Blues Piano Crash Course #11: How to play blues piano in any key (how to transpose)

Welcome to the very last lesson of the The Blues Piano Crash Course!

 


Lesson #11


How to Play Blues Piano in Any Key

Learn how to transpose the chords, scales, and concepts you learned in this crash course into other keys.

“All the same things” apply to playing blues in any key.  You will simply be learning the steps needed to move your musical patterns and shapes — that is, the three main chords, the blues scale, your favorite licks, etc. — into any desired key!

Especially good keys for you to learn to jam in are:

C, E*, A, G, B-flat, and F.

*Q: What new key to play in first?

A: For most contemporary keyboard players, I recommend that you first apply the concepts from this lesson (#11) to playing Blues in E.  My main reason for suggesting “E Blues” as your next key to conquer is that most guitar players really like to jam in E.  In standard guitar tuning, the key of E has lots of convenient hand positions, including especially comfortable fingerings for the E blues scale.  I’m sure there are other reasons for the popularity of E in guitar blues, but I think this is a big one. (I’m going by my own limited guitar-playing experience, with that “E is easier theory.”)  But regardless of the reasons, there is absolutely no doubt that E is popular with guitarists and rock/blues bands, so if you’re planning on jamming with guitarists, that’s the first new key for you to learn. (Tip: You can pick “E” up right after, or right along with, your current studies in C — I’m thinking “bilingual” studies here in a sense.).

VIDEO LESSON

Continue reading “Blues Piano Crash Course #11: How to play blues piano in any key (how to transpose)”

Chord Symbols: add2 or add9? (includes my video on using added ninth to chords)

Hi Everyone!

I recently received a question today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, the topic of which is subject to debate.  The question is in response to one of my videos about using add9 chords on piano.  (A link to the video is included below.)

I thought I would share the thread here:

VIEWER: Isn’t the D in Cadd9 supposed to be an octave higher? I guess I’m just confused as to why it isn’t Add2 instead.

Continue reading “Chord Symbols: add2 or add9? (includes my video on using added ninth to chords)”

Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (Rootless, Left-Hand, Type B)

“Type B” Rootless Chord Voicings for Piano

“Rootless voicings” on piano (especially for left-hand support) are great for handling big jazz chords that normally can’t be covered by one hand alone. This video tutorial  shows you how to play a rich sounding II-V-I in the left hand, while allowing the bass player (or you, on another beat) to cover the root. Continue reading “Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (Rootless, Left-Hand, Type B)”

Jazz/Rock/Blues Soloing Tip: Using the ‘Rock-Bottom Four’ of the Blues Scale

A Powerful Tip for Blues, Jazz, and Rock Improvisers

Good day!

This is a slide show, which is a common format that I use on my Instagram channel.

I have discovered that these types of posts are very popular on my Instagram page, so I’m going to start featuring these here, too!

Continue reading “Jazz/Rock/Blues Soloing Tip: Using the ‘Rock-Bottom Four’ of the Blues Scale”

Blues Piano Crash Course #8: Blue Notes & Pitch-Bending

from The Blues Piano Crash Course

Lesson #8  (video)

In this lesson, we master a couple of specific blues piano tricks of the trade.  I’m using the word specific here, because we’re going to use these devices with a goal in mind, a musical effect that is pretty specific.

The “tricks” in this video are focused on emulating those sounds of blues singers and other instruments who can bend their notes (slide or play between pitches).  You’ll learn about “blue notes,” and also pick up a blues-boogie playing technique called the slide-off.

Continue reading “Blues Piano Crash Course #8: Blue Notes & Pitch-Bending”

How to improvise in modal jazz: “So What” by Miles Davis

Attention!

The following post is not just for jazz players!


It seems to me that contemporary modal improv, which had its jazz  birth in the late 1950’s, was a huge influence on the increasingly improvisational rock of the 1960’s, (even when players might not have consciously realized it!), and has never stopped being at the heart of so many great pop/rock/jazz solos until this very day.

This is a brief introduction to the idea of “modal jazz.”  We’re going to look at probably the most famous example of modal jazz, a tune called “So What,” by Miles Davis and Bill Evans.

We’re looking at this piece because (1) it was part of a ground-breaking approach to jazz improvisation and composition when it came out, and it’s still definitive of the modal jazz genre (maybe the definitive  recording?) (2) because “So What” is the best-known track on one of top-selling jazz albums of all time, “Kind of Blue.”

Continue reading “How to improvise in modal jazz: “So What” by Miles Davis”

Here’s a little bit about “So What” chords

I have a micro-slideshow for you today, about “So What” chords.  This one will be followed soon by Part Two. Then, I’ll be adding to these posts, more detail that is, which I do a lot with already posted stuff.


After these quick slides, you might like these two video posts by me, on “Fourth Chords,” which are closely related to “So What” chords:

Fourth Chords on Piano

More on Fourth Chords


Here’s those slides…

SLIDE 1.

Continue reading “Here’s a little bit about “So What” chords”

Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (rootless, left-hand, Type A)

“Type A” Rootless Chord Voicings for Piano

“Rootless voicings” on piano (especially for left-hand support) are great for handling big jazz chords that normally can’t be covered by one hand alone. This video tutorial  shows you how to play a rich sounding II-V-I in the left hand, while allowing the bass player (or you, on another beat) to cover the root.

Continue reading “Chord Voicings for Jazz Piano (rootless, left-hand, Type A)”

Jazz improv practice: A nice drill using “approach tones”

Good Day!

Here’s a nice jazz drill, to give you practice on:

(1) Adding interest to your melody lines,  by sometimes preceding the “target tone(s)” of a chord with “approach tones;” and,

(2) increased mastery of any given scale, especially as it relates to the underlying chords.

As a result, the repeated act of mindfully (and not mindlessly) practicing this drill can increase your general facility with approach tones, as well as give you (possibly new) theoretical insights regarding chord-scale relationships.


VIDEO

 

Blues Lick #10: Learn to Play a Complete 12-Bar Introduction

Welcome back!

Today’s lesson is more than just a lick…

We have here a two-handed intro section, a great setup for getting any blues jam started. This opening groove covers a full 12-bar cycle, giving your listeners an exciting intro (a.k.a. “head”) which leads nicely into the next 12-bars, where you can begin your right-handed soloing.  Note, you can use the left-hand (bass line) of this groove throughout your entire jam. It’s a simple and powerful bass line that keeps the beat going strong.  But wait, there’s more! This lesson also includes a sample opening for your solo.

VIDEO LESSON Continue reading “Blues Lick #10: Learn to Play a Complete 12-Bar Introduction”