“Piano blues” is a term used to describe a style of music that combines elements of blues and jazz with the traditional piano as the main instrument. This genre has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century, and has been a major influence on the development of popular music. If you listen carefully to even pop music of today you will hear chord progressions and blues melodies from this amazing style of music. From the soulful blues and jazz melodies of Ray Charles to the virtuosic improvisations of Dr. John; piano blues has produced some of the most iconic and enduring music of all time. In this article we will delve into the history, key players, and enduring legacy of the piano blues.
If you’re interested in blues music and more specifically piano blues, then it’s important to understand how the structure of this popular musical style is formed. Learning how to play piano blues is not as difficult as you may have first thought. Read on to find out more about how this great style of music has inspired so many other styles and how you yourself can better understand it.
The structure of blues
Piano blues is a genre of music that combines elements of blues, gospel, and jazz. It is characterized by its simple chord progressions, syncopated rhythms, and soulful melodies. Playing the piano blues can be a fun and rewarding experience, and it is a great way to improve your piano skills and explore different musical styles.
To get started with piano blues, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the chord progressions and rhythms that are commonly used in this genre. Blues music is typically based on the 12-bar blues chord progression, which is a repeating pattern of chords that is used as the foundation of many blues songs. The most common chords used in the 12-bar blues progression are the I, IV, and V chords, which are the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords of a key, respectively.
Another important aspect of piano blues is syncopation, which is the accentuation of the off-beats or weak beats in a musical phrase. This creates a sense of tension and release that is characteristic of blues music. To incorporate syncopation into your piano playing, try accentuating the off-beats by playing them louder or for a longer duration than the other beats in a measure.
Boogie woogie piano
Once you have a basic understanding of the chord progressions and rhythms of piano blues, you can start experimenting with different techniques and styles to personalize your playing. One technique that is commonly used in blues piano is the “boogie-woogie” style, which is characterized by a steady bass line and a repeating pattern of chords in the left hand. To play in this style, you can practice playing a steady bass line with your left hand while playing chords or melody with your right hand.
Another technique that is often used in piano blues is the “blues scale,” which is a variation of the pentatonic scale that includes an additional “blue note” between the third and fourth degrees. This scale is often used to create a sense of tension and dissonance in blues music. To play the blues scale on piano, you can practice playing the notes of the scale in different combinations and experimenting with different phrasing and articulation.
In addition to practicing techniques, it’s essential to listen to and study the music of other blues pianists to get an idea of different approaches and styles. You can listen to the piano blues of the greats such as Ray Charles, Otis Spann, or Champion Jack Dupree to get a sense of their phrasing and style, and try to incorporate some of their elements into your playing.
Conclusion – piano blues is awesome!
In conclusion, playing piano blues can be a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to explore different musical styles and improve your piano skills. By understanding the basics of chord progressions, syncopation, and techniques such as boogie-woogie and the blues scale, you can start personalizing your playing and experimenting with different approaches. Remember to also listen to and study the music of other blues pianists to gain inspiration and new ideas.
If you want to get started today and learn to play piano blues, you need to make sure you have the right instrument. Here’s a fantastic digital piano you could get started with that has the full 88 keys – just like a real piano – The Alesis Recital 88 key digital piano. At only £200 this makes learning to play blues piano (or any style) affordable for everyone!