Saturday, February 11, 2012

Upping the Ante

Now that I’m one third of the way through this “one blues per day” personal challenge, its time to take stock of what I have done and consider what possibilities remain.

In the first 10 days I used the following concepts:
  • AAA, AAB, ABC, A A’ A’’ melodic forms
  • compound line (2 guide-tone lines simultaneously weaving through the changes)
  • major blues
  • minor blues
  • Bird blues
  • sus 4 harmonies
  • 4/4 and 6/4 meters
  • ostinato bass figure
  • perfect 5th intervallic patterns
  • premeditated apex placement 
  • keys: F major, Bb major, C major, Cmi, Dmi

Ideas yet to be explored:
  • 16 bar blues (such as Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man
  • 24 bar blues (doubling the harmonic rhythm) 
  • modal blues 
  • dorian blues 
  • phrygian blues 
  • 3/4 
  • “odd meters”: 5/4, 7/4, 9/8 
  • mixed meters 
  • AABA: blues A sections, non-blues bridge 
  • AABA: non-blues A sections, blues bridge 
  • superimposed secondary dominants
  • "Giant Steps" matix 
  • venture into different key areas
  • more ostinatos 
  • motivic development techniques (through-composed)
  • "Solar" changes - modal mixture
  • a very slow blues
  • symmetrical scales
  • entertaining other definitions of the blues (?!)
  • external/non-musical impetus: ethnic ideas like "the Scottish Blues", "Moroccan Blues", etc.

For the moment, that's the extent of my list. It should be enough to get me through the next couple of weeks. If you notice the absence of a concept or device which I should not have overlooked, please let me know.  I certainly welcome ideas.

Today's composition is a  5/4 minor blues in A.  As I was searching for an ostinato bass figure, I remembered the bass line from one of my favorite minor blues pieces --- "Pumpkin's Delight" by Charlie Rouse.  I decided to "borrow" it, adapting the figure slightly to fit the new time signature and changing the key.  I think it works!


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