correct chord progression has been arbitrarily altered from the original C ~ 7 C . the fact that is was always the same tone ( l . Whatever the designated variation might be. . 137-142 & P. a half step lower neighbor progresses to "EM. G7.iation based upon chord tones (1). to ~ 7 C7. The very active melodic line weaves its way through the notes of each prevailing chord. In fact. in measure 47 from the first to the second beat and in measure 48 on the second beat. . where the featured tremolos and glissandos are limited to the ini:tial few measures. devoted to melodic variation. after its initial appearance on a syncopated beat this important tone is alluded to several more times on "off" beats before resolving downward to the "G" in measure 11. if tastefully executed and not overd'one is a desirable option for solo performers. C7. such as the "half step lower neighbor" ( as in measure 23 where the "D#" . this is one of the factors leading toward the creation of a performer's personal style and characteristic sound.

gradually moving down through the "D". including the use of "upper neighbors" in measure 96. thus outlining the following essential tones. leaving only the most important tone per measure. as they are in Variation # 5 . to the "C" of measure 106 and then onwards to the "G" of measure 107. this time on tones selected from the "F" chord.) GRACE NOTE EXECUTION In these improvisations the grace notes are usually played as part of a combination of three tones played simultaneously as a "cluster". with the grace note then gradually released. the three note combination sounds rich and resonant. the most important tone in measure 105. . seemingly consisting of merely an additional tremolo variation . By comparison. creating a "twanging" sound. This is demonstrated in measure 76 where the corn is a grace note to the "En of this combination of the 3rd and 5th selected from the "C" chord. What remains of the melody is represented by the "E" note of the long tremolo in the first three measures.ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES OF MELODIC VARIATION Additional examples of melodic combinations can be found in Variation #6. The three tone combination usually consists of two notes of a given chord plus the grace note located a half step under one of the two selected tones. and once again on the syncopated final eighth note preceding measure 81. for the most part is actually a very subtle condensation of the first eight measures of the SEE SEE RIDER melody. with "D" as the upper neighbor of "C" ( the root of the chord ) and "A" the upper neighbor of "G" ( the fifth of the "C" chord. CREATING A MELODIC OUTLINE The restatement of the theme ( page 57 ) . Grace notes sound especially effective when played on the syncopated eighth note upbeat. What has occurred is a very drastic trimming away of all the unessential tones of the first six measures of the melody. The reason for the use of two chord tones rather than the more common single note is because of the rather thin quality of sound of a single graced note on the piano.

its parallel thirds ( based on a "C7" chord ) sounding well in spite of its odd nonconformity with the ). I. ( However. with each new tremolo being introduced on a syncopated beat (1). These two measures are expanded into the eight measures of essential tones discussed above. in measure 67 the break's customary downward moving run appears somewhat early. A NONCONFORMING BREAK The appearance of a diminished 7th chord in the first measure of the break represents a small departure from the usual chord progression of the standard break. P. The figure. ) MOVING TREMOLOS The syncopated manner in which the tremolos are introduced as they move along from measure 101 through measure 106 is also worthy of note as being a genuinely blues oriented way of playing a series of tremolos. 17. 108-109 (2) Book I: Repeated Melodic Figures. 91-98 .This stripping away of all unessential tones is a very important skill that can be used as the basis of all kinds of'ornamental and melodic variations.. 17 (in a downward run). P. 1070 ( or #ii 070 ) . (1) Book I: Moving Tremolos. Also. underlying diminished 7th chord ( on "c" [or 'ID#"] A REPEATED MELODIC FIGURE Variation #6 ( page 56 ) is an interesting example of a repeated melodic figure (2) used as the basis of an entire melodic vaGiation. e. i. it must be noted that the above example of how to reduce a melody to its most essential tones is perhaps too abstract for learning purposes since it is also simultaneously an expansion of the first two measures of the melody.

transposed. twice in measure 91. UNUSUAL "TAG" ENDING The 9th of the chord. P. (1) Book I: Cadences. added as the "tag" ending (1) in the final chord of this blues improvisation is a somewhat sophisticated sound borrowed from a later era. 213-217 . and then. again in measure 90. once in measure 93. In this collection it occurs only in this piece. twice again in measure 94 and finally again in measure played once in measure 89.


.) = l o 0 THEME 49.








. THEME: M O V I N G TREMO/LOS - ~ 1 ~ 0 2 .f) 1 .g....r8'" I0l. I I E Z &'- I - -I A ' / ' .


Variation #8: Rocking motion IV. Variation #5: Grace Notes 6. 11. Variation 87: Repeated Melodic Figure 8. Syncopated Chords 7. Final Cadence & "Tag" CHART I. C. Variation #1: Tremolos & Melodic Variation 2. Variation #4: Repeated Notes 111. C . Variation #2: Glissandos & Melodic Variation 3. BREAK: (Theme resumed on line two of chart) 5. TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE FORM OUTLINE I. INTRODUCTION 11. Variation #6: Variation in Spacing. THEME ( in bass 1. F. F.59. C. Variation #3: Polyrhythmic Repeated Melodic Figure 4. THEME (MELODIC VARIATION) 1.~b F. ~ 7 . Turn-around.

TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE EIGHT BAR BLUES TROUBLED IN MIND utilizes a comparatively uncommon eight measure blues pattern rather than the more familiar twelve bar blues chart. It is one of a handful of very popular blues songs of this type. Some others are KEY TO THE HIGHWAY, HOW LONG BLUES and OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN, each with its own distinctive eight bar pattern. MOST COMMONLY USED INTRODUCTION The introduction to TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE consists of the final four measures of the theme, a very servicable, highly recommended introduction formula universally used for almost any style of jazz and pop music. MELODICALLY ELABORATED THEME The four bar introduction is followed by a presentation of the theme in a melodically highly varied version consisting,mainly of neighboring tone patterns similar to the one in measure 5, where the melody rocks back and forth between the third of the "F'" chord and its half step lower neighbor. Similar lower neighbors are again featured in measures 7 and 9, while measure 10 features a melodic line based on chord tones exclusively. THEMATIC SIMPLIFICATION In addition to being an example of neighboring tones, this highly elaborated presentation of the theme provides an opportunity to fully understand an important technique used to create thematic oriented variations of all kinds, the technique of reducing a given melody or theme to its most essential tones and then using these tones as the basis for further elaboration. To do this it is helpful to select one tone in each measure as being the most important tone to which all the other tones relate. For further variations, this tone is then given prominence in one way or another, by rhythmic accentuation, by conspicuous voicing ( usually as the climactic note of a melodic line or the top note of a chord or other combination In this way, of tones 1, by repetition or by any other method. regardless of how complicated the final result may sound, the initial character and contour of the theme will come through in a subtle but recognizable way. THEMATIC SIMPLIFICATION: ANALYSIS OF THEME In this improvisation the melodic variation which takes place simultaneously with the presentation of the theme is based upon the following essential tones, one per measure starting from measure 5;

In measure 5 the important tone is accompanied by a constantly repeated half step lower neighbor, in measure 6 it is approached through two half step upper neighbors, in measure 7 the important tone is accentuated by being the highest note, in measure 8 it is approached twice by an upper neighboring tone, in measure 9 the important tone is again emphasized as the resolution of an accented half step lower neighbor, in measure 10 it is the uppermost note of a broken chord and finally, in measures 11 and 12 it is a long held sustained tone. THE IMPORTANT TONES USED AS THE BASIS FOR FURTHER VARIATION further Variation #2, featuring glissandos ( page 64, m. 21 demonstrates how the above selected "important" tones guide the improvisation in each measure. In measure 21 the melodic figure comes to rest on the "A" ( which corresponds to measure 5 in the above example ) , in measure 23 the "C" is constantly repeated, in 24 the "F" is twice approached by neighboring tone patterns, once from above and once from below, and in measure 25 the "A" is the resolution of a twice accented lower neighbor. A RIGHT HAND PEDAL POINT In measure 22 ( corresponding to measure 6 of the above outline of important tones ) , the question of why the melody tone "C" was emphasized instead of the designated "important" tone "G" leads to the realization that there is an additional factor shaping these variations. Examination of the first three measures of several of these variations reveals that the right hand ignores the chord changes taking placc in the left, maintaining its chosen activity almost completely unaltered throughout. This is demonstrated quite clearly in the repeated note variation (#4), in the grace note variation (#5), in the repeated melodic figure variation (#7) and with a slight alteration, in the rocking chord variation (#8). In classical terminology, the sustaining of a long held tone in the bass under a series of chord changes in the right hand is called a "pedal point." Here the sustaining of a single pattern occurring in the right hand over a series of chord changes in the left is like a "reverse" pedal point, so to speak. This interesting and commonly used device makes a very subtle appearance in Variation # 3 also, as an extended polyrhythmic repeated melodic figure from measure 29 through 31, maintaining its pattern steadily regardless of the chord changes taking place in the left hand. Discovering this additional factor shaping these variations makes understandable the stubborn maintenance of the "C" tone throughout measures 21-23 and explains why the expected move to the "G" (as the most important tone of measure 22 )did not take place. A "CONFLICT" BETWEEN TWO VARIATION DEVICES The two factors discussed above which shape this improvisation seem to come into almost humorous conflict in the second measure of the

break, where in measure 46 the bass line remains stubbornly unchanged ( as did the soprano line in the above variations 1 , maintaining a constant "F" regardless of the melody line which comes to rest on a "G", in contradiction to the implied harmony of the tone "F" in the bass. This results in the melodic line of the right hand adhering to the "most important tone" principle in spite of the contradictory "pedal point" factor shaping the melodic line in the left hand.

A Division of MCA INC.TROUBLED I N M I N D BOOGIE B a s e d On Trouble In M i n d W o r d s And M u s i c By R i c h a r d M. 1937 BY MCA MUSIC PUBLISHING. Copyright Renewed International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved . Jones 8 Copyright 1926.









Variation #6: Rocking Motion CHART I. BREAK 5. D . Variation #4: Repeated bIelodic Figure I I. Dl GI Dl GI Dl Dl Dl D D 111. Variation #2: Glissandos 3. Variation #3: Melodic Variation 4. 11. Variation #1: Tremolos 2.SHAKIN' LOOSE FORM OUTLINE I. Variation # 5 : Glissandos 6. THEME 1. A. A .

) To summarize.(just as in a previous era "ragging" was considered a way of enlivening a "boring" piece of classical or semi-classical music.) Indeed.3 1 -3~ 3 . 147.r -3in $ meter ( J r j ) . The itinerent barrelhouse pianist was the equivalent of a "one man band" and was expected to provide entertainment for hardworking. 198-201. A LOUD AND POWERFUL STYLE Barrelhouse is high volume. ( who were accustomed to playing in triplets ) ) . P. In order for the music to be heard above the racket and din of many laughing and shouting voices. but is rather a heavy handed combination of the "oom-pah" bass ( as in measure 14. making it lively ) while. J J J meter . 131 (3) Book I: Density. through barrelhouse to stride. P. as in measures 85-88.SHAKIN' LOOSE BARRELHOUSE STYLISTIC TRAITS SHAKIN' LOOSE is in the barrelhouse style (l). associated with New Orleans marching band music ) mixed with various boogie-woogie bass patterns. BARRELHOUSE. (1) Book I: Barrelhouse Piano. as would be expected in a "transition" style such as barrelhouse. In SHAKIN' LOOSE there are examples of both types of rhythms.(IJ j ) would sounil like of sixteenth notes in a measure of an equal number of notes as "long-short" triplets . e. in comparison the original ragtime rhythm was regarded as being "square" ( i. it is the triplet rhythm that most characterizes jazz music. the characteristic ragtime rhythmic unit of sixteenth notes.e. rugged bass consisting of octaves in low register alternating with chords in middle register while interspersed with walking octaves and other bass patterns derived from boogie-woogie. 182-183.This persistent rhythmic alteration was part of a practice cilied-"jazzing it up" ( i. whose style spans the transition from ragtime. raucous music. 143-148 ( 2 ) Book I: Duple & Triple Rhythms. boring ). four to a quarter ) j ( was altered by blues players. 163 . In the barrelhouse style the usual duple rhythmic units of ragtime are frequently supplanted by triplets (2). as exemplified in measures 39 and 42 ( where the 5th is added to the octave ) and where right hand chords were often densely packed (3) as in measure 45. hard drinking men in a night of wild dancing an6 carousing in workcamps located far from the cities of the south and far west. The melodic content of the bass line contains no sophisticated melodic lines such as might be heard in a classic ragtime piece. P. with its loud. -( This is exemplified in the recorded performances of pianist Eubie Blake. SO that a measure to sound like "long-short" triplets ( r37 . the pianist was compelled to develop a "two fisted" pianistic style where left hand walking octaves were often supplemented with an extra note to add power and weight.

#ii070. iiB7. Xii070 ( D. (actually #ii070 1 . beginning with the repeated melodic figure starting on the last note of measure 36. lengthier repeated melodic figure which receives the necessary slight alterations it must undergo to continue through the chord ' D " in measures 53-55. a break which can be found in this collection's RIFF BOOGIE. ~ # 0 7 0 . (1) The sec : n as - chord of the break (measure 62) should be notated (a #ii070 chord. E#070 ) is an alternative to the more commonly used I . 17.THE IMPORTANT TONES Since there is very little discernible melody in this characteristically raucous piece of barrelhouse music. measures 65-68. FOCUS OF ATTENTION SHIFTS FROM BASS TO TREBLE At the beginning. The changes from "D" to "G7" and back to I simple. It is only in the third variation. during the theme section and for the first two variations of SHAKIN' LOOSE the right hand line is generally subordinate to the high energy activity occurring in the left. 1070.~ . followed by the colorful tremolo in measures 41-42 that the emphasis shifts to the right hand. .0 7 . THE BREAK (1) The chord progression used for this break. I. it is important to know which are the "important" tones and to note how consistently the various featured activities in the right hand are directed toward and centered around these specific important tones. The important tones are. 17 (in a downward arpeggio). straightforward way in which this repeated melodic figure unfolds demonstrates the wisdom of not overelaborating a good idea. This is immediately reinforced with another. but simply allowing it to unfold naturally. with the 5th omitted) but it is easier to read as written.

Oldie records )L 2811. (1) Charles Davenport. In this case the glissandos are notated in the exact rhythm in which they are ordinarily executed ( rather than notated as an ornamentation. BYG 529.GLISSANDOS The incessant series of glissando-like figures beginning in measure 73 seem to be an effort to compensate for the paucity of glissandos in Variation #2.061 (Vol. Historical HLP 29. especially in the heavy handed bass (1). 11) .) "COW COW" DAVENPORT That there is much in this piece reminicent of the music of Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport is evident in the "Rocking Motion" variation ( commencing in measure 85 1. where glissandos were supposed to have been the featured technique.







BREAK: Theme resumed on line two of chart 5. Variation #7: Rocking Motion 111. Variation #2: Glissandos 3. Variation #1: Tremolos 2. THEME 1. Variation #6: Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky Technique) 7.BACKWATER BLUES FORM OUTLINE I. THEME: Blues Scale Ending CHART . Variation #5: Bass Variation 6. Variation #3: Melodic Variation 4. Variation #4: Repeated Notes 11.

to include the additional notes provided by the Dorian mode into the blues scale requires a great deal of familiarity with the blues style because it is very easy to fall into extremely odd and foreign melodic combinations if one doesn't have the genuine blues sound in mind. but the single note inner voice now rocks from the fifth of the chord to the seventh instead of to the sixth. I In practice.BACKWATER BLUES THE 'DORIAN MODE' This version of BACKWATER BLUES demonstrates how the blues sca. RCA FXM1-7330 (Bluebird #9). 151-152 (2) Walter Davis: Yazoo L1025. Louis Blues ( page 6 1 . P. thus retaining the blues scale color. Negro Art M12 SB 366 (3) Book I: Bass Patterns. especially to blues pianist Walter Davis (2). occurring frequently throughout the blues is indicated in this piece with. (1) Book I: The Dorian Mode. 47 . but can be learned. P. resulting in a scale that is ( arbitrarily ) dubbed the "Dorian mode" in later jazz theory (1).sign ' ( as in measures 5 and 9.a diminuendo . out of frustration finds it emotionally impossible to complete the thought and allows the words to trail off gradually into silence. a quick diminuendo at the end of melodic phrases. Dorian mode blues is a peculiar style not commonly used by all blues stylists. This rapid falling off in volume ( indicated by the term "subito piano" in classical music seems to be an expression of a sudden and profound despair or eyhaustion. This dynamic feature. as if the singer. ) THE BROKEN BLOCK BASS PATTERN (3) The bass pattern used in this piece is similar to that of St.le can be expanded to include the major 2nd and major 6th degrees of the scale. The Dorian mode in the key of "G" is. "SUBITO PIANO:" A CHARACTERISTIC BLUES DYNAMIC This improvisation also demonstrates a particular "dynamic" or expressive characteristic of all genuine listening to certain blues artists.

if the first tremolo had taken place between the root and fifth degree of the prevailing chord instead of between the fifth and seventh. rhythmic and technical options. descriptions such as. To that end. where an "A" serves as a passing tone betweerL the " ~ b " and "G". "to me the seventh of a chord sounds like someone calling me from a great distance. would that have changed the significance or the feeling of that passage? Questions such as these have comparatively more significance for the blues artist than for other jazz stylists because the blues art form has a comparatively limited range of harmonic. i. the blues player realizes that the most emotionally satisfying and significant music arises from a deep awareness of the impact of a particular tone at a particular moment. As a matter of fact. especially during the exciting days of experimentation and discovery most sophisticated jazz musicians considered the blues to be unworthy of their serious attention. melodic. limited. thus making it almost unavoidably necessary to deal with these fundamental questions. why were those particular tones chosen for those tremolos at that point? Indeed. However. and unsophisticated to the point of embarrassment. ) In this piece the limited choice of tones arises from the fact that this improvisation was created during an actual lesson for the purpose of teaching the widest . since these feelings are so subjective. yet these considerations are very important to blues artists b. in the early be-bop era." or "the fifth of a chord seems to direct my mind toward a 'vision' " or "the third of a chord seems to awaken a deep feeling of love within my is the task of each individual blues performer to discover such things through personal experience. For example. imaginative descriptions help create a personal familiarity with the effect of each particular tone of a chord.ecause it is more often the quality of sound produced and the depth of feeling evoked that defines a successful blues performance rather than more technical and theoretical considerations. unchallenging. with many artists. there can be no doubt that a series of repeated notes on the fifth of a chord sends a different message than a comparable series on the third. because within the very limited choices available." Of course these reactions are subjective to the utmost. To them the blues as a musical style was pass6.e. But it is precisely these questions that concern blues players most. usually through many hours of experimentation. mostly limited to blues scale tones (with the one exception occurring in measure 29.THE "MEANING" OF TONES The choice of tones used for the tremolos in measures 16-18. is there any objective significance to the choice of tones at all? For instance. BLUES SCALE GLISSANDOS The glissandos of Variation #2 ( page 89 ) are rather prosaic. 21 and 24-25 opens an aesthetic question concerning the "meaning" of musical tones.

substituting a "BQ" for the " D " ( as below ) could prove to be unacceptably jarring and if it were the only such instance in the entire piece it could prove to be totally unacceptable. moving in parallel motion along either the blues scale or along tones of the seventh chord with occasional passing tones included.use of the strict blues scale ( in occasional conjuction with the "coloring" derived from the "Dorian mode. On the other hand. downwards from the fifth (1) Book I: Bass Patterns. 55 (2) Cripple Clarence Lofton: BYG 529. in the actual blues tradition it would be very difficult to find recorded examples of music limited exclusively to the blues scale. since it is far more common for blues scale materials to be used within a larger harmonic framework. Yazoo L1025 . (However.065. but as noted above." ) However. while that of measure 32 could use a "Bh".) For example. In measures 76 and 77 this block chord group twice progresses through the "G" blues scale. These non-blues scale tones provide some extra color which is otherwise lacking. 50-51. It consists of an octave enclosing a fifth. chromatic tones would not be acceptable in the melodic line since this would bring us out of the country blues style and into a later jazz style. THE MOVING BLOCK BASS The moving block bass (1) occurring in Variation #5 is an elaboration of a fairly uncommon bass line that can be found occasionally in the music of barrelhouse pianists such as Cow Cow Davenport and Cripple Clarence Lofton (2). P. For example. the sudden inclusion of a non-blues scale tone in a sustained tremolo such as occurs in measures 16-17. it would be perfectly acceptable to expand the stylistic framework of a piece such as this by using chromatic tones in forming glissandos. when using non-blues scale tones in a piece that is essentially in the "blues scale style" it must be done with great sensitivity in order to preserve stylistic integrity. the glissando in measure 28 could just as well include an "F#".

In measure 78 the of the scale is included in a sharp fourth ( or flat fifth repitition of the above pattern. the sudden drop in volume mentioned earlier. . In measure 79 a truly uncharacteristic sound occurs with the seeming switch to another. far enough away from the melodic line not to interfere with its progress ) is repeated over and over by the pinky. followed by the resumption of a more usual single note melodic line. two simultaneous melodic lines appear in the right hand.e." i. divided between a melody played by the fingers on the thumb side while another note. This very rugged. the most straighforward in the entire piece. located an octave away from the beginning note of the melody ( i.of the scale. 92 and in 93 before seguing smoothly into a sequence of parallel sixths. It also includes the dynamic feature of "subito piano. CONCLUSION OF PIECE This version of BACKWATER BLUES closes with a clear statement of the theme. 90-91. past the root to the seventh. closely related blues scale ( the blues scale of "C" ) .e. This happens several times.) Beginning in measure 88. an anomaly which is immediately corrected through a series of block chord voicings outlining the tones of a "C7" chord (measure 80). in measures 88-89. thus returning to a more customary blues sound. heavy sounding bass is an entertaining variation of the very regular left hand bass pattern that had previously characterized this piece. THE "THUMB-PINKY'' TECHNIQUE The thumb-pinky technique is well exemplified in Variation #6 ( page 94.







BREAK 64 .92.



V A R I A T I O N #7: R O C K I N G M O T I O N








THEME CHART . Variation #6: Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky Technique) 7. Variation 4.RIFF BOOGIE FORM OUTLINE I. Glissandos IV. Variation 2. Variation 111. Variation #5: Grace Notes 6. Variation 3. BREAK: Theme #1: Tremolos #2: Glissandos #3: Melodic Variation #4: Repeated Notes resumed on line two of chart 5. INTRODUCTION 11. Variation #7: Rocking Motion. THEME 1.

. Also. as can be found in measures 39-40.Ichord progression. This harmonic formula is often played by the right hand alone. 6th and 10th measures of every turn around the chart. Here it first occurs clearly in the right hand at the end of measure 15. THE BLUES SCALE AND THE SUBDOMINANT CHORD Generally RIFF BOOGIE is a melody that consistently conforms to the tendency of blues melodies to return to the key blues scale whenever the IV chord appears. 33. 70. as in measures 10. very fleetingly . 22. In this regard. 62. it makes sense to notate it as a "G#". and 123. Since the " ~ b " is almost always used as a lower neighboring tone resolving into "A ". 14. 118. a very quick I . 58. the melody in this improvisation almost always returns to the "F" blues scale in the Sth. 57. 34. without the root of the chord appearing at all in the left. This "Amen" cadence derived from church music is so common to the blues that it can be found as a "fill-in" formula almost wherever there is a pause in the melody or where nothing else is happening. 74. after having appeared somewhat less clearly in measures 3 and 11. In the key of "F" the I-1~7-Ichord progression is.RIFF BOOGIE THE "AMEN" CHORD FORMULA This piece makes use of a very common harmonic formula characteristic of all blues. as follows. quite often the right hand will seemingly flick back and forth several times between these two chords.1 ~ 7 . 86.

. first. 20. not an "appoggiatura. TREMOLO EXECUTION On the final beat of measure 16 the initial tremolo of this variation commences on the syncopated eighth note and continues throughout measure 17.the constant weaving of the melody through chord tones and their neighbors.. stylistically "correct" blues melodic line. ) Inexpli~ably." ) COMPENSATING FOR THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE PIANO The tremolo is one of several blues piano techniques designed to overcome some inadequacies of the piano as a blues instrument. where a glissando precedes an upbeat ( syncopated ) tremolo starting on the fourth beat. unlike the voice is unable to produce long. not preceding it ( as an "acciaccatura". as occurs in measures 8. A combination of these two traits can be found in BACKWATER BLUES also.&sides the above "quick men') cadence". This is immediately followed by a glissando preceding a tremolo in measure 18.measure105 where. on page 87. "NEIGHBORING TONE" MELODY Aside from the proper use of the blues scale.e. containing abundant examples of "one lower neighbor" patterns ( as in measures 95-96 ) and a few "two lower neighbor" patterns ( as in measures 73. as is generally appropriate to the blues style'it is "crushed" into the tremolo . 68. widely used and stylistically correct blues sounds. An example of a grace note preceding a tremolo can be found in this rendition of RIFF BOXIE on page 112. certain techniques were developed to compensate for these shortcomings. this improvisation is also a study in the use of lower neighboring tones in a blues melodic line (l). 44. sustained tones or to affect the tone once it has been produced. they almost always start on a syncopated beat. i. P. 80 and 92. secondly. there seems to be almost no "upper neighbor" patterns.cadence are very typical. it is played on the beat. This characteristic "blue note" ( which also facilitates the chord progression to the subdominant chord in the next measure ) along with the 'Arnenl. 109-110. 167-172 . or by a short melodic "pick up" as at the conclusion of measure 18 leading to the tremolo in measure 19. another correct "move" is featured in this piece with the appearance of the seventh of the tonic chord as part of the melodic line precisely in the fourth measure of the chart in each variation. they are usually preceded by either an ornamentation such as a grace note or glissando. demonstrating the first of the following two "rules" of blues tremolos. But in spite of this apparent shortcoming . measure 16. One of these techniques (1) Book I: Melodic Variation. Since the blues is essentially a vocal art and because.the piano. in conjunction with the use of the blues scale at the proper points creates a lively.

(measures 29-34) which emulate the typical "slide" of the vocal blues style. with the accent on the lower tone. (1) Cliff Jackson: Fat Cat1s Jaz FCJ 107. truly "bluesy" sounding blues tremolo is produced by wavering steadily between two tones. the grace note ornamentations (3) of Variation # 5 ( page 110 ) emulate the characteristic nuancing of tones common to vocal blues music. Played slowly. ANOTHER COMPENSATORY PIANO TECHNIQUE Another way of creating the illusion of a long held tone on the piano is exemplified by the long series of repeated notes in beginning in measure 53 and concluding trochaic rhythm[ T 3 71 at the end of measure 57. loudly and with much feeling before resolving into a quick> descending melodic line. the two chord tones of the "cluster" are then sustained while the grace note is gradually released. HOW TO PRODUCE GOOD SOUNDING GRACE NOTES In contrast to the voice or guitar where a single note can be beautifully nuanced into the main tone. Played on the syncopated beat. But. quietly and with much reserve (1) the tremolo is capable of evoking a nostalgic sound reminicent of the wailing of distant train whistles. including the upward moving glissandos of Variation #2. Also. or very loudly as is characteristic of the barrelhouse the tremo1.0. a single grace note on the piano sounds comparatively bare and colorless. P. This passage is imitative of the vocal blues style where typically a long held tone is sounded at the beginning of a phrase. creating a characteristic twang which sounds almost like the "bending" of tones common to guitar technique. Similarly. 62-67 . That is why grace notes in the blues piano style are generally produced as part of a "cluster" of three tones consisting of two tones of the prevailing chord ( or of the prevailing blues scale ) plus the grace note located a half step below either of the two other tones. On the other hand. often syncopated for rhythmic variation."Strange WomanM ( 3 ) Book I: Grace Notes. they should not be overexploited because they can easily become boring and "corny SOME OTHER VOCAL TECHNIQUES TRANSFERED TO THE PIANO In this rendition of RIFF BOOGIE some more examples of vocal techniques which have been transfered to the piano can be found. For piquancy these repeated notes are interspersed with accented grace notes. tremolos can also be rendered very rapidly (2) as might be heard in boogie woogie music. HOW TO PRODUCE A STYLISTICALLY "CORRECT" TREMOLO An effective. generally they should not be played too quickly because they can easily produce an uncharacteristically "hysterical" and inappropriate impression. designed to create the impression of a long held tone."Arkansas Blues" ( 2 ) Dave Alexander: Arhoolie 1071.

In TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE it appears on page 64. BLUEBIRD CD 3102-2-RB. 1. the repeated melodic riff can begin on the root. To summarize. P. MCA 1333. and again on page 65. The most useful aspect of a riff is that it can be used as a variation device by relocating it at various levels of any given chord.UNCHARACTERISTIC ENDING This performance of RIFF BOOGIE ends fairly unusually. extending from the first beat of measure 61 to the first beat of measure 65. ROOT Each inversion of the riff has its own "character" and can serve as the source of a complete variation. from the upbeat leading to measure 49 through the first beat of measure 56. in a downward progressing line in the "F" blues scale.) (1) Book I: Tag Endings. from the last eighth note of measure 16 to the first two eighth notes of measure 18. "In the Mood" . beginning on the first beat of measure 97 and ending on the first beat of measure 99. third or fifth of a chord as follows. rather than with one of the more common "tag" endings (1). from the upbeat leading to measure 36 through the first beat of measure 40 and on page 78. For example. Three very characteristic riffs appearing in almost all boogie woogie pieces are. A short repeated melodic figure is almost by definition a riff.) any other repeated melodic figure ( sometimes ending with the aforementioned "amen" motive. 2. page 68. from the upbeat leading to measure 29 to the last beat of measure 31. with a melodic "tailing. 213-217 (2) Pete Johnson: MCA RECORDS.'off". In this book examples of these can be found in SHAKIN' LOOSE on page 77. any motive played at any given level of a chord can be duplicated at another (with slight alterations if necessary or if desired.) the syncopated chord riff (21. RIFFS AND THE PRINCIPLE OF MOTIVE RELOCATION A "riff" is a short musical motive ( a snippet ) which is repeated over and over. Another example can be found in TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE. The repeated polyrhthmic melodic riff appears in RIFF BOOGIE on page 104 from the upbeat leading to the fourth quarter note of measure 12 through the first beat of measure 14.) the repeated-polyrhythmic melodic figure (3) and 3. Answer to the Boogie (3) Glenn Miller: Glenn Miller Orchestra. ) In RIFF BOOGIE an example of the syncopated chord riff can be found on page 111. and again on page 106 from the last eighth note of measure 36 to the first quarter note of measure 38. the rule of relocation is.





1 1 1 I I I ! I I I 1 I I I I .VARIATION # 3 : M E L O D I C VARIATION 3 S~wlt\e I.:.

VARIATION # $ ?- 5.m.\r .

BREAK -3- S~-t\e .




THEME 113. .



GI G THEME I1 I .ST. Variation #1: Melodic Variation V. THEME I 1. THEME I1 IV. Gm. Gm. Variation #1: Melodic Variation 111. D . L O U I S B L U E S STOMP FORM O U T L I N E I . THEME I : F I N A L "TURNAROUND" & "TAG" CHART THEME I I. INTRODUCTION 11. D. THEME I11 1. GI C.

walking tenths (measure 6) and a very limited use of rocking chords (3) (measure 63.basses in this collection serve to define various styles. Columbia CL 1780. SEE SEE RIDER. distinguished by a very judicious choice of single low notes creating a captivating melodic line of its own. Fat Cat's Jazz FCJ 109 performed by Don Ewe11 . This trait later became a very strong feature of the virtuoistic "stride" style. dixieland. Eventually. just as ragtime had defined the previous era which had lasted from the "Gay 90's" through the "Roaring 20's. minuet. comparatively sophisticated bass style associated with the Swing Era. New Orleans jazz. SEE SEE RIDER on the other hand is less sophisticated than most swing era music because it is limited to comparatively few bass techniques. swing bass music flowered into an original style known as ragtime. waltz and other folk and classical sources. SHAKIN' In this ~ ~ l l e ~ t i LOOSE and ST. In America at the turn of the twentieth century.". Further. including barrelhouse. goes beyond the ordinary two note "oom-pah" bass of most folk music. honky-tonk.) (1) Book I: Swing bass. light. 57-60 (2) James P. For example. it must be noted that the bass line of SQUARE DANCE BLUES. Folkways FJ 2850. while the heavily played octaves and various rollicking boogie woogie bass patterns of SHAKIN' LOOSE demonstrate the strong influence of blues and other sources of Black folk and church music. Also.MCA Records MCA 1332 (3) For an example of a highly varied bass line in Swing style listen to "Honey Babe". LOUIS BLUES STOMP use various versions of the "swing bass" (11. Johnson: "Carolina Shout. LOUIS BLUES STOMP THE SWING BASS SQUARE ~ n .ST. a bass originating in various European musical styles including the march. P." VARIOUS STYLES OF SWING BASS As a rule the bass pattern of a piece of music establis'hes its style. often played in complicated cross-rhythms (2). "Jingles1'. polka. the term "swing" came to designate an entire era of American popular music culminating with the big band music of World War 11. single note bass of SQUARE DANCE BLUES identifies it as an early American White folk musical style derived from European classical and folk music. swing and Harlem stride. with its consistent use of the 10th interval between the two lowest notes of the first half of a "swing" represents a later. "Liza". so the distinctive features of each of the swing. In combination with the blues it eventually evolved into an assortment of early jazz styles. DANCE BLUES. SEE SEE RIDER. tenths (measure 7). the consistent. wherein the single low notes form ever more interesting and daring patterns going far beyond the tones of the prevailing chord to include all sorts of chromatic tones.

In this performance the first theme has a swing bass accompaniment. LOUIS BLUES STOMP. (1) Polyrhythmic Repeated Figue. make my git-a-way." the burly marching band style. LOUIS BLUES INCLUDES SEVERAL JAZZ STYLES ST.) RULE: CHANGE OF BASS EQUALS CHANGE OF STYLE The introduction of a new bass pattern for THEME I11 serves to enliven the entire piece. The second theme differs from the first less by its bass pattern ( which remains a swing bass ) than by the heavy handed manner of performance reminicent of the barrelhouse genre. rolling bass pattern. I'll pack my trunk. The third theme sounds like a typical "train blues" piece because of its persistent." but it is a different style of "New Orleans. though not altogether uncommon to the I17 ( " ~ 7 " ) barrelhouse and jugband style blues nevertheless comes as a bit of surprise in this context.) The second theme also sounds like "New Orleans. It is not a characteristic country blues melody (because it uses the diatonic seven tone natural and harmonic minor scales )nor is it harmonized with any of the usual blues chord progressions. dominanttonic variety. The first theme ( page 120 ) is the most familiar and is often played apart from the other two themes. 97-98 .ST. THE THIRD THEME The third theme." variation which follows ( page 121 1 . with its neighbor figure (measures 21-22) and its simple figure(measures 23-24) is actually little more of the first theme an octave higher. but with a very strong New Orleans flavor because of its peculiar."Feelint tomorrow like I feel today (twice). as it was earlier in this collection. P. MELODIC VARIATION The simple melodic repeated one lower two lower neighbor than a restatement THE SECOND THEME The second theme is a robust eight measure melody extended to sixteen measures by repetition. The use of chord in measure 43. while the choice of this particular type of rocking bass. Rather. evoking the "train blues" style is a subtle reflection of the text. placing it stylistically in the early Swing era. it seems to be a very early version of commercialized blues of a tonic-dominant. with its polyrhythmic repeated melodic figure (1) actually reverses the usual formal sequence by placing the variation section ( page 123 ) before the presentation of the theme ( page 124 ( in contradiction of the outline headings. insistent staccato execution ( somehow reminicent of banjo plucking. as the sole multiple themed piece in this collection has the distinction of spanning three distinct early jazz styles.

as in measures 71-72. 75-76 and 79-80. .THE FIRST THEME REPEATED The final repetition of the main theme ( page 125 ) is notable for the "fill-in1'snatches of melody which occur following each phrase of the theme. supported by a quick change in harmony from I to V7 represent a slight upgrading in the level of sophistication of this essentially limited country blues chart to include an occasional measure of diverse chords. These short melodic statements.





100 Ruggedly .THEME I1 J.

.THEME I11 123.





A. THEME 1. BREAK:(Theme resumed on line two of chart. Repeated Figure 5. Variation #6: Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky Technique) 7. A. E. 11. Variation #1: Tremolos 2. Variation #5: Grace Notes 6. Variation #7: Rocking Chords IV. Variation #2: Glissandos 3. . Variation #3: Melodic Variation 4.A . INTRODUCTION 11. Variation #4: Repeated Chords 111.TROUBLED IN MIND BLUES FORM OUTLINE I. THEME: "TAG" CHART I .) Tremolos. A. D E7 E.

where a tremolo is usedas part of the presentation of the theme (measures 5 and 8. final two quarter notes 7 m 7 The other possible subdivisions of the basic 3 7 3 - triplet. This particular rhythmic approach rarely fails to produce a strong. 8 . while featuring a particular technique nevertheless constantly includes other techniques as well. a grace note (measure 30) and glissandos (measure 32). as in ' ) . "crushed" into the first tone. such as . his is clear from the very beginning. as happens in each example here. repeated figure (measure 48). GOOD SOUNDING TREMOLOS The tremolos in measures 5. grace notes (measure 39) and a tremolo (measures 41-42).4 etc." P. in Variation #5 ( Grace Notes 1 .(final quarter measure 7 ( final quarter note -t-3 -3 7 7 l n l ( note and in measure 43. In this piece they become apparent only through a few outward manifestations occurring from time to time. ). 13-14 and 15 are appropriate examples of good sounding tremolos.) In variation #1 ( devoted to tremolos we find grace notes (measure 17) and glissandos (measures 15 and 16). with the accent on the lower of the two note combination. in the break. it is stylistically effective to begin tremolos with a grace note. in Variation #3 ( Melodic Variation ) . right hand) and in Variation #6 ( Melodic Variation ) we find a tremolo (measure 64.) ~ l t h o u g hVariation #7 n 3 - ) (1) Book I: "Subdivision of Triplet.. in Variation #4 ( Repeated Notes 1 . genuine blues sound. a measure in duple rhythm (measure 58. a tremolo (measure 47) and a glissando (measure 51). played in a non-hurried way. 197 . in measure 16.TROUBLED IN MIND BLUES THE SUBDIVIDED TRIPLET This rendition of TROUBLED IN MIND BLUES is notable for its underlying subdivision of the basic triplet rhythm into smaller units of duplets and occasional triplets (1). are not outwardly articulated in this piece but nevertheless are always present in the inner rhythmic pulse. Although these subdivisions may be present only in the mind of the performer they are nevertheless felt strongly in the pulsating sounds produced. in Variation #2 ( Glissandos ) we find repeated notes (measure 23). MIXING TECHNIQUES This improvisation provides a fairly good example of how each variation . an ad lib. As suggested before.

( rocking motion ) is almost exclusively limited to the featured technique. all techniques are available at all times and to avoid monotony should be employed freely throughout the entire piece.the final statement of the theme contains an imaginative run in the major pentatonic scale of " A " (measures 81-82. .) This demonstrates once again that while it is correct always to feature one particular technique per variation.

TROUBLED IN MIND BLUES Based On Trouble In Mind Words And Music By Richard M. A Division of MCA INC. Jones INTRODUCTION O Copyright 1926. 1937 BY MCA MUSIC PUBLISHING. Copyright Renewed International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved .


VARIATION # 2 : GLISSANDOS -2- * play glissandos o n the beat .







INTRODUCTION 11. Variation 4. THEME: "TAG" ENDING CHART 111. Variation #1: Tremolos #2: Glissandos #3: Melodic Variation #4: Repeated Notes resumed on line two of chart #5: Grace Notes #6: Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky Technique) 7. Variation 3.FOUR O'CLOCK BLUES FORM OUTLINE I. Variation 6. THEME 1. BREAK: Theme 5. Variation 2. D f C I G I G (or D) . Variation #7: Rocking Motion IV. Variation 111.

AN ELABORATE PRESENTATION OF THE THEME Following a four bar introduction over what is essentially a "pedal point" bass ( a long sustained "G" chord (I chord) through chord (V chord) 1. (1) Book I: Bass Patterns.FOUR O'CLOCK BLUES DIVERSE BASS PATTERNS The bass pattern for FOUR O'CLOCK BLUES ( the "alternating double note-single note" bass pattern (1) ) appears here for the third time in this collection. For example. On the other hand. the expected but unmaterialized change to the " ~ 7 " the beginning of this improvisation more resembles a melodic variation consisting of upper and lower neighboring tone patterns. USING THE "IMPORTANT" TONES The tremolos of Variation #1 ( page 149 ) are consistently based upon the most representative tones of the melody. as notated in measures 37-38 and 72-74. 3 and 4. for the sake of variety it is advisable to choose a new bass pattern for each song. For teaching purposes it is appropriate. 49 (2) Book I: Ornamental Variations. the melodic passage from the end of measure 8 through measure 9 consists of a lower neighbor ("D#") resolving into the "E" of measure 9 ( the third of the "C" chord 1. Although blues players consistently and appropriately base their techniques on other than essential tones. resulting in a monotonous overall performance. even for several songs in succession in order to avoid drawing attention away from the primary materials being demonstrated in the right hand. in performance. even preferable to use a particular bass frequently. melody. demonstrating once again how subtly effective it is to build a variation around a few carefully selected tones. P. Louis Blues" seems to continue through measure 15. it is not advisable to use multiple bass patterns during the course of one song because after a while it becomes difficult to distinguish one song from another. Louis Blues. This borrowing from "St. P. ) BORROWING FROM OTHER BLUES SONGS In measure 10 the melody is fairly abandoned in favor of a melodic line that sounds more like a portion of the "St. This is a principle that works especially well for techniques where it is impossible to play all the notes of a given. Since a change in the bass pattern equals a change in style and because blues bass patterns are generally very repetitious. It is only in Variation #2 and in the break that the true final portion of FOUR O'CLOCK BLUES is presented.'' perhaps demonstrating that a bit of generic blues doodling is not always out of place. 192-193 . and in fact also serves as the melodic content of the final four measures of Variations #1.than a clear statement of the theme. select the essential tones of the melody and base the technique upon those notes exclusively. followed by an upper neighbor ("A") proceeding to "G" ( the fifth of the "C" chord. whether in concert or in a club. changing the bass from song to song is one way to avoid monotony. However.

even if a bit less sophisticated. 33-44 . Instead. Combining the Scales. Beside Variation #1. applying their accumulated techniques to the prevailing chord regardless of what piece is being played. MELODIC VARIATION: THE BLUES SCALE OPTION The use of tones other than "essential" tones is well demonstrated in the glissando variation ( page 150 ) where there is very little of the theme in evidence until the final four measures. But in the final analysis the results are generally more musical and aesthetically satisfying when the correct essential tones form the basis for whatever technique is being employed. P.e. the melodic line of measures 113-114 could just as well have been. this approach is again in evidence in the final presentation of the theme ( page 157 ) where the neighboring tone patterns consistently come to rest upon the essential notes of the original melody. it is also appropriate to base variations upon other than the designated essential tones. faitly disregarding the given melody. single notes that represent entire melodic phrases. comparatively more sophisticated music is produced through the useof essentialtones.nevertheless. BASING VARIATIONS UPON "NONESSENTIAL" TONES On the other hand. At the end of measure 34. this is what most blues pianists do as a matter of practice. These patterns do not come to rest upon the essential tones of either of the first two measures of this song. the melodic line utilizes the optional harmonic formula of reverting to the key blues scale whenever the subdominant chord is present. Instead. the "EN which replaces the correct "F" of the blues scale represents the expected alteration of the blues scale required (1) Book I:. i. More or less. the " D " of measure 113 or the "G" of measure 114. For example. the notes "B" and "En prove just as effective. as occurs in measure 30 and again in measures 33-34.

as a "permitted dissonance" (1). (1) Book I: Melodic Variation. as occurs in measures 53-55. as well as on beats one and four of measure 43 and on beat one of measure 44. they start exactly on the third eighth note of a triplet and finish on the next downbeat and could be readily notated as follows. As it is. P. UNALTERED REPEATED NOTES It is not unusual to hear a repeated note passage continue unaltered through a chord change. to " ~ b " the "~'4"is the major seventh of the prevailing "C" chord. However. although an "F" would have been acceptable. It should also be noted that the two note glissandos utilized in this improvisation are comparitively rare in this collection. a so much more traditional blues sound. where a change in measure 54 should normally have taken place.(the flatted seventh). Of course. The "one lower neighbor" pattern can be found on beats two and four of measure 42. 30-31 and 31-32 could more accurately be notated Zs sixteenth notes. a not unacceptable alternative for the more usual "blue note" Bb. As is true of almost all upbeat glissandos in the blues. Beginning with the eighth note upbeats to measures 41 and 42 are examples of the "two-lower neighbor" pattern. RHYTHM AND NOTATION OF GLISSANDOS The glissandos over the barlines of measures 28-29. the "arhythmic" notation is prefered throughout this collection ( and in Book I ) because it more clearly and more immediately identifies these groups of notes as an ornamentation rather than as a part of the melody line. 167-172 . THREE MELODIC PATTERNS The melodic variations of Variation # 3 demonstrate in a uniquely clear manner the "three pattern" formula of melodic variation taught in Book I (1). The "one lower neighbor" pattern ( slightly altered 1 can be found on beats two of measures 44 and 48 There are several other examples of these preconceived patterns in this adjust it to the given chord ("C"). the three note glissando being preferred as the more representative. it should be remembered that while there are possibly countless other melodic patterns this performance took place for the specific purpose of demonstrating these most commonly used patterns.

" "back & forth" and "straight ahead. It is also interesting to note the subtle introduction of rocking chores in measure 56 at the point where the repeated notes threaten to become monotonous. after watching a pianist vigorously perform an entire piano concerto it is astounding to realize that no motions have occurred other than the three simple motions of "up & down. thus simultaneously extending this repeated note passage a bit longer while serving as a transition away from a stormy episode. Following is an example of several short "up & down" motions combined with an oyerall "straight ahead" motion. "KINETICS" AS A SOURCE OF VARIATION The piquant melodic variation of measures 72-74 consisting of an alternation between two notes at an interval of a sixth in the right hand raises the question of how many ways can a simple succession of tones be varied as "motion. EX.I' & forth" combined with . For example.''( Has anyone thought of another possibility? 1 Applying this priciple to the above melodic passage (measures 72-74). how many variations can be invented? As it is. drawn to anticipating where these accented grace notes might occur is always in a state of imbalance and tension. the insistent and highly unpredictable accented grace notes occurring in Variation #4 ( page 152 ) serve to maintain interest because the listener's attention." The answer lies in the simple realization that there are only three motions possible. the melody at that point falls into the catagory of "straight ahead" motion.l. Following are two examples of "back "straight forward.MAINTAINING INTEREST AND CONTINUITY Where the potential monotony of a long series of repeated notes might threaten to gain the upper hand.

Following is an example of a shorter "back & forth" motion combined with a longer "back & forth" motion. Another example of a shorter "straight ahead" combined . The principle of three basic it has very wide application harmony. A prolonged series of "up & down" motions followed by a quick "straight ahead" would be. rhythm and form and ideas and inspiration in all motions is extremely useful because in all areas. An example of a shorter "straight ahead" combined with both a longer "straight ahead" and a "back & forth" motion is. can serve as an endless source of aspects of music improvisation. .with both a longer "straight ahead" and a "back & forth is. including melody.

174-176 (2) Book I: Melodic Evasion. designed to demonstrate the "thumb-pinky" technique (1). P. Perhaps it works well here because in. thereby shifting the attention away from the typically bare sound of a single graced note on the piano. After the first four measures of this variation there is a return to melodic variations featuring the "three patterns" of neighboring tones discussed earlier. 97-98 .OM ONE TECHNIQUE TO ANOTHER It is interesting to note the subtle way that the momentum created by the constant rocking motion at fortissimo volume is broken by first including the seventh of the chord in measure 104 indicating an imminent change in harmony and then. P. along with the customary reversion to the key blues scale on subdominant harmonies are the melodic techniques continuing throughout the following variation. P. as part of the blues scale requires no adjustment when played over the subdominant chord (2). such as the "two lower neighbor" pattern over the bar line from measure 88 to 89 and the "one lower neighbor" pattern at the end of measure 91. "THUMB-PINKY" MELODIC VARIATION The "three patterns" of neighboring tones. which as previously noted. the rocking "chords" of Variation #7 are not adjusted to the harmonic changes occurring in measure 102. (1) Book I: The Thumb-Pinky Technique.GRACED SINGLE NOTES The grace note variation ( page 154 ) is notable for its constant gracing of single notes instead of the more usual two note combinations that werepreviously recommended. after a change in harmony (measure 105) altering the motion to another type of rocking motion based on a polyrhythmic melodic figure (3) in measure 106. All of this melodic activity on the thumb side of the right hand is accompanied by a single repeated note played by the pinky at a distance far enough away from the melody not to interfere with the melodic line.each case the melodic line is moving strongly towards a resolution on the following beat.I because besides being more continuous it includes the use of melodic materials based upon chord tones. MOVING SMOOTHLY FR. remaining constant . 39 (3) Book I: Polyrhythmic Melodic Figures. In this variation the thumb-pinky technique is a bit more elaborate than it was in the previous example ( page 94 of BACKWATER BLUES . so the resulting extraneous note ( the "D" in the right hand ) must be considered as either a ninth of the "C" chord or as a note of the blues scale. HARMONICALLY NONCORRESPONDING ROCKING CHORDS Just as occurred in the repeated note variation ( page 152 ) .

120 to 121. 27-29 (2) Lonnie Johnson: "Moaning Blues. where the melodic phrase begins after the new chord has been established were to become the rule. i. MELODIC "PICKUP" One subtle point that distinguishes an amateur from a professional playing the blues concerns the beginning of melodic phrases. To become familiar with this important rhythmic feature of blues melody it is advisable to listen to many blues singers in order to note how each phrase almost always begins with a few "pickup" notes (2). 119 to 120. ) On the contrary." Prestige Records PR 7724 . ( Nothing identifies an amateur more than this trait. This is highly evident here. with each phrase ending with a syncopated note sustained into the next beat. especially at the conclusion of melodic phrases (1).e. almost prosaic repetition of the theme ( page 157 ) contains one very important feature of good jazz.MELODIC SYNCOPATION The straightforward. as occurs from measure 117 to 118. 121 to 122 and 122 to 123. (1) Book I: Syncopated Rhythm. the beginning of melodic phrases or of sections of a melodic phrase should anticipate either a downbeat or a change of harmony. P. One need glance only at the "ties" over almost every bar line for this to become immediately apparent. constant syncopation. 118 to 119. It would be stylistically incorrect if the procedure occurring in measure 115.





VARIATION #2: G L I S S A N D O S 150. .







3 1 7 3 - .THEME 3 .



Variation 4. Variation Variations in Density Repeated Melodic Figure Melodic Variation Blues ornamentations Melodic Variation Melodic Variation (Thumb-Pinky Technique) 7. Variation 6. Variation #7: Variation in Spacing 8. variation #11: Repeated Melodic Figures 1I. Variation 110: Variation in Spacing 11. . THEME 1. Variation 5. ~ b .~ b . Variation #9: Repeated Melodic Figure 10.CAIZFORNIA BREAKDOWN FORM OUTLINE I.Bb.Bb. Bb. Bb Bb. F. Variation 2. Variation 3. 111. Variation #8: Blues Ornamentations 9. .THEME (Melodic Variation) 11: 12: #3: #4: 15: 16: CHART I. ~ b . Bb Bb Bb 11.

THE THEME AND THE MOST IMPORTANT TONES The theme of CALIFORNIA BREAKDOWN is presented in a way that allows the uppermost note of each in a series of chords in the right hand to coincide with the essential tones of the theme. until measure 7 where the downward progression of the melodic line compels us to hear the note "F" ( the middle note of the " ~ b " chord in first inversion as the most important note at that point. "DENSITY" AND THE IMPORTANT TONES Variation #1 ( page 163.CALIFORNIA BREAKDOWN MELODIC OUTLINE OF MOST IMPORTANT TONES CALIFORNIA BREAKDOWN. In measure 8 the uppermost note resumes its role of outlining the theme. . measure 13 ) becomes a variation in density through a thickening of the chords which are either supporting or surrounding the theme in the right hand. reduced to its most essential tones assumes the following outline: most of the variations in this piece consist of short melodic phrases based upon these "important" tones.

Starting in measure 55 a series of grace notes accentuates the important note of the theme. 81 and 82 the first note of each measure is always the essential tone'of the melody at that point. 1 MELODIC VARIATION AND THE IMPORTANT TONES In Variation # 3 (starting in measure 37) each of the upward moving melodic phrases peaks with the most important note of the theme prevailing at that point. Also. in spite of the peculiar. the beginning of Variation #6 consists of two short melodic phra'ses culminating upon the essential tones of the melody. the graced "D" in measure 39. three of the first four measures. EMPHASIS ON IMPORTANT TONES MAINTAINED IN "SPACING" VARIATION In Variation #7 the octave jump to a higher register in the right hand perpetuates the subtle variations in spacing between the two hands that had been taking place up to this point (1). At the same time. P. oddly twisting nature of the two melodic phrases occurring in these measures. Because of the unvarying. the important melodic tone for the first four measures is the first ( and therefore most accentuated ) note i n . the final 'ID" in measure 37. the "DM. the repeated note "F" in measures 72-77 represents the pinky side of this "thumb-pinky" technique. from the point of view of being a melodic variation based upon essential tones it is significant that the tone "D". 158-161 . MELODIC VARIATION IN THE BLUES SCALE Variation #5 is actually a melodic variation based upon the "Bb" blues scale ( rather than upon the "important" tones as previously and "F" suggested ) with the passing note "G" ( between the " ~ b " tones of the blues scale 1 twice serving as a resting point in a series of typically downward moving blues scale melodic phrases. THUMB-PINKY TECHNIQUE AND THE IMPORTANT TONES As in Variation #3. In measures 76. the "Db" of measure 41 and again the " ~ b " of measure 42.REPEATED MELODIC FIGURES AND THE IMPORTANT TONES With sustained tones in the thumb the important notes of the theme maintain their presence throughout a series of short repeated melodic figures in Variation #2 ( page 164. with the accent on the lower note. 78. while the melody is being played by the thumb side of the right hand. BLUES ORNAMENTATIONS AND THE IMPORTANT TONES In Variation #4 ( page 165 ) the lower note of the two note tremolo combination is heard as the essential tone because of the way tremolos are generally played in the blues. (1) Book I: Variations in Spacing. very low register bass pattern it is a good idea that the melodic materials in the right hand be played at various distances from the left.

THE REPETITION OF THEME The final statement of the theme. (1) Book I: Blues Melody. blues and boogie-woogie in various ways until it evolved into the "stride" and "swing" styles of a later era. WORKING WITH A GOOD IDEA variation #9 ( page 167. if you find a good idea. " The pentatonic scale has a very "folksy" sound and when combined with mainly unsyncopated duple (2) rhythms it sounds much like Appalachian folk music. In Variation #11. beginning with the upbeat to measure 144 is actually another melodic variation. the mixed rhythms. the use of elements derived from the blues ( the blue notes. it is actually based largely on the major pentatonic scale ( 2 ) . Also. a clear statement of the theme ( which seems reminicent of the song SHAKIN' LOOSE ) never really takes place anywhere in this piece. 130-135 (2) Book I: Duple Rhythm. vacillating between triplets (measure 132) and duplets (measure 1331. Keep it simple and straightforward. it lacks the full qualifications of a barrelhouse piece because the swing bass is not present at all. 198-201 . don't overelaborate it. the bass remains constant throughout. as though it were being played on a non-melodic instrument such as the snare drum. ragtime. the occasional triplet rhythms and the walking bass ) along with elements derived from ragtime ( the lower neighboring tone patterns ) identify this piece as being in a " barrelhouse" genre. This is a good example of an important rule about improvising blues music. THE STYLE OF "CALIFORNIA BREAKDOWN" ~espitethe many lower neighboring tones and "blue" notes throughout Variation #10 ( page 168 ) . P. as part of the melody rather than as a more freely interpreted ornamentation because the rhythmic nature of this variation makes it sound as if the glissandos were imitating a snare drum roll. However.GLISSANDOS IN IMITATION OF THE SNARE DRUM The glissandos of Variation #8 ( page 167 ) are written in exact notation. here in " ~ b . measure 108 ) consists of a short. as well as the alternation in style between the characteristic boogie-woogie polyrhythmic melodic repeated figure (measures 132 & 134) and the "folk ragtime" pentatonic scale figure (measures 133 &135) further identify this piece as being "barrelhouse. In fact. This rhythmic aspect is further accentuated by having each glissando end on the same note throughout the first six measures regardless of the change of harmony. On the other hand. P. the glissandos." a transistion style that combined White folk music. without mixing various patterns as barrelhouse basses are wont to do. snappy repeated melodic figure that undergoes the slight alteration from the note "D" to " ~ b " required by the change of harmony in measure 112. making slight changes if and where necessary.









since clarity is the primary goal of such performances many comparatively complex techniques such as "runs" and "repeated figures". triple rhythm rhythmic combinations remain quite elementary and mostly unmixed throughout." In addition. or in ornamentation techniques. where most of the material is limited to either the blues scale or to three specific pedagogical melodic formulas. That is because these pieces came into existence during lessons devoted to demonstrating how to create an entire solo blues piano improvisation through the use of an adequate but limited number of fundamental materials ( sometimes acquired during a semester of a mere ten weeks duration. or in rhythm.CONCLUSION To a knowledgable person it is evident that this analysis of twelve original blues improvisations does not cover the entire range of blues piano techniques. On the other hand. where . where only the most basic chords and chord charts prevail. clarity and comprehensiveness of these improvisations make this collection an incomparable source of instruction. where ( for merely one example ) there are no chord tremolos. . there is a lack of complexity in almost all aspects. such as "runs" and "repeated figures. the preciseness. ) Consequently. By using Book I as a supplementary guide. it is to be hoped that the principles of blues improvisation presented in this book will serve as a solid bedrock for aspiring blues artists to create their own world of blues music. In addition. the order of appearance of variations is entirely optional and can differ in countless ways from those in this collection. It is the purpose of this book to help the blues piano student use these collected improvisations primarily as a guide toward creating entire original solo blues performances. while adequately covering the subject of duple vs. In conclusion." For example. as well as complicated bass patterns do not appear in these improvisations. every possible technique and stylistic aspect of blues piano music can be found in these performances and analyses. and in harmony. To that end nothing should be regarded as "sacrosanct. in melody. the "form outlines" with their various suggested variations can be freely altered and should include those possibilities not represented in this collection.

James P.see Tag.5 Melodic figures. 27 Harnony chart.26.2.142 Grace notes.5.16 mixed.99 Cakewalk. 117 Barrelhouse.45.72.81-85 BACKWATER BOOGIE.l44 Lofton. 159-162 116 Carolina Shout.25 Chart.162 upbeat. blues scale.16.143 Principle of three motions. 99 BACKWATER BLUES.159 Classical music. melodic."146 variation.112 notation of.82 crossrhythms.16.100 Blues scale. played in. 139.chord formula.E2WDOWN.73.140 varying from.73 broken Block.see Tones. Charles.three basic.145 syncopated. Chant. "crushed.45.117 "Bluen note.24. 4 blues scale.128.73 moving Broken Block.l40 Breaks. 26 varying.84 Diminished seventh chord.101.141.46 Cadence.42 various types of. blues.82 Duple rhythm.161 blues scale option.28 "quick" cadence."Cripple Clarence.161 Melodic outlines.60 Form outline.25. Eight bar blues.100-101 clusters. 116 "Dorian" mode.162 swing Bass.25.116 "Fill-in" chord formula.15.17. permittedJ7 Dixieland.41.2. Clarence.84 "Oom-Pahn.hportant Ewell.116 single note."Cow Cown.l70. 116 Jugband.44. " "bent.102 Essential tones.59~72~81~98~115~ 127. also see Theme and Variation form Form 0utlines.59.27.143 acciaccatura.see Cadence uncharacteristic.116 Clusters (in grace note technique1.ll6 line.4.see Chart divergence from chart.139.128.on.15.81.lOl Crossrhythm.73.l41 .16 tenths.118 Charts.170 subdominant chord ~anjo.Don.2.159 FOUR O'CLOCK BLUES.4/74 blues scale. 60 " Borrowing from other songs.16." played on the beat." 84 Measures.162 Bass Patterns ~oogie-Woogie. 117 Kinetics.170 Ending. "116 Johnson.start on. standard. 128.82 subito piano.25.60.142 "pick up. 116 Important tones:see Toneslimportant Introdxction.2.73 in bass.27. in.46.116 75 Davenport.5.142 blues scale..26 Dissonance.44." "twang.115. harmony diverge from.160 patterns.127.16 CALIFORNIA BR.139-146 Glissandos.24.99 Form.26.84 down beat.45 single graced notes.160.25 repeated melodic figures.45.128 Dynamics.75. Density.83 chromatic tones.

116 .145.the.also see Melodic variation.101.46 neighboring tone rnelody.161 Repeated notes.25.73.l70 "Thumb-pinkya technique.115 genuine blues.61.140-141.41-47.61 Pentatonic scale.43 Passing tones. " 4 Upbeat.5.Tranolos.46. 17 blues scale.25.25 "correct.74.16 Performance. pentatonic.25.60 Minuet. 141.170 ST.2.see Bass patterns. also see Form outline maintaining interest. 117.116 Mood.100.117.also see Melodic outline Passing tenths. 162 Piano.98-102 Riffs.25 simplification of.60 Theme and Variation form.16.161 voice to piano.27 Dorian mode.85 Swing Era.26 Variation. important.116.162 Syncopation.162.42 walking. 46 ragtime.46 Triplets.4. triplet.lOl Tenths.116. adjustments.16." 100 expansion of.102 Rocking motion.140 right hand.142 prot otype.16.128.116 Thematic simplification. duplet vs.17 permitted dissonances. 2.83 Train blues.162 ragtimey.25.144.117 ST.l7 SEE SEE RIDER. LOUIS BLUES STOMP.16 "Tag" ending.basic blues.12 8 RIFF BOOGIE.100.82.162 Styles.117 Tremolo.l70.3 chant. 16 folk rag. 100. duplet.see Glissandos.160-161 meaning of.44.170 Prototype blues melody.2.l7 shifting.Melody.116.25 Ragtime.l43 Waltz.see Melodic pickup repeated note.25.85.alsosee "Piano" Out1ine.72-75 "Sliden.145 thumb-pinJq.116 SHAKIN' LOOSE. collection of.102.170 subdivided triplet.5 Run.from. 73 subdivided.also see Swing bass 0rnamentations.seeGlissando Spacing. unusual.142 New Orleans marching band.45-46.also see "Kinetics" Neighboring tone melody.142 Rhythm.26.2.82 harmonic minor.26.140 themes.117 "Oom-Pah" bass. rocking chords in left hand.42.16 swing bass. three.128.146 moving tremolos.42-43.75.127-129 TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE. 27.161 Tones.2-5.59-62 "Turnaround.25 swing bass.Grace notes. 116 Polyrhythmic melodic figures.5 Motions. Subito piano.128 moving.100 "Pick upa. 27.83 Pedal point.16 Register.145.42. in.73 polyrhythmic figures.see Form out1ine.15-17.44.162 Subdominant Polka.Repeated figures.115-118 Scales.Repeated notes.47 Techniques.43.2.5 Repeated melodic figure.170 free use of . LOUIS BLUES.161 SQUARE DANCE BLUES.116 Stride TROUBLED IN MIND BLUES. melodic.

85. 127-129 TROUBLED IN MIND BOOGIE. 101. 46 Triplets. 47 ~echniques. 128 moving. 26 Variation. xi. 145. collection of. 27. also see Melodic variation. xiii. 170 "Thumb-pinky" technique. 170. Mama. also see Form outline maintaining interest. 25. see Melodic pickup repeated note. 85. 83 Train blues. xiii. 27. 59-62 llTurnaroundl'. 161 voice to piano. 161 Tones. 117 Tremolo. x. 101 Tenths. to. 2. 73 subdivided. 128 TROUBLED IN MIND BLUES. 74. unusual. 42-43. 42 walking. 128. from. 25. 45-46. 145 thumb-pinky. x. 170 free use of. 116 Yancey. 160-161 meaning of. 145. 4."Tag" ending. 100. 143 Waltz. xiii I . 61. 116 Thematic simplification. 60 Theme and Variation form. important. 140-141. 4 Upbeat. 5.


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