|Shuffle Beat Blues, Piano
The Shuffle Beat
A lot of the songs of today use an even beat based on eight notes and sixteenth notes.
But if you listen to the standards, jazz or blues, you hear a different beat. It's called the shuffle beat.
The shuffle beat is based on triplets. If you tie the first two notes of a triplet together, you get a shuffle
beat. It's hard to count. If you use the word mer-ri-ly and just say mer, hold ri silent and say the ly you
have the feeling of the shuffle beat. Most people don't count it they just feel it. In addition to the
musical notation, you will have midi sound samples to help you get that feel for the shuffle beat.
About This Page
On this page you will continue to learn the shuffle beat by learning to play the song "Shuffle Beat
Blues" on piano or keyboard. You will learn to play melody with the right hand, while backing up the
melody with chords with the left hand. As this song was originally composed for guitars, it will be in the
key of A. This is a very good key for blues and rock on guitars. It's not a bad key on piano or
Shuffle Beat Blues Lead Sheet
The lead sheet and the lead sheet midi for "Shuffle Beat Blues" is below. Below that for reference I
have put a picture showing the finger numbers for left and right hand piano or keyboard playing.
Notice that most of the melody consist of tied triplets. Also notice that in the third and seventh
measures, we use a triplet with two rest before the third note to bring in that note with the same
feeling. In the two endings, we use straight triplets. Blues musician would use a mix of straight and tied
triplets throughout a song as the spirit moves them. The lead sheet contains suggested fingerings for
the melody. Listen to the sound sample. Try playing the melody by itself first. Later we'll learn to add
Unlike many of my main pages, this supplementary page will not have a full navigation bar. It is part of
the music reading lessons and will only have links back to the free lessons on learning to read music,
the music site map and the other supplementary pages. I am going to give you three links to the main
music pages. These are the pages that begin to teach you how to read music. This first link gets you
back to free music lesson 6, "Reading Music Is Easy". This second link gets you back to free music
lesson 7, "What That Note". This third link gets you to free music lesson 8, "Timing The Notes". There
will be links there to get you back here. They will be found at the top of the main pages and in the
relevant paragraphs on three quarter time, the triplet and shuffle beat topics. Those main pages
have full navigation bars to get you to any main page on this website. Also ""The Music Site Map"
gives you access to every music page. The other supplementary page that goes with these free music
learning to read music lessons is "Triplets Ballad, Piano". It should be studied before this page.
|Shuffle Beat Blues Piano Lead Sheet
The picture on the left shows the numbering
of the fingers to play piano or keyboards for
the left and right hand. The thumbs are
number 1 and then we go 2, 3, 4, 5 from the
index to the pinky.
|Fingers Numbered For Playing Piano
Playing Chords For Shuffle Beat Blues
"Shuffle Beat Blues" is a blues in the key of A. The chord progression is a standard blues
progression. I've pictured the piano or keyboard chords below. The use of chord inversion allows you
to play this progression with minimum hand and finger movement. The picture of the A chord has
standard fingering, but for a blues progression, it's better to use the 4th finger on the root a. Then
you can play the A7 chord just buy dropping your free 5th finger on g. On all the 7th chords you see a
note in parenthesise. This is the 5th note of those chords. It can be left out or played as you choose.
It doesn't add that much to the sound of the chord. Even in the automatic accompaniment section of
an electronic keyboard it can be left out and the correct chord will still be triggered. Once you've
mastered the melody to "Shuffle Beat Blues" try backing it up with the left hand chords. Try it first as in
"Shuffle Beat Blues Piano, Easy" with the chord played once for each measure. I've included the bass
clef with the musical notation for the chord. But as you have the fingering from the keyboard pictures,
you can use it more as a guide for the timing, without actually reading the music. Of course there is
nothing wrong with starting to recognize chords from music notation. I've included a midi sound
sample below, so that you can here what it should sound like. Practice until you get it right.
|Shuffle Beat Blues Piano, Easy
Below we have the full arrangement for piano of "Shuffle Beat Blues". The chords are of course the
same as above. The rhythm of the backup chords is a mixture of single quarter beats and a shuffle
beat rhythm of the chord on a quarter beat. Playing a shuffle rhythm on every beat would be boring
so I mix quarter beats with shuffle beats. You don't need to follow the arrangement exactly, just mix the
quarter and shuffle beats as the spirit moves you. Listen to the midi sound sample below. You can't
really count the shuffle beat, you just have to learn to feel it.
|Shuffle Beat Blues, Piano
Playing Chords With A Shuffle Beat
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