Backing Track

When playing the exercises below, use this backing track to play along with.

How Chords are Built

Blues are a particular style of jazz based on a 12-measure pattern of chords. Three-note chords or triads are stacked notes of a scale. At first, we’ll be using major chords built of the first, third and fifth steps of a major scale. In the example below, the G major chord, C major chord, and D major chord are illustrated.

G Major, C Major, D Major

G Major, C Major, D Major

Finding the Root

The first note of a major chord is called the root. Since the G major chord is built on a G major scale, the root is G. In the C major chord, its C and in the D major chord it is D. In Exercise 1, play the root of the chord in each measure. To show the chord changes the letter name of each chord will be indicated in the measure where it starts.

Exercise 1

Exercise 1

Riff – Jazz Articulation

Remember: Two eighth notes are played as if they were the first and third notes of a triplet.

Jazz articulation produces jazz style. Throughout the course, jazz articulation patterns will be introduced. These are called riffs, repeated rhythmic patterns with specific articulations. Different patterns will be used which later can be mixed and changed to create new and different riffs.

Each time a riff is introduced, it will be demonstrated via the media player. Listen to how the syllables and rhythm should sound. Sing the riff, listen to it again and practice whilst it’s playing. Be sure to listen as you perform to get the feel of the pattern.

Finding the Third

The third note of the major scale becomes the third note of a major chord. In a G major chord, the third is B, E is the third in C major chord and F# is the third in a D major chord. Try Exercise 2 using the third of the major chords and the riff shown above.

Exercise 2

Exercise 2

Finding the Fifth

Finally in a major chord the fifth is the fifth note of the major scale. In G, it is D, in C, it is G and in D it is A.

Be sure to listen, sing, and then practice each riff before playing the exercise.

Exercise 3

Exercise 3

Riff on the Root and Third

Keep the rhythm steady and swinging.

Exercise 4

Outlining the Chord

Try Exercise 5 using the root, third and fifth of each major chord and using the same riff as in Exercise 4.

Exercise 5

Exercise 5


One Response to Basic Blues in G

  1. Laura Tattersall says:

    Very informative and easy to follow for complete Jazz novices like myself!

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