The blues is a musical style that was formed in response to the sufferings that the African American people endured for many generations. It was created in the rural Mississippi Delta region during the early 20th century. Blues has a vocal narrative style which features solo voice accompanied by instruments. Blues has influenced the formation of other music styles such as rock music, jazz, western and country music.
In 1920s, the blues style evolved into a harmonic structure and melodic shape. The lyrics of blues contain some three-line rhymed stanzas. Each stanza has a line of verse that is repeated and then completed with a final line. The repeating blues chord progression is the basis of harmony. It uses three major chords of a scale. Vocals are the focus of blues style music.
This is the earliest form of blues. It was developed in the 19th century Southern rural experience. Singers from one community went to other communities singing about freedom, love, sorrows, etc. Son House, Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton were among the early blues musicians.
When the rural African Americans migrated to urban areas like New Orleans and Memphis looking for jobs, the blues became more urbanized. This classic or urban blues featured a male or a female singer, along with a piano or jazz combo. The urban blues became very famous. Compositions like ‘St. Louis Blues’ by W.C. Handy in 1914 became so popular that ordinary songs added the word ‘blues’ to make them popular. Now blues were not popular among African American audiences; the Americans also started loving it. Blues could be heard in parties, small dance halls and any other events.
After World War II, the blues moved to cities like Chicago. Musicians like Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters increased the sound by amplifying guitars and emphasizing the drums. The white musicians adapted this style in the 1950s. Blues hits were recorded by musicians like Elvis Presley and Bill Haley who later transformed into rock and roll. After a decade British musicians like Rolling Stone and Eric Clapton adapted the blues styles and transformed t into hard rock style.
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Though most blues styles are now transformed into rock and roll, the original blues styles are still famous. People still listen to musicians like Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Now you can find the rhythm of blues in contemporary ad jazz music as well. You will still find many fans of the blues throughout the world.