Song 6

  1. Embellished Blues
  2. Gunfight Blues
  3. Phrasing - Offbeat Accents
  4. Practice - Minor Pentatonic scale
  5. Session Materials


Song | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | ?? |

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S 6.1 - Embellished Blues

There are endless variations on the basic 12 bar blues chord progression.
Three embellishments especially are used in numerous blues songs.

They are the inclusion of

  1. the IV chord in bar 2

  2. the IV chord in bar 10

  3. a turnaround, usually the V7 chord, in the last bar.
    (This chord leads back to the beginning of the chorus and is not used in the final ending.)

Any one or two or all three of these chords can be present in the blues progression.

Audio 6.1

I7 IV7 I7 I7









In all Jazclass books and courses this progression is always called the Embellished Blues.
For the Embellished Blues in C the chord progression is :

Audio 6.1

C7 F7 C7 C7









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S 6.2 - Gunfight Blues

Gunfight Blues is an embellished blues in D.
The melody is entirely composed of the minor pentatonic scale, and follows the typical call and response pattern.
There is a turnaround V7 chord over the last 2 beats of the final bar.

The blues is sometimes described as a battle between a major and a minor key. In the uptempo Gunfight Blues the battle is really on. Accents are flying like gunshots through the air and the dominant chords battle it out with the minor pentatonic scale.
In such a situation the composer is well advised to take cover and to avoid taking sides. So no key signature for this song folks.

(I always avoid key signatures in blues songs when the melody is written either in the minor pentatonic scale or the blues scale. This reflects the ambiguity of the blues tonality and also avoids numerous natural or flat accidentals.)


The various accented notes are mostly on 2+ (upbeat of beat 2) and on 4+ (upbeat of beat 4).
In bars 6, 9 and 10 however the second accent falls on the 4 (downbeat of 4).

Notes with a long accent are played for their full value.
(In Swing quavers downbeat quavers are played for 2/3 of a beat, upbeat quavers for 1/3 of a beat.)

Notes with a short accent are played short, but are usually a little "fatter" then a staccato.

Notes with a staccato mark as well as a short accent are really short, like a gun shot.


The melody of Gunfight Blues is entirely composed of the D minor pentatonic scale. For improvisation use the D minor pentatonic scale over the entire 12 bar blues progression.

Bb-instruments use the E minor pentatonic.

Eb-instruments use the B minor pentatonic.

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S 6.3 - Phrasing : Offbeat Accents

This session the focus is on playing accents.
Keep up that practice of tapping the beat with two feet (as suggested in the previous lesson).


Included in this session is a second set of rhythm patterns (Audio 6.2).

  1. Print out several copies of Rhythm Pattern pages 1 and 2.

  2. On one page mark accents above all offbeat notes (the plus signs).

  3. On a second printout mark accents on all notes on the downbeats of 2 and 4.

  4. Take one page at a time.
    • Tap the beats with your feet
    • Sing the notes of the rhythm pattern
    • Clap with your hands on each accent.

  5. Then play each rhythm pattern with the accents as you have marked them on each sheet.
    Do this over a slow blues track using chord root tones only.

  6. Finally play the accented patterns using notes from the minor pentatonic scale.

Audio 6.3

Record your efforts on tape from time to time to check your progress. It is not easy at first and will take some regular practice.
But the rewards are great, once you get control over the accents you start to sound like a real pro.

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S 6.4 - Practice : Minor Pentatonic scale

The minor pentatonic scale is a mode of the major pentatonic scale.
This means that both scales use the same notes but have different tonic notes ('tone centres').

When C is selected as tonic note from the notes C, D, E, G and A, the C major tonic chord (C E G) generates a major sounding scale.

When A is selected as tonic note from the same notes (C, D, E, G and A), the A minor tonic chord (A C E) generates a minor sounding scale.

Likewise the Eb major pentatonic scale uses the same notes as the C minor pentatonic scale, but each scale has its own unique tonic note.

The major and related minor tonic notes are always an interval of a minor 3rd (3 semitones) apart.

Audio 6.4

Practise the minor pentatonic scale in all keys as shown on the sheet music provided. Repeat each two bar line. Once comfortable with the notes of the scales, play them also accented in two ways.

  1. Accent all upbeat notes

  2. Accent all notes on the downbeats of 2 and 4

Audio 6.5 - Audio 6.6

You can also practise other scales accented in the same ways.

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S 6.5 - Session Materials

ItemMidi filesSheet music
Gunfight BluesDemo P-a-L C instr.Bb instr.Eb instr.
Easy Key for Bb instr. (D)E-Pal 1C instr.
Easy Key for Eb instr. (D)E-Pal 2C instr.
Minor Pentatonic scale (Co5s order) 4 bars each8 bar eachp.1p.2
Rhythm Patterns (4/4 tempo)RP 1RP 2 RP 1RP 2Blank sheets

Embellished Blues Play-a-Long Midi files
Embellished Blues - slowSwing 100 in GSwing 80 in CSwing 70 in FSwing 90 in Bb
Embellished Blues - fastSwing 130 in GSwing 140 in CSwing 150 in FSwing 120 in Bb

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© 2003 Michael Furstner (Jazclass)