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A First Book of Blues: 16 Arrangements for the Beginning Pianist

With these easy-to-play renditions, beginning pianists of all ages can enjoy one of America's most celebrated art forms. Sixteen popular blues melodies include traditional songs such as "St. James Infirmary" and "Careless Love" as well as several numbers by blues giants Jelly Roll Morton and W. C. Handy, including "St. Louis Blues," "Joe Turner Blues," and "The Hesitating Blues." Students, teachers, and other pianists will find these arrangements much simpler and more melodic than other versions. The selections include suggestions for fingering and are arranged in order of increasing difficulty. Introductory material by editor David Dutkanicz offers helpful explanations of the melodic and rhythmic theory behind the blues.


  • The Blues Scale
  • Blues Rhythm
  • Down Home Blues, Tom Delaney (1889–1963)
  • Outta’ Bed Blues, Traditional
  • Crazy Blues, Perry Bradford (1883–1970)
  • St. James Infirmary, Traditional
  • Prison Bound,Traditional
  • Weary Blues, Artie Mathews (1888–1958)
  • St. Louis Blues, W. C. Handy (1873–1958)
  • Yellow Dog Blues, W. C. Handy (1873–1958)
  • Joe Turner Blues, W. C. Handy (1873–1958)
  • Careless Love, Traditional
  • Arkansas Blues, Anton Lada (c.1890–1944) & Spencer Williams (1889–1965)
  • The Hesitating Blues, W. C. Handy (1873–1958)
  • Beale Street Blues, W. C. Handy (1873–1958)
  • Royal Garden Blues, Spencer Williams (1889–1965) & Clarence Williams (1898–1965)
  • Jelly Roll Blues, Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (1885–1941)
  • Memphis Blues, W. C. Handy (1873–1958)

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