Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicJazz · 9 years ago

Whats the difference Between the blues and jazz?

In my music lessons we sometimes do jazz and sometimes do the blues and they sound similar.


I'm just wondering.

Update 2:

I play some Alto saxophone and the clarinet.

9 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Both are improvisatory.

    Blues is a particular song form, a set of chord changes that you can play a number of ways, such as "Chicago blues", "rhumba blues" or even "jazz blues". Blues also refers to a stylistic approach... you could play any song with a "bluesy" choice of notes and phrasing. Blues can also refer to the catalog of blues tunes that most blues musicians consider part of their standard reperetoire, songs like Stormy Monday, I Ain't Got Nothin But The Blues, Born Under A Bad Sign, Nadine, and others.

    Jazz is a bit more wide ranging, but it can be looked at in similar ways. Harnonically and stylistically, jazz has a certain vocabulary. The jazz vocabulary is a lot wider than blues; a jazz player will use certain chords and stylistic ideas that a blues (or country or rock or classical) player would not. Jazz steals from every kind of music there is, including the co-opting of almost any song and playing it as a jazz piece. Many of the "jazz standards" of today are the result of jazz musicians taking the popular tunes of the day (Tin Pan Alley standards that were the backbone of musical theatre) and "jazzifying" the changes and the feeling with which they played them. The blues reperetoire is limited more strictly to certain songs that identify more directly as blues.

    So they do have similarities, but if you listen to really experienced jazz players and really experienced blues players (especially if you do this a lot), the differences become easier to hear.

    For example this is blues:

    Youtube thumbnail


    And this is jazz:

    Youtube thumbnail

  • 9 years ago

    the blues often uses mayor 7ths and pentatonics which are the things that give it its distinctive sound, jazz uses a more "chromatic" sound. im a drummer so i'll talk about the rythm before i say some stupid harmony theory mistake, jazz often uses a swing pattern and blues uses a shuffle pattern, they are both written in triplets and they but the ways each artists incorporates them to the music is different, for example, nearly all blues will have an accent on the first beat of a new section, in this case, the time when the tone changes "as in the 12 bar blues thingy" while in jazz most people have an accent on... stranger possitions the "and" of the 4th note on a 4/4 bar or the second "ta" of the 3rd. lastly, rhythmically blues is easier than jazz

  • 9 years ago

    Most blues music works around set structures - usually with rather highly cliché licks that makes it taste the way it does. The blues is almost always about anguish and contains a lot of bent notes and microtones. The blues tends to (and this is a complete generalization) work around basic harmony - Chord I, IV and V - often major with a minor 7th on top (or Dominant chord in classical terms) - it will nearly always stick to one scale - a common blues scale consists of:

    Root, minor 3 (often just a slightly flattened major, always a real note in this context), major 3, perfect 4, diminished 5th (again sometimes just a slightly flattened perfect 5th), perfect 5th, major 6th and minor 7th.

    Jazz on the other hand, often features much more complex structures and harmony. In a lot of Jazz, this structure is repeated with a melody (called the 'head') in between which musicians take turns to improvise - however, this isn't the case in Big Band, for example, or in more modern Jazz works which don't use this structure at all. In jazz chord extensions and voicings tend to bigger and more varied. Its not uncommon to find complex chords such as the V7#9 or minormajor 7s.

  • Tom K
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    As your musical ear develops, you should find the two more different than you do now. There really is a big difference in the rhythms. And Jazz tends to be more spontaneous/improvisational. More than anything, in my opinion, Jazz is about the music whereas Blues is about the story being told.

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  • 9 years ago

    ahhh... :)

    The blues is when people were slaves and they weren't happy so they would write songs during their work to cheer them up, soo the blues is a sad, emotional, express your feeling kind of song type.

    Jazz, its like all the instruments together! these songs are more happier than blues. The notes are more swing, more relaxing at times, other times its up beat etc. Jazz has trumpet, guitars, bass, vocals, sax, etc...

    Source(s): school ;)
  • 9 years ago

    I would say blues may belong to jazz.

    While most blues have the same length of the music (12 bars) and the same chord progression, jazz varies in the both.

  • 9 years ago

    Jazz enjoyed nationwide penetration in America compared to the pocketed popularity of blues music during their early heydays.

    Source(s): Read Article: Difference Between Jazz and Blues
  • 9 years ago

    The blues are normally written pieces.

    Jazz is a basic chord structure that all the musicians follow but the individual players virtually make up the tunes as they go along, following the structure laid down.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    They're quite similar as far as harmonics, but Blues is usually more low-key and quiet, while Jazz tends to be more upbeat, loud, and often experimental.

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