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The Blues Tree

a history of modern music
by

Tom Fenton

on 3 April 2017

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Transcript of The Blues Tree

The Blues Tree
THE
BLUES
Work Songs
Ballads (story songs)
JAZZ
Field hollers
RHYTHM & BLUES
Classic
Blues
Delta
Blues
Chicago Blues:
blues goes "electric"
Spirituals
Dixieland jazz
Swing bands
Big bands
Bebop
Cool jazz
Hard bop
Free jazz
Jazz/rock fusion
Rock 'n' Roll
Rockabilly
Surf Rock
Folk rock
Metal
Punk
New Wave
Grunge
"Alternative"
Hip Hop
Motown
Soul
Funk
Disco
Songs about heroes, legends, "tricksters"
Religious songs, often based on the Book of Psalms
Helped communicate across acres of farmland
Songs matched the rhythm of different tasks,
helped chores go smoother & faster
"The blues is an expression of anger
against shame and humiliation."
It's a characterized by:
sad lyrics
"blue" notes
frequent use of the "12-bar blues" form

It's a :
Any jazz, pop, country or folk song that uses the 12-bar form may be called a "blues."

... and it's a , a state of depression.
(from an old expression: having a "fit of the blue devils")

WHAT IS THE BLUES?
B. B. King
(we'll explain later...)
(we'll explain later...)
The Sounds of the Blues
BLUE NOTES
notes that are "flatted" or "bent"

If we play a "C" chord on a piano and play a melody on the white keys, it won't sound like the blues until we replace some notes (like E or B) with the black key to the left of that note (E flat or B flat).
Some instruments (guitar, sax, trumpet, harmonica, the human voice) can "bend" notes up or down and "slide" from one pitch to another.
THE 12-BAR FORM
In most blues songs, the verses have 3 lines;
each line is 4 bars (measures) long . . . such as . . .

STYLE OF MUSIC
MUSICAL STRUCTURE
MOOD
B.B KING "The Thrill Is Gone"

"The thrill is gone, the thrill is gone away.
Oh, the thrill is gone, the thrill is gone away.
You know you done me wrong, and you'll be sorry someday

WHERE DID THE BLUES
COME FROM?

R&B, rock, jazz, hip-hop, they can all be traced back to the blues.
Texas
Louisiana
The
Mississippi
Delta
The Piedmont Region
(between the Appalachian Mts. and the coast)
Blues music first developed
in the late 1800s around the
southeast US, mostly in
these four regions.
THE ROOTS OF THE BLUES
are:
Blues music was originally performed by individual players and, sometimes, duos,
playing guitars, banjos and violins, singing lyrics about love, loneliness and hard times.
is considered the "Father of the Blues." He didn't invent it, but popularized it by publishing the earliest blues sheet music.


Handy in band uniform at age 19
1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
Mamie Smith has the first hit blues record: "Crazy Blues"
"THE EMPRESS OF THE BLUES," Smith became the first real star of blues music in the 1920s.
STYLE
"Classic Blues"
Dominated the 1920s
Sung by women only, backed by a keyboard or small band
Always very slow tempo
STYLE
"Delta Blues"
QUIZ
Name two of the four types of music that are roots of the blues.
Blues was originally played by single performers or duos on which instruments?
Who is called "The Father of the Blues?"
Who was called "The Empress of the Blues?"
Describe the "classic blues" style.
W.C. HANDY
BESSIE SMITH
Blues Timeline
There are really 3
different definitions
of "the blues."

1903
WC Handy hears a stranger play blues music at a Mississippi train station
1912
Handy's "Memphis Blues" is the first popular blues song (on sheet music).
1923
Bessie Smith releases her first hits "Downhearted Blues" and "Gulf Coast Blues."
ROBERT JOHNSON
Perhaps the greatest of the Delta Bluesmen.
As famous for the "crossroads" legend as he was for his music.
1936-37
Johnson records 29 songs in 2 different sessions.
Probably the earliest blues style, but lasted into the 1940s
Developed in Mississippi Delta
Featured guitar, harmonica and slide guitar
Stronger rhythms than "classic" style
1938
Johnson dies at 27,
probably poisoned.
MUDDY WATERS
1948
Muddy Waters releases
"I Can't Be Satisfied" & "I Feel Like Going Home" on Chess Records -- starting the modern blues era.
Real name: McKinley Morganfield
Born in Mississippi in 1913
Moved to Chicago in 1943
One of the great stars of Chess Records, along with ETTA JAMES, CHUCK BERRY and HOWLIN' WOLF
Famous for songs like "Got My Mojo Workin'" and "Mannish Boy"
POST-WAR BLUES
During and after World War II,
African-Americans migrated from
the rural South to Northern cities
in search of industrial jobs.
The crowded and noisy blues clubs,
such as those on Chicago's South Side, inspired folk blues performers to turn up
the volume with electric guitars and drums.
Full transcript