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The Songwriters Workshop: Melody Jimmy Kachulis Lesson 36 Major Blues over Progressions

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LESSON 36
Major Blues Over Progressions
Major pentatonic blues melodies can be sung over any chord progression in a major key. The major blues scale is particularly useful when the chords change quickly much easier than matching all those chord tones. But its also used over any chords that have a blues color in them (see the Appendix for blues scales and chords). Hit songs that use the major blues scale over a progression are very common. These songs use the scale over the following types of chord progressions:

One Chord: Hold On, Im Comin, Great Balls of Fire, Midnight Hour Chords in a Major Key: Heart of Gold, Man in the Mirror, September, Desperado, Crocodile Rock, When a Man Loves a Woman, Beast of Burden Fast Chords: Hit Me With Your Best Shot, And When I Die, Soul Man, Believe Me Baby (I Lied), The Way You Do the Things You Do, In the Midnight Hour, Gimme Some Lovin Blues Chords: Hold On, Im Comin, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Purple Haze, In a NY Minute (Ronnie McDowell), Bird Dog

Listen
63

Listen to the rst part of Major Blues Over Progressions: Five-Foot-Two (CD 63). As you listen, notice that the same C major blues pentatonic melody works over a onechord groove, various chords in the key of C, blues-colored chords, and a fast chord progression. A. Melody Over One Chord
C

j j &4 4 b b
Five - foot two in her high - heeled shoes

j j j b
We all stop and stare


But

& w
she

J
struts right on

J
by

97

B. Melody Over Major-Key Chords


C Amin F G

4 & 4 b
Five - foot two
F

j j b
high - heeled shoes
C

j j b j
We all stop and stare


But

in her
G

& w
she

J
struts right on

J
by

C. Melody Over Blues-Colored Chords


C 7( # 9) F7 C 7( # 9) F7 C 7( # 9) F7 C 7( # 9)

4 & 4 b
Five - foot two
F7

j j b
high - heeled shoes

j j b j
C 7( # 9)

F7


But

in her
G7

We all stop and stare


F7

C 7( # 9)

& w
she

J
struts right on

J
by

D. Melody Over Fast Progression


C F C F C F C C F C F C F C

j &4 4 b
Five - foot two
Amin G

j b
shoes
G C

j j j b
We all stop and stare
F C F C

F C


But

in her
F

high-heeled

& w
she

J
struts right on

J
by

98

L E S S O N 3 6 Major Blues Over Progressions

Listen again, and sing along with the recording. Did you hear how the melody seems to float above the chords? When you compose a melody by using this scale, youll use the reverse process. Youll use the scale over any of these types of chord progressions.

Writing Exercises
64

Sing the following exercises along with Rhythm Track 26: Five-Foot-Two (CD 64) or to your original rhythm track using any chords in a major key.

Practice
Reset the lyrics to Five-Foot-Two in three different way using only the notes of the major pentatonic blues scale. Five-foot-two in her high-heeled shoes We all stop and stare But she struts right on by

Set Your Own Lyric


Create an original lyric, and set it using notes from the major blues scale.

Rewrite the Hits


From the songs you know, find an example of a melody that uses the major blues scale over chords in a major key. Then create your own major blues setting of that songs lyrics over the same chords.

Write a Song
Create a song where the verse uses a chord-tone melody (see units II and III) and the chorus uses a major pentatonic blues melody over a chord progression.

L E S S O N 3 6 Major Blues Over Progressions

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