12 bar blues again

RJ 2Ok, great! Now, let’s do that, listening for the ways in which Johnson expands on the basic blueprint of the form by adding in IV chords. Also, as you listen, listen to the bass. That technique is called the walking bass. Then, listen for the upper string of the guitar. Notice how the guitar seems to “answer” Johnson’s call? That is an example of call and response between the voice and guitar, a basic African and African American phrase structure and musical procedure. With respect to the guitar: thing of it like and orchestra. The low bass strings fulfill one function, like time keeping. The middle strings flesh out the harmony. THe upper, high string play figures and answer and weave in and out of Johnson’s voice. ┬áNote the number of different rhythms that are played simultaneously.


First, the bass provide the timeline, the basic beat.

The voice provides another rhythmic layer,

The middle strings provide a third.

The upper strings provide a fourth.

What is especially remarkable and virtuosic is not only Johnson’s songwriting, but this approach to the guitar!!! Rather that just strumming chords, he takes this orchestral approach where each register (low, mid, and high) has a specific, defined roll in the overall texture.┬áListening until you can hear the different parts, individually.