Author Topic: When singing the blues, what key should I use?  (Read 941 times)

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Offline gareth51

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When singing the blues, what key should I use?
« on: May 08, 2011, 11:23:53 am »
I am in the middle of writing a blues song and I am bit puzzled about which key the singing should be in.  It is a blues in A, so I have the vocal part in A major (played on the keyboard for now as I can't actually sing) followed by guitar licks using A minor pentatonic.  This sounds wrong to me.  I have done a Google search but haven't found any articles which say which scale should be used.

I have transcribed a couple of blues vocals, but I am not sure if that helps me.  Another Kind of Love by Joe Bonamassa is a blues in G and the vocal appears to be in G minor.  Malted Milk by Eric Clapton is a blues in E, but the vocal appears to be in A minor but occasionally uses other notes, which is confusing.

I suspect I should be using A minor rather than A major, but I don't know.  Does anybody have any ideas?

EDIT: Actually Another Kind of Love is a blues in G minor, so that example doesn't help me.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 11:41:52 am by gareth51 »
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: When singing the blues, what key should I use?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2011, 12:47:23 pm »
What chords are you using?

Is your A an A7 or Am?

What's the difference between an A7, A and Am?

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Offline gareth51

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Re: When singing the blues, what key should I use?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2011, 02:51:53 pm »
My chords are A7, D7, E7 (actually I have the bass playing A7, D7, E7, but my rhythm guitar playing A9, D9, E9).

So

A = A C# E
A7 = A C# E G
Am = A C E

A major scale = A B C# D E F# G#
A (natural) minor = A B C D E F G

This suggests to me I should be using the A major scale, but flatten the 7.  Is that A mixolydian?  I am not sure as I don't have my theory notes with me.

So over the D7 chord (D F# A C), I am not sure what to use.

Over the E7 chord, then the A major scale fits.

I will experiment later to see what sounds better.

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Offline gareth51

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Re: When singing the blues, what key should I use?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2011, 04:06:28 pm »
I have just checked my melody.

Over the A7 chord, I don't have a G or G# in the melody, so there is no problem.

Over the D7, I have C#, which I thought would clash with the C in the chord, but somehow it doesn't.  Changing the C# to C sounds worse.

There is no clash between the melody and E7 chord.

So I suppose the answer is to leave it as it is.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: When singing the blues, what key should I use?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 06:33:38 pm »
Quote
So I suppose the answer is to leave it as it is.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. At least now you know what scales the various chords are in.

Many people will play

A7  -- A Major or Mixo

Then the D7 and E7 get A minor pent

Always let your ear be your guide.
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