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

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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.

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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.

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Blues Piano Crash Course #9: The Melody Machine

PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).

Lesson #9  (video) “The Melody Machine”

This thing I like to call the  “melody machine” is by no means a new technique for creating strong melodies. Singers, composers and improvisers have built melodies this way forever.  In a nutshell, it’s a specific way of using the underlying chord progression as a “generator” of melodic material.

Sometimes this “melody generating” concept doesn’t get enough of a spotlight. By spotlight, I mean pointing it out and teaching it, in places where students can fully appreciate the power of the results.

So here’s a great place for that spotlight:  the art and science of creating powerful blues licks!

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Visual Piano Chord Catalog of 108+ Piano Chords

108 Piano Chords

Here is an interactive  eBook that I put together as a reference for my Piano Chords 108 series. As a member, you have 24×7 access to this feature.

 

IMPORTANT:

This book can serve as a stand-alone reference for checking your piano chords.

However:

The sole purpose of my Piano Chords 108 series is to teach piano students how to memorize all 108 of these chords as they appear on the piano keyboard.

Therefore, this catalog should be used, ideally, only to check your understanding of the memorization system taught here.

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Blues Lick #6: “Locked up”

 

Welcome Back to a Study in Blues Piano!


Blues Study Lick #6, “Locked Up”

This is a really exciting technique for what I like to call the “Big Blues” sound.  By “Big Blues,” I mean dramatic, exciting, full, like you might hear from a jazz big band.  This kind of lick also works great for building to a climax in your “blues story” (a good solo usually tells a story).
The name of this lick, “Locked Up,” ain’t necessarily because what you’re saying with your fingers might be a story about going to jail. In this video, “Locked up” actually refers to the core idea of the lesson, something called “locked rhythm.”

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Blues Lick #12 “Chromatic Sixths”

Congratulations! After finishing this lesson, you will have completed the entire course, “A Study in Blues Piano – Focusing on 12 Licks!”

You will then have learned (1) a complete intro section, (2) lots of raw soloing material (specifically, those 12 licks and their endless possibilities), for you to copy, extend, alter, etc., (3) a solid structure for your soloing (that is, the 12-bar blues structure, with a supporting bass-line). Also (4), you now have a solid “turn-around” to use, which will keep that energy moving forward, into each new chorus, and finally, (5), that same turn-around can be used as an ending (and very effectively).

So, here we go, the final lesson: Lick Number 12, “Chromatic Sixths.”  This pattern is way-cool, and also quite versatile.  It has a traditional, honky-tonk sound you will probably recognize, a real staple of the “boogie/blues/rock/jazz” piano vocabulary.

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