Boogie Woogie Piano Sheet Music
Boogie Woogie CDs
How To Play Boogie Woogie Piano
Here's a brief how to lesson, but first a bit of history. The Boogie Woogie Piano style was very popular in the 1930's and 40's. Boogie woogie music could be heard everywhere. And every kid taking lessons during that time probably wanted to play it.
Most likely many teachers gave boogie woogie piano lessons. Stuffy classical teachers would not! A lot of the swing bands played it as a part of their repertoire. It was perfect for swing dance, nick named "The Jitterbug". Now, while some boogie woogie did swing, a lot of it did not, instead being played with a driving straight eighth note rhythm.
Most band arrangements did swing while most piano pieces at best used a dotted 8th note/16th note rhythm, which is more like a shuffle beat. Boogie woogie piano chords used are always basic triads, usually 1-4-5 and sometimes a 2 minor 7th.
There are at least 25 bass line configurations. The root-fifth, root-sixth pattern being the easiest and probably most used. The walking eighth note octave pattern and the running eighth note line are also quite common.
There are many more patterns and permutations. Some fall easily under the left hand fingers, while the ones with more movement, such as walking 8th note octaves that follow the triad with a sixth or seventh, may actually take quite a lot of practice to master.
As for the right hand licks and patterns, most are really nothing more than standard hot blues licks. And the musical form used for just about all BW tunes is a 12 bar blues form, with a 1-4-5 chord progression. Once you learn the blues form then just use it over and over for all boogie.
That's easy! Now find 2 or 3 left hand bass patterns that you like, then practice them with a steady beat until your left arm nearly falls off. Then find some hot right hand licks and patterns then practice them on each chord, until your right arm nearly falls off..
Then put them together and work them up to speed. Which is usually quite fast. If this sounds like a lot of work, well it is. Nothing good, and in this case something that is this much fun, comes easy. So now you can beat me daddy 8 to the bar!
Eight to the bar was a common phrase used to describe the BW feel. Does anybody still know how to jitterbug? Obviously the fast driving style with a hard fixed rhythm pattern in the left hand makes it a somewhat limited and inflexible type of music.
Especially on the piano. The big bands with different arrangements were able to loosen it up a bit and even use the swing feel quite effectively. But for the most part, this music is just plain ole fun! Maybe that's why those old classical teachers didn't like it.
Boogie woogie along with blues influenced rock and roll in the early 50's. Actually most early rock used the 12 bar blues form and some boogie bass lines. Have Fun! Search below for boogie woogie lesson books.
Boogie Woogie Piano Players List
Meade Lux Lewis
Clarence Smith: Known as Pinetop Smith he was credited with putting out the first boogie woogie piano piece in 1929.
Andrews Sisters: They sang a lot of boogie songs. A lot of the bw songs had words. Of course now days we only pay attention to the instrumental numbers. Mostly on piano.
Cow Cow Davenport
Ella Fitzgerald covered the Cow Cow Boogie
Pete Johnson and Big Joe Turner performed at Carnegie Hall in 1938. After that their tune Roll Em Pete became a big hit.
Memphis Slim: Considered a blues player, he played boogie woogie, blues and jazz.
Boogie Woogie Red
Clarence Williams: He played other styles, but recorded some of the first boogie lines.
Liberace: He apparently played all styles.
Solo piano music for weddings and parties in the Memphis TN area. Jazz combo also available. Call: 901-827-3609