Tag: blues

  • The Basics of the Minor Pentatonic Scale for Guitar

    The Basics of the Minor Pentatonic Scale for Guitar

    By Kathy Dickson If you have been a guitarist for any length of time, you’ve no doubt heard about scales and how you need to know them. But let’s face it, the sheer number of scales to learn can be overwhelming. They smack of theory and are boring to play, right? In truth, scales are…

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  • Understanding Advanced Blues Harmony

    Understanding Advanced Blues Harmony

    + Welcome to Soundfly! We help curious musicians meet their goals with creative online courses. Whatever you want to learn, whenever you need to learn it. Subscribe now to start learning on the ’Fly. The 12-bar blues is the most important structural element in the history of American popular music. Musicians from Louis Armstrong to The White Stripes have used the…

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  • The Alchemy of the Blues: Turning Guitars into Vocalists

    The Alchemy of the Blues: Turning Guitars into Vocalists

    One of the greatest secrets about the blues is that it’s not primarily about the “blue notes,” or the structure, or the instrumentation. Those things are all heavily associated with the blues and appear in most blues songs, but at its core, the blues is all about storytelling. And the guitar is one of the…

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  • Pulitzer Prize-Winner Yusef Komunyakaa on the Poetry of the Blues

    Pulitzer Prize-Winner Yusef Komunyakaa on the Poetry of the Blues

    Few people I’ve ever met speak with the gravitas of Yusef Komunyakaa. A conversation with him can be a meditative experience. The words wrap themselves around ideas rather than simply standing in for them. Rhythmically, he speaks in spacious jazz solos, allowing pauses to be as significant as the words themselves and letting the meaning…

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  • Brushy One-String’s Rich, Rhythmic Reggae Has Its Roots in the Blues

    Brushy One-String’s Rich, Rhythmic Reggae Has Its Roots in the Blues

    Brushy One-String is a Jamaican singer who has become somewhat of a YouTube superstar in the past few years; his songs are inspiring, his energy is magnetic and grand, and he plays a guitar with, you guessed it, only one string. He’s currently touring North America, and in past few years has been able to…

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  • The Power of the Blues: Finding Rhythm and Compassion in Music

    The Power of the Blues: Finding Rhythm and Compassion in Music

    By Mara Rosenbloom Photos by Nick Lerman Musicians throw around the term “the blues” a lot. Often there seems to be an assumption that we all know — and agree on — what that term means. In a jazz context, say, a jam session, if someone says, “let’s play a blues,” typically the only follow-up…

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  • Rock Legend June Millington: Study the Blues, Be Empathetic, and Run Your Own PA

    Rock Legend June Millington: Study the Blues, Be Empathetic, and Run Your Own PA

    It’s 8pm on a Wednesday evening, and a pixelated June Millington waits patiently on Skype as I pull up a write-up of her massive autobiography, Land of a Thousand Bridges (published by No Depression). As I scroll through the summary of the 500+ page book, I realize with some trepidation I’m about to interview a…

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  • Elliott Sharp’s Essential Guide to Being Elliott Sharp

    Elliott Sharp’s Essential Guide to Being Elliott Sharp

    By Elliott Sharp Editor’s note: For many years, I’ve been challenged and inspired by the work of Elliott Sharp, who has etched a place as one of America’s most dynamic modern composers. He’s hard to pin down both musically and literally, since he regularly travels the world for performance, recording, commissions, and likely a bit…

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  • Learning from a Blues Legend

    Legendary bluesman B.B. King died yesterday, and we’ll miss him. His bright, bouncy guitar licks and gospel-influenced vocals were iconic — even if you hadn’t listened to him in a while, his music was universal. Dig deep enough and everyone has a B.B. King memory. King was our last living thread to the golden age of Mississippi…

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