Blues in the South


Blues is a musical genre that originated in the south by African Americans at the end of the 19th century. It was heavily influenced by work songs, field hollers, spirituals, etc. After slavery African Americans used the Blues to express all the pain and troubles they went through during slavery. As the genre became more popular people started to sing about anything such as love and life.


A lot of primary instruments that are used are the piano, guitar, harmonica, bass, and drums. Blues was a way for performers to express themselves through song or tell a story whether it is good, bad, happy, or sad. Blues was very expressive and simple. Blues has a call and response style to it also. It tells a “loose narrative” of African Americans. Blues music is made of twelve bars using four counts.

Social Implications

As Blues music became popular black men could not perform as themselves. They would basically have to dress up and make a fool of themselves. White people would take Blues music as their own and would not give credit to blacks. The genre became a driving force during the Civil Rights Movement.

Important Performers

Mammie Smith


Bessie Smith


W. C. Handy



Whites Americans started to take interest in Blues and sponsoring Blues performers and tours. Performers would do shows and and go on tours which made lots of money. W.C. Handy was a musician and composer. He named himself the “Father of Blues.” His song “Memphis Blues” was very popular and he sold his sheet music for $100. Sheet music was sold at first then musical recordings started being made by women. Which started the selling of blues records.

Influences of Future Genres

Blues music comes from Ragtime it is just slowed down with more instruments. The genre had become so popular it started to influence genres such as Jazz, Rock & Roll, and R&B with its melodic feel and harmonies. It has affected these genres in major ways because you can still hear Blues in these genre to this day.

Conclusory Opinions

Blues is a great genre to listen to. You can really hear the soul that performers put into their music. Performers were very creative because they would make music about anything and use anything as an instrument. This genre has come so far over time. The genre has turned its hard times into something extraordinary.

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