blues paper

blues paper - Adam Kuczynski History of Jazz Paper 6 Blues...

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Adam Kuczynski History of Jazz Paper 6 Blues Music When one thinks of jazz music, one of the first thoughts that come to mind is the form of jazz known as “the blues.” The blues is a form of music based on the use of the blue notes. It originates from African-American communities in the United States from work/field songs, chants, and rhymed English. The use of call and response patterns in the music is indicative of African influence. The blues helped to influence later American music, such as jazz, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop. Blues music has unique characteristics and a rich history which deserves to be looked at in greater detail. There are a few characteristics common to all forms of blues because the genre takes its shape from the qualities of individual performances. However, there are some characteristics that have been present in the music long before blues as we know it now. Early forms of blues were call-and-response type shouts, which had no harmony and were unbounded by the formality of musical structure. An example of this would be the shouts and hollers heard coming from slaves on plantations. Later, these shouts and hollers expanded into actual songs with some emotional content. The blues as we know it now can be seen as a style based on European harmonic structure along with the African call-and-response tradition. Again, many of the elements of blues music can be tracked back to the ancient music in Africa. Blues music adopted elements from “Ethiopian airs,” minstrel shows which included instrumental and harmonic accompaniment. This style is very similar to ragtime, which developed at the same time, though the blues better preserved the melodic patterns of African music. Blue’s songs from this period show many different structures. The twelve, eight, or sixteen bar
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structure based on tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords became the most common forms. The original lyrical form of the blues was a single line, repeated four times. It was later when the current structure of a line was repeated once and then was followed by a single line conclusion became standard. These lines were often sung following a pattern similar to rhythmic talk. The singer of early blues often voiced his or her personal woes in a world of harsh reality. Many of the oldest blues records contain realistic lyrics, which is in contrast to popular music being recorded at the time. At this time, “gut-bucket” blues was prominent; meaning a homemade bass instrument made from a metal bucket was being used to play the music. Gut-bucket songs are typically earthy, rocky, or about man-woman relationships. Church-goers typically shunned this type of music. Not all blues music was like this, however. Many artists had several religious songs in their repertoire. Along with this, some blues songs were humorous and raunchy as well. Hokum blues celebrated comedic lyrical content and a boisterous performance style. Lyrical content of music became simpler in post war blues where the
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course MUSI 154 taught by Professor Grahms during the Fall '07 term at Marquette.

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blues paper - Adam Kuczynski History of Jazz Paper 6 Blues...

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