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David's Tip of the Day: Value of Repetition, Part 5 (A B/A C Chours Form)

David Barrett Admin's picture

In Little Walter's "Off the Wall" he plays a two-bar lick (A) that repeats to fill up the first line of the 12 Bar Blues. He then takes that lick and sequences it to the IV Chord to play a version of that lick, but now relative to the IV Chord (B). When the I Chord returns in Bar 7 he again repeats his main theme lick (A). In the last line, like the AAB Chorus Form, he changes his lick to bring the chorus to a close. This Chorus Form known as the A B/A C Chorus Form.

There are three ways to treat the B (lick found on the IV Chord, Bars 5 and 6)...

B = Contrast = Change... play something completely different.

B = Slight Change = Repeat your A Lick with a very slight variation.

B = Sequence = Play your A Lick transposed to match the IV Chord. For example. 3 4 4 5+ 4 is the 3rd, 5th, 5th, 6th, 5th of the I Chord. If you play the 3rd, 5th, 5th, 6th, 5th of the IV Chord you get 5+ 6+ 6+ 6 6+... play this, you'll hear it.

The A B/A C Chorus Form is the most common Chorus Form used for the construction of a song's head. What's great about this Chorus Form is that you hear your main theme (A Lick) three times (like the AAA Chorus Form), but you get lots of interest via the changes on the IV Chord (B) and V Chord (C).

Listen to "Off the Wall" again for the great melodic effect this creates.

Have a great weekend!