Blues: The Expressions of Oppression


The blues genre originated in the 1890s, particularly in Black communities of small towns in the Deep South or Midwest. Some elements of Blue were inspired negro spirituals such as the field holler. The blues also contains elements of the folk ballad which inspired the harmonic and structural form of the blues.


Blues songs were typically sung solo and the singer usually had a harmonica, guitar, or other types of instrument. Blues songs were typically slow and the lyrics were very emotional and straight to the point. The lyrics often told stories about the singers’ life and struggles. The blues was not a polished genre but instead it was a true representation of everyday life.

Social Implications

The blues were created and made popular during a time in which racial segregation was very prevalent in the United States. The blues expressed the hardships that African Americans were facing during the time. The blues created a safe place for African Americans to express their emotions and also their creativity.

Important Performers:

The important performers of this genre are Sonny Boy Williamson II, Bessie Smith, and Robert Johnson. Williamson was a blues harmonica player, songwriter, and singer from Mississippi. Smith was nicknamed the “Empress of the Blues”, she was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s. Johnson was a blues singer, songwriter, and guitar player born in Mississippi. He made major recordings during the 1930s.


Blues performers often made money by performing in the streets of the deep south and Midwest but as blues music became more popular blues concerts have been taking place at festivals, concerts, clubs, and auditoriums. Performing blues songs was always a way to make money, many people who sung the blues were poor blacks in rural areas. They were able to make a substantial amount of money in music, even more than their actual jobs.

Inspiration of Future Genres:

The blues inspired future genres such as jazz, country music, and rock and roll. Rock and roll was actually stolen from African Americans because rock and roll is actually the blues. The genre was stolen by white people and made popular in Europe which then led Americans to see the true origin of rock and roll which was the blues.

Conclusory Opinions:

In my opinion, the blues genre was very innovative and unique compared to other genres. The blues genre is unique due to the fact that it was made popular in America by European bands. White people took the raw emotions and struggles that made the blues and copied it even though the credit should have clearly been given to African Americans. This shows the greed in the music industry and also how African Americans were treated at the time.


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