The Blues.doc - The Blues A Brief History of the Blues by...

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The Blues A Brief History of the Blues by Robert M. Baker Joseph Machlis says that the blues is a native American musical and verse form, with no direct European and African antecedents of which we know. (p. 578) In other words, it is a blending of both traditions. Something special and entirely different from either of its parent traditions. (Although Alan Lomax cites some examples of very similar songs having been found in Northwest Africa, particularly among the Wolof and Watusi. p. 233) The word 'blue' has been associated with the idea of melancholia or depression since the Elizabethan era. The American writer, Washington Irving is credited with coining the term 'the blues,' as it is now defined, in 1807. (Tanner 40) The earlier (almost entirely Negro) history of the blues musical tradition is traced through oral tradition as far back as the 1860s. (Kennedy 79) When African and European music first began to merge to create what eventually became the blues, the slaves sang songs filled with words telling of their extreme suffering and privation.
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  • Spring '14
  • ArthurShearin
  • Music

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