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Blues Scales for Piano

Adding a blue note to the regular Pentatonic scale gives the Pentatonic Blues Scale. These
scales are for obvious reason perfect when playing blues on the piano. The "Major Blues Scale"
is some less common than the "Minor Blues Scale" and therefore we start with minor and you
find the major by scrolling down.

The blues originate from a mix of different sources in music and therefore theres no satisfying
explanation in theoretical terms about this scale. But the most important thing is of course how it
sounds when you are using it. Try these scales below and you will hear the blues!
Minor Blues Scales
Here are pictures and notes of the minor pentatonic blues scales. See also Major Blues Scales.
C Pentatonic Blues

Notes: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
D Pentatonic Blues

Notes: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D
E Pentatonic Blues

Notes: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E
F Pentatonic Blues

Notes: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F
G Pentatonic Blues

Notes: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F, G
A Pentatonic Blues

Notes: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A
B Pentatonic Blues

Notes: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B
Pentatonic Blues Scales overview
C: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
D: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D
E: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E
F: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F
G: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F#, G
A: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A
B: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B

Intervals and steps
Interval: 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7
Semi-notes: 3 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 2
Formula: Whole and a half, Whole, Half, Half, Whole and a half, Whole
Theory and tips for improvisation
The pentatonic blues scale is built upon three dominant chords. For example in the case of C
pentatonic the three chords is C7 F7 G7. We can see the relationship when comparing the
notes in the scale:
C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
with the notes in the three chords:
(C7) C, E, G, Bb (F7) F A C Eb (G7) G B D F
There is a close correlation as you can see.

So how can you improvise on the piano with blues scales? By learning these scales you will get
great tools for improvising in the musical style of blues (these scales are also used in jazz
improvisation). A tip is to use the left hand for a chord and play the notes of the scale with the
right. You can then combine a C blues scale with C7, F7 and G7 chords. In the same way you
can combine a G blues scale with the chords G7, C7 and D7 and so on in different keys.

You can also improvise blues in minor. A nice combination is the chords Am7, Dm7 and E7
together with the A pentatonic blues scale.
Major Blues Scales
Here are pictures and notes of the major pentatonic blues scales.
C Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, C
D Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: D, E, F, F#, A, B, D
E Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: E, F#, G, G#, B, C#, E
F Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: F, G, Ab, A, C, D, F
G Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: G, A, Bb, B, D, E, G
A Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: A, B, C, C#, E, F#, A
B Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#, B
Pentatonic Major Blues Scales overview
C: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, C
D: D, E, F, F#, A, B, D
E: E, F#, G, G#, B, C#, E
F: F, G, Ab, A, C, D, F
G: G, A, Bb, B, D, E, G
A: A, B, C, C#, E, F#, A
B: B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#, B

Intervals and steps
Interval: 1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6
Semi-notes: 2 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 2 - 2
Formula: Whole, Half, Half, Whole and a half, Whole, Whole and a half