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> Writing Blues Turnaround
Crazy_Diamond
post Aug 18 2010, 11:29 PM
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Hi guys,

I have intensive school this week out of town and I couldn't bring a lot of stocks. I only brang my acoustic guitar and guess what, this city is giving me the blues wink.gif

I am improvising alot of blues and writing some cool licks and riff but I don't know how to make my blues turnaround. I would really like to know how to write those kinds of licks and keeping them nice with the melody. Should I follow the scale and then going up/down chromatically or should I use a method based more on chords.

I don't know how to think of the turnaround in terms of theory. The turnaround I know seems to end on the V chord... sometimes they are major and other times they are minor (well I think). They seems to start from the root or the 7th and going down or they start on the 5th.....

If anyone could give some queue to write turnarounds it would be very useful.

Thanks guys

P.S I am not looking for a huge library of turnaround, I want to come out with my own.


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Artemus
post Aug 19 2010, 01:17 AM
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You can take this as good news or bad news: there is no "rule" to writing a turnaround; that's why there are so many..
As you noted, most of them end with a V since the V-I offers perhaps the strongest resolution to the tonic, which is what the turnaround is all about - getting back to the tonic. That said, it doesn't have to be a dominant seventh (V7) chord - anything that gravitates towards the tonic will work, such as V/V or bII or bVII.
Having a defined melody can help you decide what would work best based on harmonies, but again, the ball's in your court to play around with whatever works. Listen and play with any cadences you come across, perhaps write out the harmony and try to see why it works in terms of voice leading or scale harmony etc.
Sorry I can't be of more help. All I can say is what I say about most things regarding music and composition - if it sounds right to you, then it is right.


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Crazy_Diamond
post Aug 20 2010, 05:19 AM
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Thanks for the reply Artemus....

I noticed that they are no formula, else then creativity that can come up and create those great turnarounds. I found that by descending chromatically and starting from the blues pentatonic shape I could come up with some real good turnarounds. I also found that by starting and ending with a minor or a major harmony really contributes to the good feeling.

However I found that by starting with a D7 chord shape and moving it around the neck (depending of the key) was really helpful to create simple but effective turnarounds.


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Artemus
post Aug 20 2010, 12:22 PM
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Great stuff!
TBH I'm surprised nobody else gave an opinion on how you could come up with good turnaround progressions..
Moving that D7 should work well; a very common turnaround is the III-VI-II-V sequence, where the VI is often substituted for a dominant chord for greater resolution and opportunities for adding tensions, yet it's also quite common to just make all of the chords dominant, eg. E7 - A7 - D7 - G7. This opens up a world of possibilities for creating cool sounds with altered tensions yadda yadda.
Post your discoveries, I'll be interested in hearing what you come up with smile.gif


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Pedja Simovic
post Aug 20 2010, 03:41 PM
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Art already gave you some great examples and explanations. I will just tell you basic idea - turnaround is aimed to bring you back to top of the piece where you got your I chord. Ideally you should use strong resolution like V to I. So if you are going to resolve into C7 , G7 is your approach chord to your C7 which is target chord. You could also do tritone substitution like Db7 instead of G7. Then you can add interpulated II V patterns before that, or extended dominant pattern like Art mentioned (E7 A7 D7 G7 for example). With all this you can of course use reharmonization techniques (which is really what those things were somewhat but in a basic sense). The most important thing when reharmonizing is melody! You can go two ways here: 1) create harmony first then compose melody on top of it or 2) create melody first and create harmony that will support it. Both ways work great and I like to use both methods equally I would say.
Let me know if you got more questions. Stop by in video chat sometime and we can talk about this more in detail with some actual playing examples.

Pedja


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Crazy_Diamond
post Aug 22 2010, 10:28 PM
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I am a bit confused in ll your explanation. I understand the change of chords to resolve but I ws a bit more interested in the lick that could bring you the last chord of your 12 bar blues..... Maybe I am trying to undestands things the wrong way I should learn more turnarounds and analyze them..


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Pedja Simovic
post Aug 22 2010, 10:35 PM
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If you are looking for lick that will bring you into final chord of turnaround, check out blues tunes and solos , transcribe the turnaround and see what they did there. It can be anything from minor pentatonic blues scale to more complex things like chord tones or tensions of given chords.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Aug 25 2010, 11:34 AM
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Pedja is right, you should definitely analyze blues standards to see how turnarounds work over give harmony. It's not that difficult, and you can jam your way into turnaround licks yourself as well. It can be a good improvisation exercise. Record turnaround on your PC, and try to play licks over it. Before you start playing, it may be a good idea to focus on some scales (Pedja mentioned pentatonic minor). Start from there, and see how you can create your own turnaround licks. As you can tell by know, turnaround is leading to the tonic chord, so you can try to play all kinds of licks that lead you to tonic, over V chord. I recommend that you start easy with V-I and then move on to other resolutions. You can approach using arpeggios, ascend to tonic, descend to tonic, use bends, vibratos, insert blue note etc. These are all just plain examples, but offer lot of possibilites.


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