21 May 2013


Hundreds of the songs (not counting the 12-bar blues) played by traditional jazz bands are structured in 32 bars. Sometimes there is a pattern of two sets of sixteen bars – each of the sixteen starting with similar notes.

But many tunes have a ‘middle eight’ – so-called but not really middle because they are actually the third of four sets set of eight bars. The tunes often have an A – A – B – A structure, in which the three A sections (each of eight bars) are very similar in melody and harmonic progression, while the B section (sometimes called the ‘release’ or ‘bridge’) has a contrasting melody and harmonic structure.

For the musicians, it is a tough job learning all these chord progressions and the middle eights can be particularly tricky and easily forgotten.

Fortunately there are some recurring patterns and it helps a little to familiarise yourself with these. Here are three of them. Please note: most tunes listed below have their own slight variations within these structures.

Suzie Middle Eight Pattern

Based on these chords of the Home Key:
 I   |   I7th  |  IV   |   IV   |   II7th   |    II7th  |   V7th |    V7th 


All Alone by the Telephone
Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Big Butter and Egg Man
Darkness on the Delta
Honeysuckle Rose
I Had Someone Else Before I Had You
I’m Alone Because I Love You
I’m Confessin’ That I Love You
If You Knew Suzie
Just Squeeze Me
Move the Body Over
Some Day Sweetheart
That Certain Party
The Best Things in Life and Free
We’ll Meet Again
When I Leave the World Behind
You Always Hurt the One You Love
You’re the Cream in My Coffee

Girl of My Dreams Middle Eight Pattern

Based on these chords of the Home Key:
 III7th  |  III7th  | VI7th |  VI7th  |  II7th  | II7th  | V7th |  V7th 


Do  Your Duty
Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue
Girl of My Dreams
Give it Up
I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me
Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
Kansas City Kitty
Love Letters in the Sand
Please Don’t Talk About Me
Side By Side
Stevedore Stomp

Ice Cream Middle Eight Pattern

Based on these chords of the Home Key:
 IV  |   IV  |   I   |    I  |    II7th   |   II7th   |   V7th   |   V7th 


Blue Turning Grey
Don’t Sweetheart Me
Exactly Like You
I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones
Ice Cream
Monday Date
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine
San Jacinto Stomp
Sentimental Journey
There’s an Old Mill By the Stream
When the Moon Comes over the Mountain