Three Early-Intermediate Blues For Piano
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Three Early-Intermediate Blues for Piano

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The Three Early-Intermediate Blues For Piano follow the standard 12-bar blues form while challenging the early-intermediate pianist with a surprising variety of techniques.

Here are THREE EARLY-INTERMEDIATE BLUES that cover a surprising amount of technique in three pages.

  1. Not Two Blue Part Invention: an actual two-part invention/canon in a blues form.
  2. Sea Miner Blues (C Minor Blues). A good opportunity to read with three flats in the key signature.
  3. Short and Winding Blues:  Shifts between C, F, and G positions and require some non-standard fingering to make the transition work.

NOTES from the music:

 

Not Two Blues Part Invention

Really, this is a canon, but I couldn't resist the pun in the title. Like the other two in this set, it follows the standard 12-bar blues form, so the underlying chords change from C7 (I) to F7 (IV) back to C7, G7(V), F7, ending on C7. For the first six measures, anyway, it appears to be a perfect canon: the left hand perfectly imitates the right one measure later. The changing chords, however, require the melody to adapt. At measure 7, the left hand plays a G on the third beat instead of an F, which is what the right hand played in the previous measure. Why? To fit the harmony: in measure 6, we were operating in F7 land, where the F works perfectly. But over the C7 in measure 7? Not so much. (Try it with the F in measure seven, and you'll see what I mean!) It goes on to the end, becoming less and less "perfect" and more and more musical. Such is the life of a contrapuntal blues.

Sea Miner Blues

Minor blues, like minor-keyed music in general, tend to be more harmonically varied. In this piece, for example, when moving to the IV chord at measure 7, it could easily be F minor (iv). Instead, I chose the dominant 7th to give it a brighter feel. But you can change it to F minor, but simply substituting the A naturals with A flats—it will still work.

The Short and Winding Blues

This piece provides good exercises both in wrist rotation and transitioning smoothly between three hand positions: C, F, and G. This is particularly true in measures 9-11, where the sudden shifts require some tricky fingering. Although I composed it with straight 8th notes, several of my students have opted to swing it. It works either way.

 

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