C Jam Blues: Melody

Building on yesterday’s post, I want to discuss practicing the melody to “C Jam Blues.” Even though it only has two notes (G and C), there are still a lot of things you can do to add variety.

First, figure out the structure and function of the melody. “C Jam Blues” is a simple 4-bar phrase repeated three times. The two notes are the fifth (5) and root (R) of C dominant (which uses a Bb or b7, unlike C major, which uses B or 7). See the notation and keyboard diagram in the opening graphic.

Then, write out the melody in the clef and transposition of your choice (vocalists may need to change the key as well to accommodate their range). Here, the melody is written out for C/treble clef, bass clef, Bb transposition, and Eb transposition.

C Jam Melody Clefs.png

Note that drums can voice the rhythms of the melody on the snare or a low and high voice – such as low and high toms.

After that, practice playing two times through the melody (see yesterday’s post for a backing track). For “C Jam Blues,” this means playing the melodic phrase six times. To add variety, play each time at a different dynamic level from pianissimo (pp) to fortissimo (ff), diagramed here:

C Jam Melody Dynamics.png

Finally, write out and practice improvising variations on the melody, such as different articulations. Below, capped accents are represented by “daht,” tenuto marks by “du,” and accents by “dah.”

C Jam Articulations.png

In addition, you can choose different octaves, rhythms, and dynamics.

Note that when I launch the Patreon page, these exercises will be available as PDFs for supporters to unlock.

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Musician, Educator, and Project Manager

One thought on “C Jam Blues: Melody”

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