History of the Blues

History of the Blues

The Blues is what Rock n’ Roll was called before the name Rock n’ Roll was invented. When you think of the Blues, you think of personal adversity and tragedy. Did your dog die? Then you probably have the blues. Classic Blues songs are fun, rhythmic, and emotional. It’s all about saying what you feel in a way that makes others feel the same emotions.

The Beginnings of Blues

The blues are deeply rooted in American History. African Americans changed the face of music forever by introducing colonists to deeply emotional and rhythmic singing. The Blues developed from African American spirituals, work songs, and dance music.

Blues and Jazz have always been closely intertwined as the two styles grew up side by side. Blues have been around since the mid-19th century, but it’s not until the 1930s and 40s that this style of music grew into urban areas and gained popularity. Starting mainly in Mississippi and spreading from there, cities that received the blues put their own spin on it. Chicago electrified it; New Orleans paired it with jazz.

What Makes a Song Blue?

A song is mainly termed blue because of its message and tone. 12 bars make up most blues music, and certain notes called the Blue Notes are used. Generally a lot of minor key notes with a few major are used, giving the blues a melancholy sound.

Today as with any other kind of music, there are many styles of the blues. Almost every city in the south and Midwest has their own style, invented by artists in the area. The blues was truly the first specific form of music that directly led to the invention of rock n’ roll and the spread of jazz. Famous blues artists like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Son House, Charlie Patton were responsible for the evolution of blues from field songs to organized music.