Learning to play the blues in a minor key is surprisingly a lot easier than you would think, and is often a great way to get started if you are keen to learn how to play blues on the piano.
To get you started, here are the notes for each key and a description of how you could play them to create that awesome piano blues sound!
A minor blues notes
You only need to use six notes in order to play the blues in minor on the piano, but it’s also important to remember which notes NOT to use if you want to create the blues style.
Here are the six notes for the A minor blues –
When you hear these notes they already sound like a blues song – and this is only a scale! Such is the power of the blues when you know which notes to hit. Here’s how the above A minor blues scale sounds –
When looking at your keyboard or piano and attempting to play these notes, you will notice that you are very simply playing most of the notes between the octave A’s, with the exception of the B and F (2nd and 6th note on the A scale). These are the two notes NOT to play when playing minor blues in the key of A.
All six of these notes are on the white keys, leaving just the Eb as your only black key. This is why playing piano blues in the key of A minor is a lot easier than most people realise, as you are mainly navigating your way around the white keys.
D minor blues notes
Here are the notes for the key of D minor –
We use the same rule as the A minor key and remove the 2nd and 6th notes from the D scale which are E and B. You will notice that all the notes are again on the white keys with the exception of the Ab.
E minor blues notes
Here are the notes for the key of E minor –
If you place one finger on the E and another on the E an octave above, you will again see that we are again purposely excluding the 2nd and 6th notes which are F and C.
How to use these notes to play minor piano blues
Now that you know which notes will work for the above keys of A, D and E minor, the difficult part is now attempting to play them in a particular sequence creating the blues style.
The best way to begin to play these notes is to start from the bottom and play them in order one after the other – as seen in the sheet music above. As soon as you are familiar with the notes you can then also play them in reverse, starting from the top and working your way to the bottom, very much like you would if playing a scale or exercise.
Even in this basic order you will instantly start to hear the blues, and this is only the beginning…