The Origin Of Blues

Blues’ origins are difficult to determine. The style developed over time, even though it was not well documented. It is rare that all blues have the same characteristics, as each performance has its own uniqueness. Certain characteristics existed before the modern day blues were created and they are common to all forms of African American music. We have just discussed the blues, which are secular folk music that was created in the early 20th-century by African Americans. They were originally from the South.

After the American Civil War (1861-1865), blues became popular in the south. It was heavily influenced by Southern black men who were a mixture of laborers and farmers. A key reason for the lack of information on the origins of blues is that the first blues musicians wandered through communities, leaving little to no documentation of their music or its source. Blues was considered lower-class music that could not be documented, studied, or enjoyed by the middle and upper classes. Blues was first mentioned in the 1890s. The origins and development of the blues can all be traced to the late 1800’s northwestern Mississippi Delta. It became popular among the Mississippi Delta’s ex-slaves. However, the Great Movement of black workers made it an established folk music. It spread quickly to other parts of the country and across the United States. The Georgia and Carolina blues are noted for their clear pronunciations and consistent rhythm. It is more melodic in style than the Mississippi and Texas versions.

Blind Boy Fuller was a representative of this style. The Texas blues is characterised by clear vocal singing and accompaniment by guitar. Blind Lemon Jefferson is the most prominent Texas bluesman. Mississippi Delta Blues is the most intense and influential of all the styles. Vocally, the Mississippi Delta blues is the most vocal. The accompanying guitar rhythm is rhythmic. Charley Patton and Eddie “Son”, House, as well as Robert Johnson are all examples of the Mississippi style. Mamie, Ma Rainey (Ida Cox), and Bessie are the first black women to record blues. This was a style that is commonly known as jazz.

The Great Depression, World Wars and other factors also contributed to the geographic dispersion of blues. Millions flew from the South to the North in search of better opportunities. The urban setting was more sophisticated and the blues evolved to adapt. Lyrics became urbanized and the blues group was created when the solo singer joined a harmonica or pianist player and then a rhythm section of drums and bass. The amplified harmonium and electric guitar created a powerful sound that was both rhythmic and emotionally intense. The blues originated in Memphis, Atlanta, and St. Louis. John Lee Hooker settled Detroit. Aaron “Tbone” Walker, a West Coast musician, developed a style that Riley “B.B.” King would later adopt. Chicago was however the city that most contributed to the growth of the urban blues. In Chicago, there were many popular blues performers during the 1920s and 30s. They were replaced after World War II by a new breed of bluesmen including Muddy waters, Buddy Guy and Buddy Guy. In the 1960s, blues’ simple, but powerful forms became one of America’s most influential influences. Blues evolved from a simple, unaccompanied vocal music by black laborers to a variety of styles and subgenres. These variations are heavily influenced in modern American music.



Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.

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