Often asked: How Is Blues Political?

Why is the blues important to our cultural history?

Blues music thus originated as a non-verbal language, as a necessity to express feelings of pain and grief, and in this way as a tool of (passive) resistance. It became an instrument of cultural affirmation among African- Americans, and more importantly, specifically made for African-Americans (Salaam 1995).

What are 3 characteristics of the blues?

Harmony and tonality

  • the harmony is predominately related to the tonic, subdominant and dominant.
  • minor 7th chords and other chord extensions are heard.
  • dissonant harmonies are a common feature.

How does blues music relate to slavery?

The majority of blues musicians had descendants from Africa who were transported to America in the slave trade and were forced to work on plantations in the South, and factories in the North. Combined with the African rhythms, these musical styles were the foundation of blues.

How were the Blues used as a form of protest music?

Another example of the use of blues to address social issues are found in African American songs about World War II. Bus Ezell’s composition, “Obey the Ration Laws,” urges people to comply with war-time rationing, but it also alludes to a difference in compliance and attitudes between poor and wealthy Americans.

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What cultural impact did the Blues have?

The social significance of Blues music resides in the revolutionary element of African Americans creating their own aesthetics. Blues music represented the opposing voice that refused to be silenced by oppression and segregation. The Blues expressed this with unprecedented clarity, honesty and simplicity.

What was blues influenced by?

Blues developed in the southern United States after the American Civil War (1861–65). It was influenced by work songs and field hollers, minstrel show music, ragtime, church music, and the folk and popular music of the white population.

What are the two categories of Blues?

It is generally divided into two major subgenres, with the jazz-influenced New Orleans blues based on the musical traditions of that city and the slower tempo swamp blues incorporating influences from zydeco and Cajun music from around Baton Rouge.

Why is blues the devil’s music?

The origins of the blues are closely related to the religious music of Afro-American community, the spirituals. It was the low-down music played by rural blacks. Depending on the religious community a musician belonged to, it was more or less considered a sin to play this low-down music: blues was the devil’s music.

How does blues make you feel?

“The blues style represents… a saying of things that are very painful, deep and poignant, with a feeling of ease. In the very best blues the pain changes, because of the music, into something light.” At its best, the blues is a oneness of pain and pleasure, defeat and exaltation, sadness and joy.

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Why did the slaves sing the blues?

The Blues really started when African people were taken to America to work as slaves on plantation fields. The slaves would sing songs of their despair and suffering to make the time pass more quickly. The Blues music is about the black peoples struggle to survive and their efforts to win back their freedom.

Why is it called blues music?

The name of this great American music probably originated with the 17th-century English expression “the blue devils,” for the intense visual hallucinations that can accompany severe alcohol withdrawal. Shortened over time to “the blues,” it came to mean a state of agitation or depression.

Who is known as the father of the blues?

Today’s blog celebrates the career of W.C. Handy. Born in Florence, Alabama on November 16, 1873, William Christopher Handy became interested in music at an early age.

What blues means?

1: low spirits: melancholy suffering a case of the blues. 2: a song often of lamentation characterized by usually 12-bar phrases, 3-line stanzas in which the words of the second line usually repeat those of the first, and continual occurrence of blue notes in melody and harmony.

What instruments were used in early blues?

The combination of instruments used in early blues music included the clarinet, drum, guitar, piano, trombone, and trumpet.

Is Blues and Jazz the same?

Blues is derived from Bluegrass, Jazz, R&B, and Rock. Jazz comes from Calypso, Funk, Soul, and Swing. It’s important to know that Blues was around before Jazz; thus, Blues can be considered an element of Jazz music. Jazz is from New Orleans, while Blues is from Mississippi.

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