The Soul of the Blues

- Press Release

BluesGuitarist.Org reveals what the devil traded to Robert Johnson at the crossroads
—namely, the Soul-of-the-Blues. Guitarists seeking that secret—which makes the blues both tantalizing
and scandalizing—will find it on a multi-media CD-ROM that combines the motion-picture association
audio format (MP3) with the portable document format (PDF) and the platform-independent ISO format
(international standards organization-9660). Produced by GuitarMedia, the CD-ROM can be used with
any computer—PC, Mac, Linux—but it does not require a computer, because its 60-page manual can be
printed from the CD-ROM at any Kinkos and its 80 audio tracks can be played on any CD player that
plays MP3s as well as on Apple's iPod, HP's iRiver, Rio, Nomad, Philips and other portable music players.

The Soul-of-the-Blues is the second or nominal-level in its series of guitar programs. GuitarMedia’s first
CD-ROM is its entry-level Heart-of-the-Blues program that covers the “down and dirty” minor-tone
melodies at the heart of the blues. The Soul-of-the-Blues reveals the “upbeat and clean” major-tone
alternative to “down and dirty” minor-tone melodies, and shows guitarists how to switch between them
in the manner of Robert Johnson and every major blues player since him.

“Robert Johnson didn't really sell his soul to the devil at the crossroads, but he did travel to a
neighboring county in Mississippi where he discovered the secret that makes the blues both tantalizing
and scandalizing. Here is the secret: since the middle ages, European music traditionally segregated
major from minor with diatonic harmony and considered the blues-notes taboo. In contrast, American
blues uses a dominant harmony that enables melodies to wander between major and minor tones—
which was fruit forbidden to the Europeans. American blues tantilizes yet scandalizes, because it rejoices
in forbidden fruit,” said Robert ‘Colin’ Johnson, author of both the Heart- and the Soul-of-the-Blues.

The Soul-of-the-Blues shows players already familiar with the minor-tone blues how to create the major-tone
blues from it—without learning new fretboard positions. The Soul-of-the-Blues shows where to add
into your minor-tone melodies, the major third, sixth, seventh and ninth notes (that's E, A, B and D in
the key of C) which are left out by blues players who only know the minor-tone blues (C, Eb, F, Gb, G
and Bb).

When you combine major-tone blues with minor-tone blues, as mainstream players do constantly, you
no longer play off a scale, but instead adapt your licks to the dominant harmony of the changing chords.
In a nutshell, the major 3rd, 6th and 7th are part of the chords in I, IV and V-chord bars respectively, but
these major notes are skipped by players who play from the minor pentatonic scale. Instead of a scale,
the Soul-of-the-Blues shows guitarists how to combine major and minor tones on the fly. For instance,
you can lighten the blues-mood by slurring from the minor to the major third of whatever chord you are
playing, such as slurring from the Eb to E in the key of C. Major-tone slurs, slides, bends and trills all
project an “upbeat and clean” alternative to the typical “down and dirty” mood of a minor-tone blues.

“The Soul-of-the-Blues” program on the CD-ROM utilizes over 80 files comprising more than 280
megabytes including audio instructions, virtual bands, color-coded fretboards for those who can't read
music, guitar tablature and traditional music notation for those who can read music,” said Johnson.

“You've got 23 virtual bands you can load into your computer or iPod, and the whole program is based
on this really fun ‘Band Practice,’ metaphor where you jam-with-the-band using the provided Jam Mixes.
Plus there are no repeating scales or exercises, even the manual is fun—it shows you how to visualize the
fretboard location of tones you hear in your head.”

Band Practices with a virtual rhythm section makes acquiring fretboard mastery more akin to jamming
with your buddies than sweating over a "lesson." Each Band Practice marks a step in the six-step Soul-of-the-
Blues program which connects-the-dots between the perfect, minor and major tones. By following
the program, players begin to hear the difference between these tones and automatically begin
associating them with their fretboard patterns, guitar tablature and music notation, as they play,
improvise and compose.

Guitarists engrain fretboard patterns by jamming with a virtual band while viewing Music Booklets.
Recent scientific studies show that such a combination of aural and visual media provides a bridge to
new communications skills by including color-codes for fretboard patterns alongside guitar tablature
(TAB) and traditional music notation.


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