The Blues - "Stormy Monday"

This week we will listen to a standard blues. Thousands of songs have been written in the blues form. Most commonly the blues uses 3 chords and is only 12 bars long. In C major, a blues will use the C major, F major, and G major chords. The typical form looks like this (4/4 time signature):

CM  |CM  |CM  |CM  |

FM  |FM  |CM  |CM  |

GM  |FM  |CM  |CM :|

For vocal songs, the blues works well to tell a story as heard in "Stormy Monday." The blues guitarist T-Bone Walker wrote this blues in 1947. Dianne Reeves and David Peaston sing this blues in the featured video, joined by saxophonist David Sanborn. As you listen to Reeves sing the melody, the rhythm section (piano, guitar, basss, and drums) provides a rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment. The bass plays on the downbeat of each measure and the drummer emphasizes the second and fourth beats. The pianist and guitarist use chords to fill in gaps around the melody. As the musicians take improvised solos, notice how they use simple ideas (using only a few notes) with a lot of repetition, and variation. Dianne Reeves and David Peaston make this easy to hear when they play with the phrase "Bring my baby." Traditionally, the blues finishes with the return of the melody following all of the solos.

Next week we will listen to a variation on the blues.