Origin and Characteristics
The Blues originated in the Mississippi Delta in the late 1800s. Blues music was originally a folk music that was popular among former slaves. The Blues spread all around the United States with the Great Migration, but when it reached more urban areas, various Blues-hybrid styles emerged. Most Blues music is comprised of 12 bars and typically uses call-and-response style. Early Blues music was a form of expression for black people that did not require the adherence to any musical structure.
Social Implications & Key Performers
Blues music was about expressing the struggles of being black in America and it allowed black artists to be seen with much more credibility as musicians. In many ways, Blues music humanized the black community in the eyes of its white audience. Some key performers of the Blues include Muddy Waters, Mammie Smith, Etta James, and Ma Rainey, who is considered the “Mother of the Blues”.
Influences of Future Genres
When country Blues traveled across the country, many regional styles were created. These styles include St. Louis Blues, Memphis Blues, West Coast Blues, and many more. These styles were more fast paced than the traditional Blues music that was about expressing hardships, and they eventually led to the creation of the genres ‘Rhythm and Blues’ and ‘Rock and Roll’.
This genre allowed for a true expression of raw emotion in the world of music, which I believe is always beneficial in regards to creating art. The way that Blues artists are able to act as storytellers is a very valuable quality that allows for their experiences to be passed down.