Blues History Essay, Research Paper
The Influence of the Blues in the 20th Century
Have you ever had a question of where did the blues originate from? How did Rock and Roll develop? How does the blues effect us? Well everywhere people go and listen to the blues music has some influence in the 20th Century. Since the past twenty years, whites and blacks are now enjoying the blues in a more accepting manner. Throughout our days in life people listen to music that tells us feelings about the slavery. Overall, the blues early history and influence upon the 20th Century gives it justification.
During the 1500’s to 1870, the world brought people from West Africa to their homeland. These people became slaves. When the ships brought slaves from West Africa to America, they also brought over their music. When ships gather lots of civilians in West Africa, they also brought griots to America. The griots are the same terminology a European wandering mistrel, but in a African sense. The griots spent their lives playing music in different places. Also, during the adaptation to the homeland, the griots made a change in their music.
These changes are about hard times being in chains from the southern land owners. Songs were made about the auction blocks, seperation of family, and harsh treatement of land owners. Therefore the blues came from the work fields in the southern United States. However, the soul of the blues became more popular when the slaves were freed from Emancipation Act of 1863. The freedom did not give them a heart, though the songs gave the blacks a soul. This is Blues music.
These landowners realize the slaves became free, and the southern politicians made new laws to restrict the blacks. This threat to suppress the African culture brought these griots to fight back the discrimination. The griots would not let these suppression laws destroy their values and experiences of their motherland.
After the civil war the blues became known as “a distillate of the African music brought over by slaves.” The Christianity influence made the slaves believe in the Christian faith. The gospel music cause the blues go through evolution. The dropping from the major to minor in the 3rd,5th,and 7th scale made the sad notes. Then in the 1890’s the blues were sung all over the southern states. The publication of “Dallas Blues” in 1912 by Hart Wand, a white violinist made the first written song. However, a black composer, W.C. Handy brought even more popularity of the blues around 1911-1914. Then Mamie Smith known for “Crazy blues” records the first vocal song in 1920.
The expansion of the blues did effect the 20th Century greatly and became a national craze. Blue singers such as Bessie Smith and Billie holiday sold millions. Then the blues expand in the thirties and forties and went northward America. In fact, during the First World war, the American troops brought some types of blues rythum to Europe.
During the expansion process of the blues over time did influence America. The blues became Afro-American in which a modal melody is in mix with western tonal chords. The blues were sung with bent pitches or emotional vocal sounds. The bent pitches are known as the ‘blue notes.’ Since the blues came from West Africa, the scale has no third, seventh tone, flat third , and flat seventh. When people had the attempt to copy the music, the third, seventh, and sometimes the fifth scale-degrees became at a lower half step in which made the “blues scale.”
The experimentation of blue tonalities on their instruments made the blues in more of a variety sound. As early singers sang the blue notes, people use the Instruments and try to duplicate them. In fact, reed, brass, and string instruments became successful to produce vocal sounds of the blue singers.
The blues lyrics focus with unhappy situations. For example, the blues express the idea of being jobless, broke, or leaving a lover. Therefore, this focus of sadness caught the country music style of white music beginning to mix with the style of blues. This bondage between black and white music made the white America realize how the blacks dealt with discrimination.
The evolution of the blues did change with great interest and zeal over time. The introduction of the amplifier guitar brought the blues to become electrified. Also, the forties and fifties, singers such as Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf, and Muddy waters had a lot of bass, drums, piano, and harmonicas in play with the blue notes. In addition, Rock and Roll singers of the 1950’s can not deny that the blues influence made Rock and Roll. The Rock and Roll age would be at its high peak for another 20 years. In fact, Elvis Presley, the king of rock became famous by borrowing from the blues. Rock and the blues are similar in vocals and lyrics.
The early sixties introduce the blues to young white audiences from blues-based bands such as Rolling Stones, Fleet wood Mae, Cream, and John Mayall’s blues breakers. Also, during the sixties the blues became a foundation for offshoot styles from rock guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy page, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen. During this era the blues evolutionize again toward music such as Funk, Psychedelic