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Harmonica Lessons: 2nd Position Cross Harp: The 12-Bar Blues Progression

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The Blues is a particular form developed
by African-American musicians.
It's got three chords in it.
On a C harmonica it's got the G,
the C, and the D in it's most basic form,
which are also called the one,
four and five chords because, in G,
G is the first note of the scale.
C is the fourth note of the scale,
and D is the fifth note.
So, if you have these chords,
G seven, C seven, and
D seven, it's the one,
four, and five chords and
these are the three basic
chords of the blues.
And they go like this.
Then the four
chord, the C.
And then back to the G.
Then the D, the five chord.
Then the four chord.
In American music,
there's an amazing amount of tunes
that use this blues progression.
It's called the 12 bar
blues chord progression.
There are TV themes, there are all sorts
of popular songs, they're just blues.
No one could really put a copyright on
the blues progression cuz no one knows
who wrote it, who came up with it,
how old it is.
But the blues progression is used
as a basis for many, many songs,
and not just in the world of the blues.
In pop music, rock and roll, and
all sorts of different styles of music.
In jazz.
And so now that we're in the second
position we can start to play some blues,
even though,
to really play the blues right,
you have to be able to bend notes,
to be able to really wail on these things.
And bending notes sounds like this.
And you'll learn that in the next level of
this world of harmonica here,
at Howard Levy's Harmonica World.
But for right now, I just wanted
to show you a little bit of that.
So I'm gonna try to do something
I've never done before,
which is to play a blues
without bending any notes,
just to let you know what it sounds like,
So, maestro,
why don't we roll the piano here?
That was
the first four bars.
Now the next one.
It's a C seven chord.
Here's the G seven chord.
That's called a warble.
I'll show you more later.
Now the five chord.
The one chord.
This is called the turnaround.
Again, where the form turns around.
Now we're back at the top again.