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Discover The Blues, From Legends To Live Music, In Memphis

The Blues Foundation’s COVID – 19 Blues Musician Relief Fund and HART Fund provide financial and medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, located in Downtown Memphis, adds the opportunity for blues lovers of all ages to interact with blues music and history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news. They were made by black women singers who were actually singing a somewhat adulterated form of the music which, strangely enough, was later called “the classic blues”. Ma Raineyand Bessie Smith were the most authentic and popu­lar performers of the genre in the 1920’s. Singers such as Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris found success fronting groups that mixed blues with the jazz and swing styles of the 1940s, and the blues fostered early rock and roll in this era.

Many blacks of the plantations were skilled fiddlers, but that was a job they mostly performed for the white masters, not for their own community. The music for the aristocracy became more and more sophisticated, both because it could buy the best instruments on the market and because it could hire the best singers and instrumentalists in the kingdom. Through the invention of polyphony, it greatly reduced the emphasis on rhythm, which came to be considered a rather primitive and plebean element. Sometimes during the evolution of civilizations, “solo music” was invented to admire and appreciate the music of the best singers and instrumentalists. It is likely that, initially, their performances were mainly for the aristocracy and were purely musical.

At the turn of the 20th century, popular music existed in the form of light opera, or “operetta,” and in the theatrical entertainment. Fifty years later, the Western world’s teenagers bopped to rock’n’roll. Find out how the arrival of blues and jazz transformed popular music paving the way for modern music. The commercial recording of black music was a direct consequence of this “black renaissance”.

Despite the fast pace , boogie woogie remained faithful to the blues chord progression. The barrelhouse style of piano playing spread with the railway, from the South to the North . The southern metropolis of Kansas City , the new magnet for black artists, was the natural place for the new style to become “permanent”.

The main differences were the piano (spirituals were sung “a cappella”) and the lead vocals, that were now taken on by the preacher himself. Originally the piano was meant to simply provide the rhythm but soon became a creative factor in itself, used to fill the pauses in the singing with all sorts of embellishments . The demand for gospel hymns created a market for hymn writers, who specialized in adapating all sorts of melodies to the purpose of worshiping God. The city performers introduced significant innovation in the instrumentation of blues music. Atlanta’s “Blind” Willie McTell developed a dazzling technique at the 12-string guitar that sounded almost polyphonic, and composed songs influenced by white folk music such as Writin’ Paper Blues , Statesboro Blues , Travellin Blues and Dying Crapshooter Blues .

After a period of hibernation in the 50’s, the growing popularity of blues with young white audiences gave a lot of black blues-singers the opportunity to play again on a larger scale, for more money than before. The blues emerged from the oppressed, economically disadvantaged African-American communities in the rural southern states of America in the years following the American Civil War (1861–1865). Blues singers were descendants of slaves and elements of their music reach back to African origins. This course offers just a brief introduction, and only affords a glimpse of the complexities of music that is deeply rooted in social and political history. Buy a brick and be part of blues music history, education, and its future.

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