Example1 Blues chorus #1
Bars 1 and 2 are based around A major Blues scale, the notes of which exist within A Mixolydian: A-B-C-C#-E-F#
1- 2- 3- 5- 6 Consistent with our previous series, bar 3 sees the introduction of a bluesy C note (minor 3rd of A) before committing to a full-blooded A minor Blues scale line in bar 4. At the end of this bar, we see notes that do not relate to A7, but are, instead, played in anticipation of the D7 chord in the following bar. ‘Going early’ like this is a very common device when improvising over chord changes, and is a great way of avoiding melodic and rhythmic predictability, as well as adding a sense of urgency to your phrasing.
Principally, the double-stops in this section are based around the chord tones of D7. Look at the first and fifth double-stops in bar 5. The first comprises F# and D (3rd and root of D7), and the fifth one comprises A and D (5th and root of D7). Here, we are merely scrolling our way chromatically back and forth from F# to A while holding down the D root as a pedal or pivot point.
These two bars of A7 provide some thematic development due to the repetition of the same phrase; however, note that the second-time phrase is rhythmically displaced (it starts in a different part of the bar), which helps to avoid predictability while still retaining the cohesion and musical logic that results from using the same phrase more than once. The ‘curls’ in each bar are basically microtonal bends from C (minor 3rd of A) towards C# (major 3rd of A) that never quite make it, and are cut off at the top (they are not allowed to descend back towards the original pitch). Note how the final note of bar 8 (G, the of A7) is bent elegantly and economically up a semitone to target the major 3rd (G#) of the E7 chord in the following bar. Striving for semitone resolutions between chord tones like this is a good policy: for example, when shifting from A7 to D7 you could move from a G note ( of A) down a semitone to an F# (major 3rd of D7) etc.