G7 U2 Task 6 – IMPROVISE

PERFORM AN IMPROVISED SOLO 

 

TASK – Perform a blues solo over the 12 bar blues I-IV-V chord progression using the notes of the blues scale, improvisation, and learned riffs 

*Everyone will play or scat sing a 12 measure solo using the C Blues scale for assessment in class.

TSC – Assessment using: “B & C & D Criteria” and ATL Collaboration and Thinking Skills

RESOURCES: PRINT OUT

  1. C blues scale with keyboard and fill in the pitches of the C Blues scale on the piano keyboard supplied.
  2. Blues Scale and 12 Bar Chords in C


INTRO:

Part of a musician’s job while playing a blues is to improvise a solo over the 12 bar blues chord progression which we previously learned to play.  Go HERE if you need to review the 12 bar Blues progression.

The term “improvise” in this situation means you create your own melody which you will perform while the band plays the 12 bar blues chord progression.  We will be doing this in the key of C and therefore using the pitches of the C Blues scale to create our “Vocabulary” (musical ideas or phrases) that we will use in our solo.

*To relate it to writing a poem in English this vocabulary would be similar to the words we would use in the poem.

PROCESS

The process of creating our vocabulary for our solo: In order to make own new melody sound nice over the 12 bar Blues we will have to play it in the same key as the original song and using the Blues scale. In our case we will be using the pitches found in the C Blues Scale (click HERE to review the C Blues Scale).

We often think that “Improvised” means that it is created on the spot with no rehearsal.  That is true to some extent but all musicians need to rehearse “improvising a solo” and work out ideas ahead of time that they like the sound of and will use in their solo.

Start by learning some riffs that use the pitches of the C Blues Scale: Learn to play several of the following one measure riffs. Each measure should be considered as one “riff” or idea. 

Your goal is to make a sentence or solo using the riff vocabulary. You can use any number of them as notated or create your own versions them.  You do not have to use them all. Remember that it is OK to use “Repetition” of our ideas in music. Do not be afraid to use the same idea more that once. 

Incorporate your favourite “riffs” into a solo that you perform over the 12 bar blues chord progression.  The play along audio recording below plays the 12 bar blues progression 4 times through to give you lots of practice.

*The following riffs are all using the pitches found in a C Blues Scale so they will all sound good in a Blues song in C.

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Which riffs do you like best?

Put several of them together and create your own improvised solo.  It is fun to see where it takes you.  

Challenge yourself: Try to then create and include some of your own original blues licks using the tones of the blues scale and/or the chords of the Blues Progression. 

Here are some riffs to use for you improvisation solo!  or… make up your own using the C blues scale! 


REHEARSAL TRACK – 12 Bar Blues Backing Tracks with chords and bass line in C Major

SOLO CHALLENGE

Now that you have created some of your own riffs using the C blues scale, notate them.  Write your ideas down using music notation so you can use them again later.

One way to create new original riffs is by using some of the riffs above as a guide or starting point and then make alterations to make them your own.

For Interest please use a variety of note and rest values (do not make all riffs with only 1/4 notes) Also try to use some syncopation by adding an 1/8 rest on a beat.

Play some of your riffs with the backing track below – try to play a lick in one bar and rest for the second bar, play the third bar and rest the fourth etc.

Youtube Backing Track – Notice how it uses a G chord in the last bar instead of a C chord

Blues Songs for Performance

  1. The 12 Bar Chord Progression

                2. The Walking Bass Line

             3. The Cool Accompaniment

  4. The AAB Form Melody with spots to Improvise

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

DALLAS BLUES PIANO using 5th ad 6th Bass Line and IMPROV

 

 


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OTHER PERFORMANCE IDEAS

 

Using the riffs from above or your own original riffs create your own blues song using the template below

LINK to Noteflight Template 

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