Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "
Deep South" of the around the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs,
field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The
blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll is
characterized by specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues
chord progression is the most common. The blue notes that, for expressive
purposes are sung or played flattened or gradually bent (minor 3rd to major
3rd) in relation to the pitch of the major scale, are also an important part of
the sound. United States
The blues genre is based on the blues form but possesses other characteristics such as specific lyrics, bass lines, and instruments. Blues can be subdivided into several subgenres ranging from country to urban blues that were more or less popular during different periods of the 20th century. Best known are the Delta,
Piedmont, Jump, and blues
styles. World War II marked the transition from acoustic to electric blues and
the progressive opening of blues music to a wider audience, especially white
listeners. In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues-rock evolved. Chicago
The term "the blues" refers to the "blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness; an early use of the term in this sense is found in George Colman's one-act farce Blue Devils (1798). Though the use of the phrase in African-American music may be older, it has been attested to since 1912, when Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues" became the first copyrighted blues composition. In lyrics the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood.
Origins of the blues
Little is known about the exact origin of the music now known as the blues. No specific year can be cited as the origin of the blues, largely because the style evolved over a long period and existed in approaching its modern form before the term blues was introduced, before the style was thoroughly documented. Ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik traces the roots of many of the elements that were to develop into the blues back to the African continent, the "cradle of the blues". One important early reference to something closely resembling the blues comes from 1901, when an archaeologist in
described the songs of black workers which had lyrical themes and
technical elements in common with the blues. Mississippi
Electric blues is a type of blues music distinguished by the amplification of the guitar, bass guitar, drums, and often the harmonica. Pioneered in the 1930s, it emerged as a genre in
1940s. It was taken up in many areas of Chicago
leading to the development of regional subgenres such as electric America blues and Memphis blues. It
was adopted in the British blues boom of the 1960s, leading to the development
of blues-rock. It was a foundation of rock music. It continues to be a major
style of blues music and has enjoyed a revival in popularity since the 1990s. Texas
Blues in popular culture
Like jazz, rock and roll, heavy metal music, hip hop music, reggae, country music, and pop music, blues has been accused of being the "devil's music" and of inciting violence and other poor behavior. In the early 20th century, the blues was considered disreputable, especially as white audiences began listening to the blues during the 1920s. In the early twentieth century, W.C. Handy was the first to popularize blues-influenced music among non-black Americans.
During the blues revival of the 1960s and '70s, acoustic blues artist Taj Mahal and legendary Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins wrote and performed music that figured prominently in the popularly and critically acclaimed film Sounder (1972). The film earned Mahal a Grammy nomination for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture and a BAFTA nomination. Almost 30 years later, Mahal wrote blues for, and performed a banjo composition, claw-hammer style, in the 2001 movie release Songcatcher, which focused on the story of the preservation of the roots music of Appalachia.
In 2003, Martin Scorsese made significant efforts to promote the blues to a larger audience. He asked several famous directors such as Clint Eastwood and Wim Wenders to participate in a series of documentary films for PBS called The Blues. He also participated in the rendition of compilations of major blues artists in a series of high-quality CDs. Blues guitarist and vocalist Keb' Mo' performed his blues rendition of "America, the Beautiful" in 2006 to close out the final season of the television series The West Wing.
Origins of the blues http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_the_blues
Electric blues http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_blues
List of electric blues musicians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electric_blues_musicians