How To Sing The Blues Scale

blues scale

Do you ever wonder where great singers get their melodic ideas for riffs and runs? Or how about improvisation (scatting)? Where do these ideas come from? It may seem like great singers are pulling these ideas out of thin air, but they are actually using their ears to create melodies that fit within the chord changes of a song.

Today I have a great vocal exercise that will help you hear some cool ideas for riffs and melodies. It’s called the blues scale and it’s used all the time in blues, rock, soul, R&B and jazz music. Guitar players use it, pianos players, horn players…and of course singers.

When I was in college as a jazz voice major, the blues scale was one of the first scales we were taught. Today I’m going to teach you to sing it in all twelve keys.

How To Sing The Blues Scale


The blues scale is a 6 note scale. Here is the blues scale written out with scale degrees and solfege syllables in the key of C major.

blues scale

Are the solfege syllables Me, Se and Te new to you? Me (pronounced “May”) is a half step below Mi. Se is a half step below Sol and Te is a half step below Ti.

Check out this image of all of the solfege syllables. We use different syllables going up than we do going down. Think of the syllables going up as sharps (#) and the ones going down as flats (b).

Going Up!

chromatic scale


Going Down!

chromatic scale

How To Practice

Practice singing the blues scale in all twelve keys with the video or by yourself at a piano. After you can sing it in tune with the video/piano, practice singing the scale a capella. Be as precise as possible with your pitch. Aim for each pitch as though your are throwing a tiny dart. Next, try to create melodies/riffs using the notes in the scale. The most effective (and fun) way to do this is with a good blues jam track like this Jamey Aebersold track-

Enjoy your practice and I’ll see you next time!


1 Comment

  • spyro1253

    Reply Reply October 20, 2016

    I love your videos I like the C blues the best I look forward to seeing more videos

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