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Harmonica Lessons: "Offbeat Blues"

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This lesson is about
playing on the off beats.
Now, in music the rhythm has the beat.
The individual beats are called
down beats, one, two, three, four.
And in between those down beats
are up beats or off beats.
So it's, one, two, three, four, one and
two and three and four and one and
two and three and four and.
So you've heard a play on a harmonica
on the up beats, just a simple chord.
[SOUND] Whoops.
It's like a drummer side hat, boom,
chick, boom, chick, boom, chick, okay?
Now, in terms of blues, I'm gonna deal
with the shuffle rhythm, which is,
a little bit more synchopated then
just boom, chick, boom, chick.
The feeling of the shuffle is
like a dotted eighth note and
16th [SOUND], one and two and three and
four and one and two [SOUND],
sort of in between
a dotted eighth and
sixteenth and a triplet.
So if we have the downbeats [SOUND],
now we're on the upbeat
and that's like On
the Road Again
So you have to get used to playing the
harmonica on the swinging part of where
the drummer's putting his cymbal.
[SOUND] One, two, three, four,
one, [SOUND], that what's happening here.
So, I'm gonna play some simple
licks that go along with,
that are like blues licks, but played
on the off beats, or on the up beats.
So, one, two, three, four
that's one of them.
And then the second one is
a little bit more elaborate
because it involves some tongue blocking,
one and two and three and four and one and
two and three.
See some of those are on the off
beat some are on the down beats
Back when everything in America swung,
which was when the blues started.
All American music swung.
There was hardly anything at all
played in straight eight rhythm.
Everything was this [SOUND],
some variation of swing,
either more like
the double-dotted [SOUND],
even real extreme like that,
or just [SOUND].
Even country music, [SOUND],
even had a little bit of a swing to it.
So second lick is going to be
so it comes in on one and you and
three and four and one and two and three.
And the third lick is gonna be
one [SOUND] and it's a triplet.
One and a two and a [SOUND],
it's a little bit of
a syncopation across bar lines.
But all these licks are gonna be pretty
much exact same for the the one, the four,
and the five chord, and I'll do
something on the turnarounds, okay.
a little
that I
So that's the basic sound of playing on
the off beats and I even included an off
beat figure with one of the choruses.
One, two, three
some of you might recognize that as
Wood Choppers Ball,
that was the theme from the Gong Show.
It was much faster but,
one two three
One of the ways to best learn how to play
like that is to is to be part of a horn
section because horn section
parts in swing music and
even in blues,
a lot of them are on the off beats.
And so if you are lucky enough to be in
a band with horns you'll get a lot of
practice playing like this so I just
wanted to turn you on to this facet of
music, this part of the blues that I
think is a very important part of it.