Swung vs. Straight 8th Notes

Blues Piano Day 1

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The Goal: Learn the Difference Between Swung & Straight 8ths

bluesWhen we play the blues, there is a specific swing to 8th notes that will give us that blues sound we are looking for and going after.

Swing those 8ths

This means that, instead of two 8th notes dividing the beat exactly in half, the second 8th note in each pair occurs two-thirds of the way through the beat (equavilent to playing on the first and third parts of an 8th note triplet). If you’re new to this concept, don’t worry, you will pick it up ion no time as it is an essential part of playing the blues and we will be doing it a whole lot.


Swung 8th Notes


C Major Scale in 8th Notes

This is a straight C major scale in 8th notes
C major Scale

Swinging a C Major Scale

This is the same C major scale but this time using a swung 8th note feel
C major Scale - triplets.mscz-1

Left Hand Swing

The same swun 8th note feel principle applies to left-hand patterns unless otherwise noted in the music
Left Hand Swung - triplets.mscz-1

Melody & Left Hand

Simple melody and left-hand pattern in a swung 8th note feel. To really hear the difference, try playing the example in a straight 8th note feel as well and compare the two versions.
Swung vs Straight Example.mscz-1