G7 U2 – Sad Songs

12-Bar Blues Song Lyrics

“Telling a Story with Lyrics and Music”

The lyrics of a 12-bar blues song often follow what’s known as an AAB pattern. “A” refers to the first and second four-bar verse, and “B” is the third four-bar verse. In a 12-bar blues, the first and second lines are repeated, and the third line is a response to them—often with a twist.

Here is an example of a 12-bar blues stanza from “Dust My Broom,” as performed by Elmore James, and broken down by bars (measures), beats, chords, and lyrics. Give it a listen while following the form on the chart below.

In each 12-bar stanza, the third four-bar segment  or the 9-12th bars), serves to resolve the previous four-bar segments. The resolution may signal the end of the song or set up another stanza. If the song continues, the transition to the next stanza is known as the turnaround. “Dust My Broom,” for example, contains seven 12-bar stanzas, with a turnaround between each.

Not all blues songs follow the 12-bar format, but by understanding this basic musical framework, the listener will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for all blues music.

 

Here is a 12 bar blues called Hound Dog sung by Elvis Presley

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine
Well they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Yeah they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine
Well they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Yeah they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine

 

Compose a song with lyrics in 12-bar blues form.

*Use the following melody of Honky Tonk Blues to form your own original lyrics to a Sad Blues Song. 

Then CLICK HERE to go to the Performance Task 6

 

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CRITERION A/B – KNOWLEDGE & DEVELOPING SKILLS
Three verses in correct form (A A’B)
Chord changes notated above words
Melody composed using Blues Scale that fits with text
 Lyrics, Melody, and Chords are notated correctly
Notes, rhythms and lyrics are placed with clear intention  
CRITERION C – THINKING CREATIVELY

Project demonstrates creativity/originality

(lyrics and melody must be original about something sad)