I’m very proud of this A minor blues duo which my teacher Joachim and I composed ourselves. It’s not your usual blues but a little something special. And it’s not as easy to play as it sounds because you’ve got syncopations, staccato and Jazz chords. You play on a part of the fretboard you don’t usually play on and you have to listen to one another very carefully. Suitable for guitar lessons.
Minor Blues? Any kind of blues!
Fingerstyle blues music was what made me pick up my guitar at age 37 and begin to practice seriously. Before that I had just been strumming some Leonard Cohen and Christmas carol chords every now and then and tried taking lessons for a year and a half a while back. Always interested in the instrument, but finding it difficult to really relate. Campfire classics and sing-alongs were just not catching my interest.
Then I came across Doc Watson (Deep River Blues, Sittin‘ on top of the world) on YouTube one day. A real awakening to me. Fingerstyle blues guitar, that’s my kind of guitar. And although today with my new teacher I enjoy to play every style from Mozart’s „Rondo Alla Turca“ to Lady Gaga’s „Million Reasons“ I am always very happy to come back to the blues music like we did with our very own „Minor Blues“.
Originated in the Deep South
I’m sure you have already read on Wikipedia that „Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads.
The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes (or „worried notes“), usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.“
So, how did you learn to love the blues?
Guitar tab notation has been around for hundreds of years
About guitar tabs, Wikipedia says: „Tablature (or tabulature, or tab for short) is a form of musical notation indicating instrument fingering rather than musical pitches. Tablature is common for fretted stringed instruments such as the lute, vihuela, or guitar, as well as many free reed aerophones such as the harmonica.“
Don’t feel like a secondary type of musician just because you’re using guitar tabs instead of reading music notes. I read a comment on the internet once, saying: „My husband is playing the guitar. But he isn’t doing it right, he is just cheating with guitar tabs.“ That comment left me rather furious. Well, lady, did you ever try to play the guitar yourself, no matter what kind of notation?
Did you know that guitar tabs have been around for a very long time and have been used by musicians for hundreds of years? Quoting Wikipedia again: „Tablature was common during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and is commonly used today in notating many forms of music. Three types of organ tablature were used in Europe: German, Spanish and Italian. To distinguish standard musical notation from tablature, the former is usually called „staff notation“ or just „notation“.“
Of course, it’s important to learn to read music notes, too, if you want to understand music and your instrument. I’m just saying, don’t feel bad to be using guitar tabs.
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