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Playing the Blues Scale on a Piano

7 of 7 in Series: The Essentials of Bringing Expression to Your Piano Playing

No matter what type of music you favor when you play the piano, you’re likely to play the blues scale at some point. You can hear it in rock, country, jazz, and of course . . . the blues.

This scale is a real rebel, practically throwing the rules of scale building out the window. Of course, there aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules for scale building, but this scale is rebellious anyway. Here’s how:

  • It begins with one and a half steps.

  • It has only seven notes.

  • It has two half-steps in a row.

The step pattern for this seditious little scale is 11/2-Whole-Half-Half-11/2-Whole.

Playing the blues scale won’t give you the blues.
Playing the blues scale won’t give you the blues.

Where else have you seen a scale with this much mojo? After you know the blues scale, playing it is as addictive as eating peanuts. You can use the notes in the blues scale, or blue notes, for all kinds of little riffs and melodies.

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