Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys
[Module One]

Here's a proper 'concert' blues, fully worked out as a repertoire showpiece.

The Pentatonic Blues in Two Keys uses the same pentatonic minor melodic material in E and A minor - both conveniently all-white-key pentatonic scales.

Here's the full, final performance, at practice speed, with the keyboard marked up with the pentatonic scale-tones. Watch-and-listen, seeing if you can 'hear' the T-3-4-5 etc. scale-tone mark-up.

Now here is the stepping-stone performance you're going to aim for first. It doesn't have the tricky 'countermelody' material, but it's a good stand-alone performance nonetheless.

In this module, you learn just the material in E minor.

Learning the melody

First things first: Revise the E minor diatonic (no semi-tones) pentatonic minor scale, and learn the melody.

Take an aerial view. The right hand plays four phrases

  1. The first is the 'model'.
  2. The second is like the first but with one fewer notes.
  3. The third is like the first but with two more notes.
  4. The fourth is nothing like the others!

Engage your brain in your practicing! We're so clever in other ways and we should bring this to bear.

It's advisable to be able to play the melody complete and from memory.

Find the bass

The bass line is five notes descending from the tonic (Name-note - E).

Unlike the melody, the bass line is heavily chromatic (semi-tone heavy)! It descends tonic, minor seventh, major sixth, minor sixth and fifth. Three of the four steps are semi-tones.

Putting it together

Your best plan is to stay calm!

Just one phrase at a time - eight steady bass notes. Take a break between repetitions to let the tension ebb away.

Add a note B - E ending and polish up your mini-performance.

Here is your first chorus (E minor) performance, and the music again for your convenience.

You need to be able to play it fairly securely before going on to the next module, where you learn the material in A minor - two for the price of one!


Thanks for studying with Musicarta
- Come back soon! -

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