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Making Transitions over the Blues Pt II

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

In my last post in this series I outlined a basic idea that can be employed in the 4th measure of the blues that creates a powerful harmonic transition from the first to the second phrase of the blues or from concert Bb to Eb. Part II of this series introduces a rhythmic variation of this idea.

Before we get into that lets do a quick review of what got us here. Playing blues-scale-based ideas are nice, but diving deeper into the harmony of the blues will elevate your soloing and unlock more sophistication over this form. For many, that starts by creating transition between the phrases of the blues. The fourth measure can be used as one of these transition points by developing language that is based on a short ii-7, V, I in the key of concert Eb (for Bb Blues).

The overall premise for part two of this series is really simple and easily applied to a variety of contexts. It is a basic rhythmic variation to our previous idea that was literally all eighth notes. So here it is - anytime we have four eighth notes we can substitute a quarter-note followed by a triplet in that same 2 beat space.

The rhythmic variation now creates this lick in the concert key of Eb:

Now, if that works so slick in the first two counts of the lick, it should stand to reason that we can employ the exact same concept over the second two counts in this lick as well. That would result in this lick in the key of Eb:

Both of these rhythmic variations serve as strong transitions beginning in the fourth bar of the blues. In fact the rhythmic variation can occur any time there is a progression of four eighth notes, which means that could use this idea on both counts 1 and 2, as well as 3 and 4.

Part 3 & 4 of this series will focus on harmonic variations of these idea which extend the line further into the concert Eb chord.

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