Piano Blues Scale

by Dawn WIlliams
(Perth, WA, Australia)

I read music like text(treble clef only). I am tired of trying to read bass clef. Apparently learning blues scales AND FINGERING will help. I know all the theory, ie triads, first and second inversions. All in theory and none in piano. I play classical guitar and brass BUT piano has eluded me for 40 years of playing guitar. All I need is the fingering listed under each blues scale and I can probably work it out. My theory is fine just can't put into practice.

Thanks Dawn


Hi, Dawn--

The Blues scale is just the 5 note pentatonic minor scale with 1 extra note.

The notes of the C blues scale are:

C Eb F Gb G Bb C

In actual playing, the Eb and Gb are called blue notes. They are derived from the influence of African scales upon European scales.

In African scales, the notes are somewhere between E and Eb and G and Gb. A horn player or guitar player can bend the notes to get the actual blue notes.

A piano player, however, cannot bend notes, so the effect is accomplished by combining then 3rd and flat 3rd (Eb/E) and the 5th and flat 5th (Gb/G).

So in actual play, the notes are:

C Eb/E F Gb/G Bb C

You can use any fingering that is comfortable. In the case of scales where the 3rd are 5th is a white key, you can slide from Eb to E and from Gb to G.

That being said, I would still advise you to become comfortable enough with reading bass clef that you can follow some basic Blues exercises.

You will find an excellent free beginning blues piano lesson at: Blues Piano Lessons


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