Blacks & The Blues

The Origin

Like an other musical genre, it is of no surprise that the blues transcended from African American roots.The blues sprung from the deep south in Mississippi and began to take over the south in the 1900s. The musical genre stemmed from folk music and work songs, but with the introduction of new instruments it gave girth to a renowned genre with an identity of its own. The music seemed simple and timeless, but the lyrics and melodies of the blues channeled the lives of slaves, ex-slaves and sharecroppers. The blues advanced from their experiences and struggles and was a way of expressing and communicating one’s suffering and difficult situation.

It depicted the lives of black people in the deep south. The blues related to the present and their struggles in that very moment. It represented their current state of melancholy. The genre is centralized around feeling down, depressed and simply blue.

The Elements

The blues was composed of instruments like harmonicas and guitars. However the key component of the blues genre is the twelve bar blues. The blues progression has a very different form in lyrics, phrase, and chord structure. In its basic form, it is predominantly based on the I, IV,  and V chords of a key.

The Artists

Some of the main artists in the blues were women. There was a parade of powerful women on stage singing about sex and feeling blue, which is why there is a very seductive and sensual vibe about the genre. One artist of the blues is Bessie Smith. Bessie strong was a very popular blues singer of the 1920s and 30s. She was the face of many minorities since the topic of her work was centered around working class if African Americans, poverty and the issues of the African American woman. Some other popular blues artist are B.B. King, Elizabeth Cotton, Big Mama Thornton and Muddy Waters.

Of course there are always some sort of social implications or commodifications going on. African-Americans set the tone for the genre and are responsible for the elements of the genre.In addition, the blues gave birth to rock and roll and even R&B. Blues music then became something to make money off of and African Americans didn’t profit from it. Many people are unaware that Elvis Presley was not the first performer of Hound Dog. It is unfortunate that the work of African-American blues singers is not always highlighted

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