The Blues

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The Blues

  1. 1. The Blues Alice Antwi
  2. 2. <ul><li>While we will never know for sure, it is likely that music originally developed thousands and thousands of years ago as a means to coordinate human movement. Even today, it comes natural to start singing a rhythmic song to accompany the activity of a group of people, whether hiking in the mountains of building a roof, or even in the bathroom! </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The phrase &quot;the blues&quot; is a reference to the the Blue Devils, meaning &quot;down&quot; spirits, melancholy, and sadness. </li></ul><ul><li>Blues is a type of music developed during the late 19th century by African American performers. Blues embraces a variety of styles, including down-home or country blues, boogie-woogie, classic, jump and urban blues. Blues directly or indirectly influenced the vast majority of popular music during the 20th century, including jazz, rock, rhythm (R&B), and gospel. </li></ul>Introduction
  4. 4. <ul><li>Blues can be distinguished both as a musical form and as a style of music. </li></ul><ul><li>The typical blues form consists of a 12-bar harmonic pattern that subdivides into three groups of four bars each. A bar is one measure and in musical notation is indicated by a vertical line. The 12-bar pattern usually follows a traditional blues chord progression. This form was standardized in 1912 with the publication of “Memphis Blues” by musician and composer W. C. Handy. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Style <ul><li>In addition to its harmonic structure, blues as a style has three recognizable features: </li></ul><ul><li>the so-called blue note, </li></ul><ul><li>an aab three-line lyric structure, and </li></ul><ul><li>a particular pattern of call and response. </li></ul><ul><li>The blues lyric structure consists of two different lines, with the first line being repeated to form a three-line aab pattern. The following lines from Howlin Wolf’s 1951 recording of “How Many More Years” demonstrate this structure: </li></ul><ul><li>a. How many more years do I got to let you dog me around? a. How many more years do I got to let you dog me around? b. I just as soon be dead, sleeping six feet in the ground </li></ul>
  6. 6. Lyrics <ul><li>A common misperception is that blues lyrics are invariably sad. This is no doubt partially due to the name of the genre itself, calling to mind such melancholy phrases as “feeling blue” and “having the blues.” While it is true that blues lyrics often focus on problems that the singer or composer is struggling with, the lyrics suggest one or more strategies for dealing with the problems. As such, blues lyrics often help both performers and listeners publicly and privately manage deep-seated feelings about real-life problems with romantic relationships, the work place, racism, and other areas. In general, blues lyrics are written in the first person, often relate to inner feelings. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Early Genres <ul><li>The earliest brands of blues were first recorded in the years before World WarII in two quite different settings—from professional artists in urban environments, primarily in the North, and from musicians in rural areas, primarily in the South. Both played important roles in the development of the music. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Classic Blues <ul><li>The first blues recording, Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” came out in 1920. It quickly became a hit. Smith and other popular blues singers, predominantly female, developed what came to be termed classic blues. This style had urban roots, with songs mostly written by professional songwriters such as Handy and sung by vaudeville singers as part of a much larger repertoire that included pop songs and show tunes. The most important of the classic blues singers was undoubtedly Bessie Smith, who recorded over 160 songs for Columbia Records for 10 years. </li></ul>Ella Fitzgerald
  9. 9. Country Blues <ul><li>Country blues was first recorded in the mid-1920s, around the same time that black jazz, country-and-western, and Cajun music also made their recorded debuts. The country blues tradition divided roughly into three regionally based styles: Texas blues, Mississippi Delta blues and Piedmont blues. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>These hereby show them in more detail. </li></ul>Texas Blues Delta Blues Piedmont Blues
  11. 11. Texas Style <ul><li>The Texas style featured single-string lines on acoustic guitar and very precise, rhythmic playing and singing. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Delta Blues <ul><li>The country style known as Delta blues got its name from the fertile Mississippi River delta that produced so many famous blues artists. Slide guitar playing and highly emotional singing marked this style, as in the work of artists such as Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Piedmont Blues <ul><li>The third country style, Piedmont blues, was the most harmonically sophisticated and melodically developed of the prewar blues styles. It was influenced by nonblues black folk music, Anglo-American folk music and, most importantly, ragtime music </li></ul>
  14. 14. Boogie-Woogie and Guitar-Piano Blues <ul><li>In the late 1920s two new styles of blues developed: boogie-woogie piano blues and guitar-piano duos. </li></ul><ul><li>Boogie-woogie is a percussive, largely instrumental style of solo piano playing based on 12-bar blues strains. </li></ul><ul><li>Guitar-piano duos represented another style of prewar urban blues. </li></ul><ul><li>Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell were the most successful of these city-based duos. From 1928 to 1934 Carr and Blackwell recorded 114 different songs, all of them featuring Carr’s urbane vocal and piano stylings and Blackwell’s percussive, single-string lead guitar work. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Blues Decline and Revival <ul><li>The years of mainstream popularity for the blues did not last long. In the early 1950s, the jump and club blues styles disappeared from the national R&B charts, replaced by doo-wop vocal groups and, a few years later, black rock and roll. </li></ul><ul><li>Black audiences continued to support the blues on a regional basis. However, a burgeoning interest in the blues among white audiences in the United States and Europe provided support for the music from the early 1960s to the present. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Interes t in the blues was sparked again in the 1980s with the mainst ream success of two Texas blues-rock groups, the Double Trouble and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Young blues artists such as guitarist Robert Cray also helped reenergize the form and, through regular airplay, attracted new fans. </li></ul><ul><li>During the 1980s, blues societies were founded in cities throughout North America and radio shows devoted to the blues sprang up on many community stations. In 1980 the W. C. Handy Awards began, a program created by the nonprofit Blues Foundation to annually recognize the best in the blues. In addition, local governments in both Mississippi and Chicago launched blues festivals that quickly garnered a national following and served to keep the music vibrant in those two important cradles of the blues. </li></ul><ul><li>All of these developments combined virtually ensure that blues music will remain vital and strong into the 21st century! </li></ul>Revival
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