Handythe African American leader of a dance orchestra, got stuck waiting for a train in the hamlet of Tutwiler, Mississippi. With hours to kill and nowhere else to go, Handy fell asleep on a hard wooden bench at the empty depot. When he awoke, a ragged black man was sitting next to him, singing about "goin' where the Southern cross the Dog" and sliding a knife against the strings of a guitar. The musician repeated the line three times and answered with his instrument.
Providing musicians with a shorthand vocabulary, the form takes a standard collection of instruments and gives accessible form to both music and lyrics.
Its simple and easily learned elements are a platform for collaboration and improvisation while serving as a gateway to rock and jazz music, connecting these to the field hollers from the cotton fields of the Deep South.
Origins and History As a musical style steeped in folk tradition, precise origins of the blues are difficult to define. Musicologists generally attribute a relationship to the music of the central Sudanic region of Africa, which crossed the Atlantic with the slave trade.
As portable recording technology emerged in the early 20th century, archivists began to capture blues players' music. Commercially released race records fixed and simplified the forms and conventions and allowed the spread of blues north, beyond its roots in the Southern states.
For example, a song in the key of A would use A, D and E chords -- the first, fourth and fifth notes of the A scale. The rhythm is structured into a bar, beat pattern that often repeats for the duration of the song.
Melodically, flattened notes blur the feeling of major and minor scales, usually the third and fifth notes of the scale. These blue notes are common with bending and sliding on guitars during solos. Instruments and Combos While blues rose from strictly vocal music in the cotton fields, acoustic guitars and banjos were the earliest instruments to accompany solo blues singers.
As musicians moved north to follow factory jobs in urban centers, electric guitars came to the fore, defining both the Chicago and, later, British schools of blues.
The harmonica, or blues harp, links back to the earliest days of the genre as a portable and easy-to-play instrument. As blues bands developed, standard rhythm instruments included a drum kit and bass, with electric bass emerging in the s.
Pianos and organs became more prominent in this period as well. Another common instrument for blues soloing is the saxophone. Themes and Variations Blues has always wandered from the I-IV-V, bar structure, and many songs with "blues" in the title incorporate popular song forms rather than strict blues construction.
The "feeling blue" idea of lyrical themes is not universal as some blues songs have up-tempo, dance elements."Blues for Smoke" is a vast exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art that explores art through the prism of the influence of Blues music. The interdisciplinary exhibit features works on film, paper, canvas, tape and more by more than 50 artists from the s to the present.
Become a Musicnotes Pro - Plus member today and receive PDFs included with every song plus take 15% off all digital sheet music purchases! Raven and Blues is a weekly one hour radio show and podcast playing the best of blues in all its forms from all over the world.
On FM in Spain and Cyprus, online on KCOR and as the longest running UK blues podcast broadcasting 60 minutes of the best. Blues Angel Music (BAM) was founded in August of by retired Navy Captain and fighter pilot Jim.
‘Milkcow’s Calf Blues’ – inspired by Kokomo Arnold’s ‘Milkcow Blues’ Robert Johnson has influenced just about everyone that picked up a guitar and played blues and rock.
Join us as we celebrate our 5th year of the annual floating music festival, Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea V! You’re invited to sail with Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Walter Trout and many more aboard Norwegian Pearl, February 25 – March 1, as we journey from Tampa, Florida to .