A Guide To Blues Music
Article by Daniel Hughes
A Guide To Blues Music:
Heavy metal,hard rock,rock and roll music have become a craze among the music buffs. But many of them may not be aware that these music genres evolved from Blues music. Blues is the name of a musical genre as well as a musical form. It was developed by the African American community in the southern United States during the beginning of the 20th century. The origin of Blues lies in the spiritual songs, work songs,rhymed ballads,chants,shouts,filed hollers,etc. Blues form features unique chord progressions. Among these specific chord progressions, the most common one is the twelve bar blues chord progression. Blue note is also widely used in this music genre. It is basically a note which is played and sung at a much lower pitch than major scale.
Blues Music Form:
A cyclic musical form is used in the Blues music. In this cyclic form, chord progression reflects the call and response scheme. In the earliest avatar of Blues,there was no defined particular chord progression. Bessie Smith was the first Blues pioneer, who introduced and popularized the twelve bar blues in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Eight bar blues were also quite popular among other chord progressions. In the songs,such as “Key To The Highway”,”Trouble In Mind”,”How Long Blues”, eight bar blues form was used extensively. Sixteen bar form was also employed in some memorable songs,like “Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock and “Sweet Sixteen Bars” by Ray Charles.
The earliest Blues songs used to contain only one line which used to be repeated four times. The standard structure, which every Blues songwriter follows today, was originated in early 1920s. The standard current structure is known as AAB pattern. This pattern features a line which is sung over the first four bars. Then it is repeated over the next four bars. Finally the pattern ends with a long line,sung over the last bars. Two of the earliest Blues numbers “St. Louis Blues” and “Dallas Blues”, which featured twelve bar blues, were composed on AAB structure. This style was adopted to break the monotony of repeating the line thrice. The blues numbers were sung in a rhythmic pattern than a melodious one. The usual form of the early blues was loose narrative, in which the woes of the labor life,oppression and torture of the ruling class,agony and pain were reflected.:
Evolution Of Blues:
“Dallas Blues” by Hart Wand was the first Blues song,which was released in 1912. The next number, which followed the “Dallas Blues” in the same year, was “The Memphis Blues”by W.C. Handy. “Crazy Blues” by Perry Bradford was the first recorded Blues number,sung by Mamie Smith in 1920. Since then many musicians like, Blind Blake, Jimmie Rodgers,Bo Carter,Lonnie Johnson,Blind Lemon Jefferson,Tamp Red,Sylvetser Weaver put Blues music on a strong foundation. Based on these pioneer’s work, prominent artists in the later part of 20th century,such B.B.King,Albert King,Stevie Ray Vaughan,John Lee Hooker,Lightning Hopkins, not only popularized Blues music but took it to it’s greatest height.
Availability Of Blues Music:
With the advent of internet, Blues music is now available on many music websites which could be accessed with the help of a network support provider. The songs are stored in different digital audio formats, which could be played online or downloaded on a computer with the assistance of a PC Support provider.