Find a topic or subject for your blues song. The main purpose of blues music is to convey feelings and emotions, so topics that evoke sadness, reflection or remorse are popular themes. Think about events in your personal life, the lives of people around you or in the news for ideas.
Write lyrics to your blues song. The most traditional format for a blues song is three punches, of three lines each, which conform to the AAB format. Simply put, each stanza or verse has three lines; line 1 indicates a problem, line two repeats the problem (often with a slight variation) and line three solves the problem. Rhyming is not required but can be used. For example:
Line 1 – My darling told me she does not love me anymore
Line 2 – Yes, my darling told me she does not love me anymore
Line 3 – She’s in love with another man, now she’s going out the door
Write music for your new blues song that suits your lyrics. Again, basic blues music is simple and follows a standard pentatonic scale music pattern. With a typical length of 12 bar, a typical chord progression would be I – IV – V, or the tonic, subdominant and dominant notes on the selected scale. With our previous example where each chord notation is equal to one action:
Line 1 – (I) My baby told me, (IV) she does not love me anymore (I) (I)
Line 2 – (IV) Yes, my darling told me, (IV) she no longer loves me (I) (I)
Line 3 – (V) She is in love with another man, (IV) now she goes out the door (I) (V)
Play with emotion and lots of emotion to correctly convey the style of blues music. For some examples of blues music in action, listen to the recordings of Robert Johnson, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters or ZZ Hill. These artists, and many more like them, are considered masters of the blues genre and can offer a lot of direction and inspiration for writing blues music.
Tips and warnings
Blues music emerged in the mid to late 19th century as a form of expression for displaced African Americans. With an oral form of traditional African poetry, these songs were popular and could be heard around the Mississippi Delta area in the Deep South. Today, blues music is still very popular and has influenced many other genres of modern music. Writing blues music is not technically complicated and usually requires more emotion than musical skill.