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Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #1 
I've been trying to figure out what the "blue note" is according to musical theory, and am a bit confused. The term seems to be used for the flattened third, fifth and seventh of a parent major scale, but some places it's claimed that the flat fifth (i.e. the tritone) is the  "blue note". I've also seen that in a minor pentatonic scale the tritone is added as the blue note to make it a blues scale, while in a major pentatonic, the note added is the minor (flat) third, which makes sense since it's the same note in the parent major scale. I also notice that chromatic movements is present in many blues licks and phrases, where the flattened notes creates a tension that is resolved upwards or downwards. One particular example is the chromatic root migration created by tritone substitution for the V chord in a ii-V-I progression (giving ii-bii-I). I've got a feeling that all of this is related, and is the key to what makes the blues tonality, but can't find any explicit discussion and explanation of this relation.
I've looked in Chord Chemistry on blues progressions, but can only find that the progressions are said to sound more or less "bluesy".

One explanation that I can find is that the way we play with chords really is based upon equal temperament, while the African part of the blues tonality is based on different scales, so the "blue" notes sort of withdraws from the theoretical framework.

Now this may be a little out of place here, since I don't know if this is a topic within Ted's field of work (or even if I've just misunderstood or made some really wrong interpretations or conclusions), but I still hope someone may enlighten me a little more!

Anyhow, the main point is of course not the theory by itself, but to be able to play just the right tones to express the music in the moment!

PS! Just found a great article on the subject here, in the file blue-note-artikkel.pdf. Sorts out a lot of the questions above, but I'll leave the post for anyone who may be interested. Wonder if it's just an ironic coincidence that the author is a fellow Norwegian?


Posts: 940
Reply with quote  #2 
Ted felt that there was no such thing as "coincidence". Barbara
Barbara Franklin
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