• E.M.G.

WEARY BLUES

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2018

Listen to the Weary blues: https://youtu.be/GgGhLUaZMJI


This boogie is made up of 2 big parts. From the beginning to measure 48, the A section consists in an introduction and a first theme on the F major key blues changes. From measure 49 to 128, the B section plays a second theme in the Bb major key and then solos on its chords changes. At last, a four measures coda concludes the piece.


Measures 1 to 12: the introduction

From measures 1 to 3 we can hear the FM tonic chord going downward in the 3 positions (root and the 2 inversions) from a relative high register. The left hand uses fast approach notes of each bass while the right hand is playing downward chord tones in 3rds from C to A and F.

Measures 3 and 4 the right hand starts swinging a blues motif immediately repeated by the left hand an octave lower. This motif uses the F major pentatonic scale (with the major 6th D) with a chromatic approach of the 3rd (A). Finally, a F7 chord in measure 4 brings a BbM6.

From measures 5 to 8, the right hand plays a rhythmic tonic pedal. Also note that the Bb chord alternates between BbM6 and Bb7. In measures 7 and 8, The FM6 chord over the C bass plays the role of what is called in classical music a 4th and 6th concluding inversion. As it is a boogie, the major 6th (D) can be added.

In measures 9 and 10, the dominant C7 chord is the next logical step after the 4th and 6th chord. However note the rhythmic pedal Bb (the minor 7th) in the right hand. Also note the typical sound of the 6th intervals between the 2 hands played over the dominant bass with a swing rhythm. This is an efficient process used in blues or gospel.

End of measure 10: the FM chord is anticipated a quarter note before the first beat.

In measure 11, over the tonic bass, the left hand plays a downward chromatic motion from Eb to C. At the same time the right hand is playing chromatic downward 3rd. This chord progression is often used at the end of a phrase over a tonic bass. It is typical of the blues and can be found in Ray Charles’ music for example. It consists in the following chords: FM, F7, F°7 and G-7b5 (a minor subdominant).


Measure 13 to 36: The A theme

Suddenly the left hand plays a walking stride bass in octaves, following the FM6 chord tones, from the root to the major 6th. This bass pattern will later be used in the Madison style.

But there is an extended theme hidden in the ternary 3rd and octaves played by the right hand. Indeed, in measure 14 in the right hand note the embellishment and passing tones. In measure 16, the use of the minor 7th and the block chord increases tension and interest.

In measure 22, the right hand plays downward passing triads from the dominant C to the tonic F (CM, BbM, A- and E°). In measure 23, while the left hand goes down in a stepwise bass from the tonic, the right hand makes us hear upward triads (F7, BbM and the V/V G7 substitute Db7). It is another usual conclusive blues formula. Note that the Db7 chord could also be understood as a F° chord over a Db (bVI) bass.

At the end of measure 24 the right hand pauses on the dominant (and the left too). But we could have expected a 2nd inversion of FM on the first beat (instead of the root position). Moreover, approaching the 2nd inversion of C7 below the dominant in the left hand by the major 6th F#-D# creates a C°7 passing chord.

Measures 25 to 36 are almost a repetition of 13 to 24, and measures 37 to 48 are almost like 1 to 12.

Finally, although this music is full of beauty, skills and creativity, the impression of being fed up with something emerges from this first theme, as if the purpose of virtuosity and energy was to show strength.


Measures 49 to 128: the B section

Unlike the first part which is based on blues changes, the 2nd part seems to be closer to the rag-time changes.

In measure 48, this time the introduction ends by a F7 chord (V/IV) with a stepwise downward motion in the bass line and the right hand repeating the tonic. This is to bring the Bb major key.

From measure 49 to 56, the 2 hands play the same rhythm, with a dominant rhythmic pedal for the right hand. Also note that each 2nd and 4th beats are on the same tones (3rd intervals). The right hand plays triads or block chords on beats 1 and 3.

From measure 57 to 64, a new 8 measures theme appears. This second theme begins with a G7 chord (V/II). In this theme the left hand uses octaves again like in the first section. The right hand plays a kind of “block chords melody” and note that measure 58 is like 57 an octave higher. From measures 59 to 61, the bass follows a chromatic upward motion. After a C-7 chord in measure 59, there is a C# °7 chord which can be understood as a V/V since it is followed by a 2nd inversion of I.

The 4 measures 61 to 64 are a kind of “tune” which will be repeated at each end of solos, as it was the case in Death ray boogie. It consists in a chromatic downward bass from the tonic to the 2nd degree (C). This bass matches with the right hand chords changes: Bb7, C7, F#7, F7, BbM/D, Db°7 (a passing chord) and C-7. Finally, this 2nd theme ends with a II V progression in measure 64. Note the anticipated BbM chord at the end of 62, the anticipated C#° 7 at the end of 59, and the delayed C-7 on the 2nd beat of 63.

This 2nd theme turns around the following notes: D, C, C#, D, Bb.

Measures 65 to 72 are the same as 49 to 56 with the right hand an octave upper.

Measures 73 to 80 are almost the same as 57 to 64 except some changes in the right hand. In measure 74, this time the top of the chord is a G. Measure 76 uses a ternary rhythm and a chromatic approach of C#. Measure 77 is like 61 an octave upper.


Measures 81 to 112: the solos

It is essentially the rhythm which indicates it is improvisation on chord changes.

This solo section uses the same chords changes as in 49 to 64. In measures 93 to 97 and 109 to 112, the little “tune” comes back (first appearing from 61 to 64).

Measures 113 to 128 are based on the same chords changes as 81 to 96 and 49 to 64.


Measures 129 to 132: the coda

The 2 hands follow the same rhythm, but go in opposite motion. The left hand plays a chromatic upward motion from D to G while the right hand plays block chords which top notes are G, Gb, F, Eb and D, the retrograde of the left hand. The beginning of 131 also consists in a retrograde motion between the 2 hands (C, D, Eb). Then those two hands forms 3rd intervals. Also note the use of octaves to thicken the melody.

Note the interesting resolution of the lead in measure 132: from the altered 13th of the F7 chord (Db) to the tonic Bb.


Interesting arrangements:

Remarkable ideas can be found in: measure 85 (a double approach of D), measure 86 (a nice chromatic downward motion from A to Eb), measure 87 (G, G#, A, Bb), the beautiful 6th in measure 88 matching with the chromatic chords BbM, AM, AbM, measure 104 (chords harmonizing the chromatic line D, Db, C, B with BbM, A7b9, Ab7 9 and G7), the process used in 75 and 107, the use of augmented 4th of C#°7 in 108, the ternary rhythm of 92 and 123,…

Finally, this piece offers much variety: as regards the keys (since it begins in F major and ends in Bb major); and concerning the different types of arrangement (same or different rhythm between the 2 hands, use of a walking bass or a pattern bass, block chords or solo melody, use of ternary rhythm,…).

Weary blues also shows interesting melodic development in the solo section. However, thanks to the repetition of: the introduction, the 2nd theme and some typical ideas such as ternary rhythms (which come from the A section), the unity is kept.

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