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Music Theory

The effect of African music on white music was initially barely felt, but it was going to become the main factor fueling innovation. In fact, the folk music of Europeans had barely changed at all over the centuries, but was going to change dramatically once African-American music became to influence it. Rhythm was not an African invention, but certainly the African polyrhythms were wildly different from the linear rhythms of European folk music.

De facto, the ghetto remained unsung till the 1970s, when rap was born. As blues music was heard and “consumed” by white folks, it became more aware of its own meaning. It also had to somehow “hide” that meaning (e.g., the sexual one), that was not compatible with the values of white society. Thus the bluesmen developed indulged in “double talk” to confront themes that white people shunned. Black music was originally meant as music for blacks only, not only ignored but often despised by the white community. The demographic movement of the economic boom that followed the reconstruction after the Civil War helped export black musicians and their music to white cities, and tear down some of the cultural walls between the two communities.

King, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Etta James, and more. So while you’ll get a serious concentration of live blues music venues in one spot along Beale Street, you can hear the Memphis blues at venues throughout the city. Tour the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. These museums book-end Beale Street and tell the WHOLE Memphis music story, tracing the city’s blues and gospel roots to its rock ‘n’ roul and soul revolutions. – The irrepressible spirit of the blues was on full display during The Blues Foundation’s 42nd Blues Music Awards presented by Global Electronic Technology when winners across twenty-five categories were announced. Broadcasted virtually due to COVID precautions, the show’s highlights included heartfelt video statements from many of the winners as well as lively performances from several past BMA winning artists.

It became very popular, and thereafter many other Tin Pan Alley songs entitled blues began to appear. “Guitar-driven hook-laden contemporary blues.Think latter-day Eric Clapton or Robert Cray with shades of Luther Allison and B.B. King.” This example continues the John Mayer idea and adds in a simple Eric Clapton-style turnaround section. This turnaround can be used to set up for a repeat of the 12-bar blues progression or used as an ending, just as we’ve done here. In 1955, Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” hit number one; sales eventually topped 22 million.

African Americans in the early 20th century, originally in the South. The simple but expressive forms of the blues became by the 1960s one of the most important influences on the development of popular music—namely, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, and country music—throughout the United States. Gershwin’s music fused classical music, popular music and jazz to create a new distinctively American sound. In the same year, US bandleader Paul Whiteman commissioned Gershwin to write his most famous piece of music, “Rhapsody in Blue” . We know very little about how this early style developed as most musicians would move trough communities leaving little or no record of what they performed. Similar to the female musicians of the classical era, blues musicians were considered low class and not worthy of documentation.

The blues are a way of dealing with sorrow, rather than wallowing in it. The lady singers, being professional entertainers, of course requested more. Many of the best known blues musicians came from the southern states of America, and some would argue that the Mississippi delta was the birthplace of the blues.

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