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Watch the Question & Answer online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Power Phrasing

Great blues musicians throughout history have improvised solos and fills using a technique called call and response or question and answer. The first phrase indicates a musical question and the second phrase serves as the answer to the original phrase.

So how does it work in practical terms?

The question - I like to structure my questions as short 1 or 2 bar phrases that sound unfinished and unresolved. If a note is dissonant in any way I choke that note off with an implied bend towards a resolution point. I keep the question phrases shorter than the answer phrases because I want to leave space between each phrase, it gives the listener time to to think about what you’ve said before they hear the response.

The answer - I tend to reference/replicate or mimic the first part of the question phrase in order to reiterate the point, then I deliver my answer and response in a longer phrase that always resolves to a chord tone (Sweet Note). I also like my answer phrases to leave enough space at the end of a 2 bar phrase so that the next question has time to breath.

One bar phrases work fine on slower tempo tunes but my preference is to phrase using 2 bar sections, this allows for emotive space between each Q&A.