Out of tune?

Mike Curtis ironmanc@JUNO.COM
Wed Jul 30 17:12:25 EDT 1997

On Wed, 30 Jul 1997 16:40:10 +11:00 Martin Dunstan
<dunstanm@wfag.agvic.gov.au> writes:

>Question 1:  How "blue" can a blue note get before it sounds out of

As blue as you want it.  No smiley, no smug "I'm a musician and you're
not" smirk.  Just the absolute truth.  You can use ANY note - even
"in-betweenies" - as long as you RESOLVE it to a valid note.  In other
words, where you start doesn't matter - it's where you END UP that

By resolving the "bad" notes into a "good" one, these "bad" notes become
"passing tones", merely steps in getting to the destination.

Imagine this previous sentence without the last word "destination",
ending in "getting to the".  It sticks in your craw.  It's annoying.
It's wrong (in that it's incomplete and missing something important).
But put "destination" at the end and it becomes pleasant, full of meaning
- and correct!

I do many solos that contain entire phrases of "out of tune" notes (e.g.
I might play a Bb scale in A - and you don't get much more "out of tune"
than that), but finish the phrase on a note that is part of the
particular A chord being played, e.g. if it's Amaj, A, C#, E, or if
minor, A, C, and E, etc.  Certain  exceptions exist, such as a major or
dominant seventh can be used with a minor or major triad, making it a de
facto 7th chord, or a minor third can be used with a 7th (A C# E G) chord
because it changes it into a raised ninth chord.  But the bottom line is
that the notes "fit" with the prevailing chord in some way.

These details aren't all that important (especially if you're not a
musician).  The important point is the principle that EVERY note is
correct as long as you resolve it/them to a good note.  The better
players know this (whether in words or just in practice) and make a lot
of use of it.

 -- IronMan Mike Curtis
The One Man "Better'n A" Band
Electric harmonica, guitar, bass pedals, vocals
Cassette available - Email for details

More information about the Blues-l mailing list