A Performance Touchscreen Instrument
for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
15-Jul 2010

The Blues Scale

Much of contemporary music owes its roots to the blues - rock, bluegrass, r&b, hip hop, jazz, funk, soul, and many types of dance music all borrow heavily from the musical intervals and patterns pioneered by the early blues artists in America's Deep South.
Hexaphone's design -- and the app's name itself -- come from the Hexatonic Blues Scale. This scale lends itself perfectly to a six-note keyboard:
5
perfect 5th
m7
minor 7th
1
root
m3
minor 3rd
4
perfect 4th
TT
tritone
5
perfect 5th
m7
minor 7th
1
root
m3
minor 3rd
4
perfect 4th

The distinguishing characteristics of the Blues Scale are found in the top row of keys:
  • The 3rd and 7th are both minor, giving it a forlorn, contemporary feel
  • The dark blue note is the Tritone - also known as the "devil's note". Use this to create tension or to lead to the 4th or the 5th - but avoid it unless you know what you're doing.
One of the great things about the Blues Scale is how forgiving it is - every note is OK to play at any point in the blues form.
To get started, stick to the 1 and the 4, using the 3rd and 7th to create melodic interest. Try playing over the traditional "twelve-bar blues" form: {1, 1, 1, 1}, {4, 4, 1, 1}, {5, 4, 1, 5}