Are you down with the Blues?

The blues genre has its roots in American slave plantations of the 19th century. The slaves would sing negro spirituals, chants, and work songs while on their feet, day to night. The genre took on the name “blues” because of the soulful but sulky tone of the songs. Blues spread to be more of a regional genre, with different sounds corresponding to different regions. There were Chicago Blues, Mississippi blues, West Coast blues, and most importantly, Deep South blues. Each type had a different sound to it. Proceeding the spread of the genre, a jazz-blues hybrid sound came to be.

Most blues music is comprised of 12 bars or measures. A specific series of notes is used and the individual parts of the scale are known as the blue notes.

Blues continued to become popular after slavery and was stolen to be made popular among the white community. Elvis Presley would be considered a pioneer in the blues genre. This is another instance of where white people used music generated by African-Americans as a marketing scheme. Nonetheless, there were many black performers that were notable in the blues genre. Names such as B.B King, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy were some African-Americans who defined the blues genre.


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