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Blues Scales for Piano

Adding a blue note to the regular Pentatonic scale gives the Pentatonic Blues Scale. These
scales are for obvious reasons perfect when playing blues on the piano. The "Major Blues
Scale" is some less common than the "Minor Blues Scale" and, therefore, we start with
minor and you find the major by scrolling down.

The blues originate from a mix of different sources in music, so there is no satisfying explanation in
theoretical terms about this scale. But the most important thing is of course how it sounds when you
are using it. Try these scales below and you will hear the blues!

Minor Blues Scales


Here are pictures and notes of the minor pentatonic blues scales. See also Major Blues Scales.

C Pentatonic Blues

Notes: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C

C# / Db Pentatonic Blues

Notes: C#, E, F#, G, G#, B, C#

D Pentatonic Blues

Notes: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D

D# / Eb Pentatonic Blues

Notes: D#, F#, G#, A, A#, C#, D#

E Pentatonic Blues

Notes: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E

F Pentatonic Blues

Notes: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F

F# / Gb Pentatonic Blues

Notes: F#, A, B, C, C#, E, F#

G Pentatonic Blues

Notes: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F, G

G# / Ab Pentatonic Blues

Notes: G#, B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#

A Pentatonic Blues

Notes: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A

A# / Bb Pentatonic Blues

Notes: A#, C#, D#, E, E#, G#, A#

B Pentatonic Blues

Notes: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B
Pentatonic Blues Scales overview
C: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
C#/Db: C#, E, F#, G, G#, B, C#
D: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D
D#/Eb: D#, F#, G#, A, A#, C#, D#
E: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E

F: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F


F#/Gb: F#, A, B, C, C#, E, F#
G: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F#, G
G#/Ab: G#, B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#
A: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A
A#/Bb: A#, C#, D#, E, E#, G#, A#
B: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B

Intervals and steps


Interval: 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7
Semi-notes: 3 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 2
Formula: Whole and a half, Whole, Half, Half, Whole and a half, Whole

Theory and tips for improvisation


The pentatonic blues scale is built upon three dominant chords. For example in the case of C
pentatonic the three chords are C7 F7 G7. We can see the relationship when comparing the notes
in the scale:

C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C

with the notes in the three chords:

There

(C7) C, E, G, Bb (F7) F A C Eb (G7) G B D F


is

close

correlation

as

you

can

see.

So how can you improvise on the piano with blues scales? By learning these scales you will
get great tools for improvising in the musical style of blues (these scales are also used in
jazz improvisation). A tip is to use the left hand for a chord and play the notes of the scale
with the right. You can then combine a C blues scale with C7, F7 and G7 chords. In the same
way you can combine a G blues scale with the chords G7, C7 and D7 and so on in
different keys.

You can also improvise blues in minor. A nice combination are the chords Am7, Dm7 and E7 together
with the A pentatonic blues scale. Further reading: 12-bar blues.

Major Blues Scales


Here are pictures and notes of the major pentatonic blues scales.

C Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, C

C# / Db Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: C#, D#, E, F, G#, A#, C#

D Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: D, E, F, F#, A, B, D

D# / Eb Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: D#, F, F#, G, A#, C, D#

E Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: E, F#, G, G#, B, C#, E

F Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: F, G, Ab, A, C, D, F

F# / Gb Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: F#, G#, A, A#, C#, D#, F#

G Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: G, A, Bb, B, D, E, G

G# / Ab Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: G#, A#, B, C, D#, F, G#

A Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: A, B, C, C#, E, F#, A

A# / Bb Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: A#, C, C#, D, F, G, A#

B Pentatonic Major Blues

Notes: B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#, B


Pentatonic Major Blues Scales overview
C: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, C
C#/Db: C#, D#, E, F, G#, A#, C#
D: D, E, F, F#, A, B, D
D#/Eb: D#, F, F#, G, A#, C, D#
E: E, F#, G, G#, B, C#, E
F: F, G, Ab, A, C, D, F
F#/Gb: F#, G#, A, A#, C#, D#, F#
G: G, A, Bb, B, D, E, G
G#/Ab: G#, A#, B, C, D#, F, G#
A: A, B, C, C#, E, F#, A
A#/Bb: A#, C, C#, D, F, G, A#
B: B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#, B

Intervals and steps

Interval: 1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6
Semi-notes: 2 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 2 - 3
Formula: Whole, Half, Half, Whole and a half, Whole, Whole and a half