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Fiddle Lessons: The Blues Form

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Let's talk about the blues.
The blues is a musical form unique to
America, which is
an amazing style and language within
which has affected everybody all over the
It's a huge part of bluegrass music, and
it's actually a huge part of just about
every kind of American music.
If you have a working knowledge of the
and a grasp of the idiom on your
then you can pretty much get by in not
only bluegrass but every kind of music.
There's blues, strong blues element and
bluegrass and
rock-and-roll and jazz and gospel music.
Honky-tonk music,
all kinds of country music, traditional
music of every kind from this country.
And R&B, rhythm and blues, obviously
there's blues in there.
And coincidentally I think even the blues
has a lot of blues in it.
So I think this is a hugely important part
of playing
bluegrass and every kind of music, is to
be really kind of good at the blues.
And one of the great things about the
fiddle is that it's just made for
playing blues.
It's so perfect.
You know, just the way it's tuned.
And the idea that there's no frets, you
there's a lot of manipulating notes in
It's really just a perfect instrument for
this stuff and you can hear so
much of that stuff in great bluegrass
fiddle players.
If you were at that coffee shop and the
guitar player looks over at you and
says, blues in A, kick it off.
Would you know what to do?
What you know how to get through blues?
That's, our first question is, what is a
blues as a actual style of music?
A, a, a form, like, you say, a hoedown is
a form.
A waltz is a form.
It's a way that people pour music into
a structure that enables people to play
So blues is 12,
generally, 90% of the time is 12 measures,
12 bars,
12 little sections of music that
completely cycle over and
over again using the one chord, the four
chord, and the five chord.
Now, we're going to be covering all this
stuff very soon in case you don't know.
If you do know, great.
How else can we say it?
Well, we can actually
sing a blues that describes the blues and
is about the blues.
This is a great piece of blues music which
was tied to me by
a fellow named Dave Rimless who I hope to
have on this this show.
He's a great teacher down in New Jersey.
Great guy, good fiddle player.
He works with kids and he wrote a
wonderful blues called The Blues.
I think so.
So, this is a great way of telling people
what the Blues is.
the first part of the Blues is a lot like
the second part of the Blues.
So there's three parts, right?
We just sang the first part, and the
second part of the blues is
a lot like the first part of the blues,
whoo, and
the third part of the blues is very much
like the other two sections of the blues.
So we have three parts.
We have a four bar section of the blues
which there's a little phrase.
First part of the blues like line second
part of the blues.
The second phrase of the blues also
exactly the same length, four bars.
Second part of the blues very much like
the first part of the blues.
Third part of the blues same length, four
Like the punchline of a joke.
The third part of the blues is very much
like the other two parts of the blues,
except different.
So that's a great way of thinking about
that blues.
And then the second.
One, two, three, four, five.
So, it's something that you've heard that
can internalize the feeling of that 12 bar
section then.
You're well on your way to understanding
how to play the blues.
And we're going to play a blues very soon.
I'm gonna talk a little bit about what
kind of,
how we play the notes in the blues, and
the blues scale, in our next lesson.
And then we're gonna play a blues.