Tip #216 – Spicing-Up the Beginning to your 12-Bar Blues

The typical 12-Bar blues format is, of course, made up of 12 measures.  In addition, it features predominantly only three chords: the I7 , IV7 , and V7.

You can also divide the format into different sections (or as I call “rows” when visually represented on a graph or piece of sheet music) based on when the emphasis is, as well as where you begin a new lyric line to the verses:

Today, I am going to be giving you a list of examples to ways you can alter the beginning section of a 12-Bar blues:

Notice the similarities and differences between them, as well as how each of them have a unique motion to getting to the second row starting with the IV7

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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