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Value of Repetition, Part 10 (Target Notes & Chord Change Chorus Form)

David Barrett Admin's picture

In most songs we're used to hearing the harmonica and band start together, with maybe a little pickup from the harmonica. The licks fit nicely within the 12 Bar Blues and are generally intuitive to play... to feel where they belong in the form.

"Baby Scratch My Back" starts with a lick that ends on the 2 draw (he's using a B-flat harmonica by the way). The entire lick leads to the downbeat (beat 1) of Bar 3 where the band enters at the same time that 2 draw is played. The next lick, which is just shy of a measure in length (3 1/2 beats to be exact), starts in Bar 4 and leads to the downbeat of the IV7 Chord. The theme is that each lick is essentially a large pickup that leads to the downbeat of a chord change.

What made this song challenging to play for Steve was that we're used to music starting on beat 1, or with a small pickup to lead to beat 1. With a lick that starts almost a complete measure before a change happens it can be challenging to hear where you need to start in order to meet the band for chord change.

What's structurally cool about this songs is that each lick played is essentially there to support one note, the note on the downbeat of chord change. The 2 draw is the root note of the I7 Chord, the 2 draw is the 5th of the IV7 Chord and the 4 draw is the root note of the V7 Chord. This type of phrasing is called Chord Change Chorus Form, and this is a great example of it in use.

Visit for a transcription of what I'm speaking about.