The I-IV Chord Change in the Blues

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The example is a cool way to inject some interest into the blues by employing chromaticism and arpeggios. Both help break up the sound of the pentatonic/blues scale so often heard in guitar solos of this nature, and really nail the change in the chord progression.

The strength of this line is derived from the use of chord tones. They ‘support’ the deliberately ‘wrong’ notes I am playing by helping to bring things back to the chord of the moment. This provides structure to the idea, so the tension created by the ‘wrong’ notes is released when I land on a chord tone; and this creates movement that is reflected in the A7 to D7 change ( the I to the IV). If I did not return to the chord tones in such fashion it would (probably) sound like I was being very cruel to an animal!

Have fun with this idea, and seek to apply it wherever you can.


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