Elements of the Blues by Sydnei Young

Origin and Characteristics

The blues has deep roots in American history, particularly enslaved African-American history. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th Century, specifically from Mississippi the Delta Blue.  The Blues came from the negroes work songs and talks about the troubles and trials in this world. One element of the Blues traces its roots back to the fields and plantations. The pattern the slaves used in their work songs was called call-and-response. In this singing, the leader sings a line then the group answers. You may hear a singer call and the other singers respond, a performer sing a call and then respond with an instrument, or a musician perform a call-and-response entirely with instruments. Also, a very common blues chord progression is the 12-bar blues. The progression is I, IV, and V then those three cords are repeated in this order: I-I-I-I-IV-IV-I-I-V-IV-I-I.

Social Implications, Commodification, Influence of Genres, & Key Performers

The Blues music was created for people to dance at the dance halls. Blues and jazz have always influenced each other, and they still interact in countless ways today. Blues also gave birth to rock n’roll. Sheet Music and Records made money from the Blues music, specifically Race Records. Race Records were created and performed by African Americans to Black audiences. Two vital artist during the Blues period are Ma Rainey and B.B. King.

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Conclusionary Opinion: The Blues helps people to learn their innermost self and battle their demons. As the bluesman sings of things he/she has experienced, it helps the next individual to feel as if they experienced that same predicament.