Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know this is nerdy and pedantic. And I know a good musician can make any note sound good in an improvisation. But I have a question about the IV chord in a major blues.

In a major blues, on the I and V chords, one can play either the third or flat third and it works and is an expected part of these measures. But on the IV chord, playing the flat third usually sounds bad. it can fit as a passing tone, but at least in my experience it should not be emphasized or played at all. At least in measures 5 and 6. Is there any theoretical reason for this? Is it because it serves as the b6 or #5 on the I chord?

Is someone has an example where the minor third of the IV chord is emphasized in a major blues, I'd like to hear it to see how it's done. Obviously it's just fine in a minor blues.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,026 Posts
Good question and one I've never really considered, so hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I can chime in. But I'll take a stab at it. The minor 3rd on the I chord is a 'blue' note (as is the b5) and so it sounds fine and 'bluesy' whereas the minor 3rd on the IV chord is not really a blues sound; it kind of 'kills' the dominant feel of the IV chord and makes it a less active chord. Certainly you can play that note as a passing tone and it won't sound bad, but it works best as a pick-up leading into the maj3rd.

The b3rd of the V chord is a blue note and can function as the #9 in the chord; I still like to sound the maj3rd in there somewhere to maintain the dominant sound on the V chord, though.

That's just some wild off-the-cuff speculation based on what my ear tells me.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,026 Posts
Hey Donald, I guess there's not much interest in this topic. Maybe because it's just a settled matter that you want the maj3rd and dominant sound on the IV chord in a maj blues and the minor IV chord in a minor blues. However, I've also heard minor blues with a dominant IV chord; a Dorian sound (the 6 of the key being maj).

Also, regarding the IV chord, you're "not supposed" to use the minor blues scale rooted on that IV chord (ie, F min blues scale in the key of C) using the min3rd of the chord, but Joshua Redmond does just that at the start of his solo on an instrumental version of James Brown's "I Feel Good" and it sounds great.

So I guess this is an example of know the rules, then feel free to break them if it sounds good.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top