Blues for Piano and Keyboard
Chapter 14 (section 1)
Blues Piano Lessons – Chapter 14 Overview (section 1)
Almost too much to list – this is a very in-depth blues piano lesson!
We’ll cover advanced topics such as:
The “Tri-tone” Chord Substitution
This very advanced concept is the root of all super-”phat” chord substitutions. Tired of playing what’s on the chord chart? Throw the Tri-tone substitution into your tunes and get a handle on some brand new sounds.
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Piano “Shell Chords”
This minimalist approach to playing left-hand comp chords is an ideal way to lay down a solid foundation underneath a piano solo.
Alternate Piano Blues Chords and Chord Voicings
There’s always more – that’s what makes music so beautiful. We’ll dig into some alternate blues chords and chord voicings to bring new life to the keyboard.
The “Half-step” push!
Born in the Texas and Chicago Blues Clubs, this simple technique is an ideal way to really push the beat of the music when you don’t have a whole lot else to do!
Alternate Blues endings
Every blues and jazz player is looking for something new – check out these alternate chords to give the ending a new twist. We’ll pull some ideas from our study in tri-tones here.
The classic blues “Trash Can” ending You’ve heard this a thousand times – the classic trash can ending comes alive when all the players wrap up the tune and throw it in the can with a big old bang. Check this out – you’ll recognize it immediately, and now you’ll know how it’s played!
Partial transcript from this piano lesson below:
Here we go, Blues 14… In this video you’ll see the entire song we’re studying in this piano lesson. On the screen, you’ll see all the blues riffs as well as all the advanced techniques that we’re going to dig into. They’ll be detailed in slow motion video sections later in this lesson. But here’s the whole song up to tempo:
[ transcript note: in the piano lessons video, piano music plays here ]
Today, I hope you got a lot of sleep because we’re going to spend a lot of energy going through quite a few advanced piano concepts. Some of the advanced musical concepts in this chapter include the “Tri-tone Substitution”. Now if you’re a fan of the blues, and you’ve gone through our earlier blues lesson chapters, that really may have caught your attention. You know we talk about the tri-tone a lot, but this really is the first time we’ve talked about the “Tri-tone Substitution”. The tri-tone is a nifty little music building block that’s really essential to the blues and to black gospel music. Without it you wouldn’t have any nitty-gritty good chords – you’d just have stereotypical white bread stuff!
The tri-tone substitution also serves a brand new purpose: learning to create substitute chords to create a brand new sound in what you’re playing on the keyboard. We’re going to also talk about “Shell Chords“.
Shell chords are really minimalist chords that just use a couple of notes on the piano, but they end up creating great sounds. Another topic that’s really a broad area of musical study and that shows up quite a bit in this advanced piano lesson course is alternate chords and voicings. Learning as much as you can is really essential to becoming a great musician. Dig in to this section of alternate chords and voicings.
Another powerful technique that we’re going to study is called the “Half-step push”. Born in the Texas and Chicago Blues clubs, this half-step push is a fantastic tool to use when there’s not a lot of activity in the chords of a song. If you have to sit on one chord for a while, you may wonder, “What can I do here to add some excitement?” This half-step push adds instant energy to your piano playing.
Because musicians are always looking for something new to add, we’re going to look at an alternate blues ending in this lesson. Just when you think the song is done, boom! there’s a whole new alternate ending, doing something completely different – it gives the song new life again, just when it’s almost over. And right at the end of the piano lesson, we’re going to add something called the classic “Blues Trash Can Ending”. You’ve heard this many times if you’re a fan of the blues. Just like it sounds, the Trash Can ending wraps up the tune, picks it up, and throws it in the can with a big old bang – it sounds fantastic.
The complete version of this piano lesson contains over an hour of zoomed-in video showing each riff and technique in detail. In fact, we’ve posted a second video in this site, it’s Part 2 of 2 from Blues 14. It shows quite a bit of the actual lesson footage where we’re detailing and taking apart each piano riff up close, zoomed-in, and in slow motion.