Appoggiaturas

The b3, b5, and b7 are called blue notes. In practice, blue notes are microintervals between b3 and 3 and b5 and 5. The piano, an instrument with equal temperament, does not allow for microintervals, and the appropriate blue note effect is achieved by playing an appoggiatura, a brief adjacent tone, before the actual melody tone. The sound seems to stretch between these two tones.

Example 20
example 20

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Appoggiaturas are an important element of blues improvisation and often distinguish one player from another. An appoggiatura can include one, two, or even three tones before the actual melody tone. It is wise to practice them carefully in order to achieve a full timbre from the instrument. Sloppy appoggiaturas make the instrumentalist sound unconvincing and unprofessional. Listen carefully to the appoggiaturas in Example 21 and try to elicit similar tones from your instrument.

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