The Roots of Blues Music
Blues is a very important type of music. Most music that you hear today
has some form of blues in it. If it wasn’t for the blues there wouldn’t be any
rock and roll, country, rap, pop, or jazz . Blues is also important for African
American culture. African Americans were also the people who started the blues.
The Blues started in the late 1800’s in levee camps or plantations in
places like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas were many African Americans lived.
The blues of that time was called country blues. It was a mixture of African
music, field hollers, work songs, religious music, and ragtime.
The main influence of blues music was African music which has a strong
and steady beat using drums or other instruments. Its beat and singing showed
in the blues.
Work songs and field hollers were an influence on blues. They were mostly
made up as the musicians were singing. They were a mixture of story telling
and talking with a definite call and response.
Religious music was very important in forming blues music. Because most
blacks went to Christian churches from an early age and were exposed to
Ragtime was an influence that came later and is a faster blues played with
the piano and someone singing which was usually played in bars called barrel
The first country blues that was written and published was “Memphis Blues”
by W.C. Handy in the early 1900’s.
The first recorded blues was ” Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith in 1915.
Most country blues were played with an acoustic guitar and with someone
singing. It also has a definite call and response between the voice and guitar.
Guitars were used because they had a broad range of notes, they were
portable, affordable, and they were permitted by slave owners at that time. The
slave owners didn’t permit drums because they thought the drums could be used to
signal to each other.
There were many beginning Blues musicians but only a few had their songs
written, published, or recorded. The few who did became very popular. One
example is Blind Melon Jefferson who started recording in 1926. His records
outsold every other male musician at the time. Other popular musicians were
Robert Johnson, Son House, Ma Rainy, and the most famous Charlie Patton who is
credited for being the founder of the Delta Blues.
In the end you can say that Blues came from many places, played an
important part in African American culture, And was and still is a popular form
of music for everybody.
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