- What is the 12 bar blues?
- The history of the 12 bar blues
- The structure of the 12 bar blues
- The chord progression of the 12 bar blues
- The key to playing the 12 bar blues
- The feel of the 12 bar blues
- The 12 bar blues in rock and roll
- The 12 bar blues in blues
- The 12 bar blues in jazz
- The 12 bar blues in popular music
Rock and Roll music is built on the blues, and the 12 bar blues is the most common form of blues. In this blog post, we’ll look at what the 12 bar blues is, how it’s used in rock and roll, and some examples of songs that use it.
What is the 12 bar blues?
The 12 bar blues is one of the most common progressions in rock and roll music. It is a pattern of chords that repeats itself over and over, usually for 12 bars or measures. The chords used in the 12 bar blues are usually seventh chords, which are chords made up of four notes: a root, a third, a fifth, and a seventh. The 12 bar blues progression usually goes like this:
I-IV-V-I (or sometimes I-VII-V-I)
This means that the first chord is always a major chord (denoted by the capital Roman numeral), the second chord is always a fourth chord (denoted by the lowercase Roman numeral), the third chord is always a fifth chord (denoted by the uppercase Roman numeral), and the fourth chord is always back to the I or root chord. This same pattern repeats for all 12 bars.
The history of the 12 bar blues
The 12 bar blues is one of the most important chord progressions in popular music. It was first used in blues music, and has since been used in rock, jazz, and pop music. The chord progression is based on the I, IV, and V chords of a major scale. In a 12 bar blues, the first four bars are usually sung or played in a call and response format. The following eight bars usually follow the same chord progression.
The structure of the 12 bar blues
The 12 bar blues is a popular form of music that is commonly used in rock and roll. It is usually played in 4/4 time and has a repeating chord progression. The chord progression is typically made up of three chords, which are played for four bars each. The first chord is usually a major chord, the second chord is usually a minor chord, and the third chord is usually a dominant seventh chord.
The chord progression of the 12 bar blues
The chord progression of the 12 bar blues is a repeating pattern of 12 measures that can be played with any of a number of chord changes. The simplest form of the 12 bar blues progression contains three chords: the tonic, or root (I), the subdominant (IV), and the dominant (V). Each measure contains four beats, or counts.
In a traditional blues song, the first two measures (the “A” section) would be sung by the lead vocalist, with the band joining in on the third measure (the “B” section). The fourth measure (the “C” section) would be a solo for either the lead guitarist or harmonica player. The song would then repeat this basic structure for the remainder of its length.
While the 12 bar blues progression has remained constant over the years, the specific chords used have varied depending on region and era. In general, however, most blues songs will use some combination of these seven chords:
-I: The tonic or root chord; typically played as a major chord
-IV: The subdominant chord; typically played as a major chord
-V: The dominant chord; typically played as a dominant seventh chord
-vi: The minor sixth chord; typically played as a minor chord
-ii: The minor second chord; typically played as a minor chord
-iii: The major third chord; typically played as a major chord
-vii: The diminished seventh chord; typically played as a diminished seventh chord
The key to playing the 12 bar blues
The key to playing the 12 bar blues is understanding the chord progression. The chord progression for a 12 bar blues is typically I-IV-V (one-four-five). In the key of C, this would be C-F-G. The order of the chords can vary, but the most common progression is shown above.
Once you know the chord progression, you can start to add in other elements such as the rhythm and melody. The rhythm is typically a 4/4 time signature with a strong emphasis on the first and third beat. The melody is often improvised, but there are some common licks that are used in 12 bar blues songs.
The feel of the 12 bar blues
The feel of the 12 bar blues comes from the fact that it is written in a 4/4 or common time signature. This means that there are four beats in a measure and each quarter note gets one beat. The 12 bar blues is also played with a swing feel, which means that the notes are not evenly spaced, but have a certain lilt to them. The notes in between the main beats are usually eighth notes, but they can be quarter notes as well.
The 12 bar blues in rock and roll
The 12 bar blues is a musical form that is commonly used in rock and roll. It is a simple chord progression that uses three chords (the I, IV, and V chords) and is played in a 12 bar format. The 12 bar blues is a very versatile chord progression and can be used in a variety of styles of music.
The 12 bar blues in blues
In the early days of rock and roll, the blues was the foundation of the music. The 12 bar blues is a vital part of that foundation. It’s a simple, elegant progression that has been used by countless artists over the years.
The 12 bar blues is built on the I-IV-V chord progression. In the key of C, that would be C-F-G. The I chord is played for four bars, the IV chord is played for two bars, and the V chord is played for one bar. Then it all repeats. That’s it!
But within that simple framework, there are a lot of possibilities for variation. The most common variation is to play the IV chord for four bars instead of two. This gives the progression a more flowing feel and creates a sense of forward momentum.
Other variations include adding extra chords, changing the order of the chords, or using different rhythms. But at its core, the 12 bar blues is a very simple progression that can be endlessly adapted and explored.
The 12 bar blues in jazz
The 12-bar blues is one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music. The 12-bar blues is a chord progression that use three different chords, each for four bars. The name “12-bar blues” comes from the fact that there are twelve bars or measures in this type of blues music. The 12-bar blues is most commonly associated with rock and roll, but it also appears in other genres of music, including jazz.
The 12-bar blues is often played in a major key, but it can also be played in a minor key. The most common minor key version is the blues scale, which uses the flatted third, fifth, and seventh notes of the major scale. For example, if you are playing a 12-bar blues in the key of C, you would use the C minor pentatonic scale: C, E♭, F, G♭, B♭.
The 12 bar blues in popular music
The 12 bar blues is one of the most common chord progressions in popular music. It’s commonly used in rock, blues, jazz, and country music. The chord progression is incredibly versatile, and can be used in a variety of ways.
The basic structure of the 12 bar blues is three four-bar phrases. The first two phrases have the same chords, and the third phrase has different chords. The chord progression usually goes like this:
I I I I
IV IV I I
V V IV IV
I I I I
The 12 bar blues can be adapted to any key, and the chords can be altered to create different sounds. The simplest way to change the feel of the 12 bar blues is to use different chord voicings. For example, you could use seventh chords or ninth chords instead of just triads. You could also add substitutions, or use different inversions of the chords.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating interesting variations on the 12 bar blues. Experiment with different chord progressions and voicings to find what sounds best to you.