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The Significance Of The Blues In History

2204 words - 9 pages

The blues is a musical genre that was created in the fields by slaves as a way of communication that was not understood by their master’s and overseers. Slaves sang about their misfortunes, the sadness and abuse they received on the plantations. This music would eventually evolve into lyrics that had a one line stance that would repeat four times. Blues were more of an emotion driven by long lost love, betrayal, adultery, and sadness. The blues progressed in the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans. It later progressed in the Midwest as African Americans moved north in search of better lives and opportunities. As the music evolved several different subgenres were created such as jazz-blues blends. The music went on to develop into rhythm and blues and rock n roll as we know it today. This paper will give you the introduction of how the blues came into existence and how it has evolved in African American history and the American culture.
History of the Blues
The blues music started as the key artistic expression of the African American culture. There are a couple of features that are common to all blues, because the origin of the blues takes its form and it's progression from the eccentricities of single performances. However, there are some features that were existent long before the creation of the modern blues. An early blues-like music was call-and-response shouts, which was a "functional expression... style without accompaniment or harmony and unbounded by the formality of any particular musical structure." A form of this pre-blues was heard in slave field shouts and hollers, expanded into "simple solo songs laden with emotional content"(Aces, 2013). The blues, as we know it today, can be seen as a musical style based on both European harmonic structure and the African call-and-response tradition, transformed into an interplay of voice and guitar (The blues have played a significant part in expressing the culture of Afro-Americans. The blues referred to a state of mind meaning many musicians sang and played to rid themselves of “the blues”. The blues bring to mine many different emotions such as love, break-ups, regrets and many other instances of misfortune. The songs usually inform the listeners of the trials and tribulations that the singer is experiencing at that time. It is said that the blues originated on southern plantations in the 19th century as spirituals that slaves sang as they tolled in the hot sun in the fields. They developed these songs to help with the repetitiveness of their work. The blues mirrored the virtues and feelings of blacks in America for three-quarters of a century.
No particular individual can lay claim to inventing the blues. The blues were created by untrained musicians who could barely read music if at all. The music consisted of 12 bars which consisted of three line stanzas. The first two lines were of the same lyrics with the third line must coordinate with the third line. This simplicity of the...

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