Blues music emerged in the late 19th century from African-Americans living in the Deep South of the United States. From time to time this genre continues to grow until it becomes one of the streams of popular music. Blues music is also often combined with other musical genres such as jazz or rock.
During its development, a number of musicians emerged who performed blues music well, such as B.B. King, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Behind the fun of blues music, you also need to know some information about the meaning of blues music, its history, characteristics, and classifications that distinguish blues music from other genres of music.
Definition of Blues Music
Blues music is a musical genre that originated in the late 19th century. Blues music originates from the Deep South, United States of America, which is a development of folk music and traditional African music and comes from the traditions of black people in America. The blues music genre is closely related to ritual and spiritual songs typical of African traditions.
Initially, many said that the word blues in blues music was used as an abbreviation of “blue devils”. The word “blue devils” is considered to symbolize visual hallucinations and sadness which were the theme of many blues songs in the old era. Even so, there are many sources who think that blues is an abbreviation of “blue notes”.
Early Style of Blues Music
The early style of blues music was when it was known as country blues. Its features are simple. Only soloists sing accompanied by guitar or piano. Furthermore, in the 1920s, a type of music called “delta blues” emerged from Mississippi, United States. Delta blues is rooted in the poverty of workers who are pressured by plantation owners. The blues of that era was still very traditional, with folk songs being sung by word of mouth. The lyrics are often adapted, then changed into new lyrics according to the musician’s heart.
Apart from the guitar, the harmonica has also become popular to accompany the delta blues. Making this music more rhythmic. Simple lyrics with powerful vocals, plus a strong, evocative message characterizes this early style of music. The most important of this early style of music, of course, is the use of the slide technique when playing the guitar. A distinctive technique that produces a ringing sound that is as beautiful as it is bitter. Until now, this slide technique is still often found in blues music performances. The famous blues musicians of this era were Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson. Both are credited with popularizing blues music in the 1920s.
Characteristics of Blues Music
Blues music is a derivative of the type of folk music and African indigenous music. The theme used in the early development of blues music was contained in song lyrics related to spiritual and spiritual matters. The initial pattern of blues music is using a call-and-response pattern with song lyrics consisting of four lines. The first two lines of the lyrics are questions and the last two lines are answers.
Another characteristic of blues music can be seen in the bass and instrumentation used. Behind that, the song lyrics in blues music are also somewhat unique. Generally, classic bass songs use a single line of lyrics that are usually repeated four times to the beat of the music. In the early 20th century period, blues music developed again, this time heavily using the AAB structure in the final rhythm section of the lyrics.
The song lyrics used at that time discussed many of the problems of life in African-American society. Blues also has a number of subgenres, the most popular of which are Delta blues, country blues or Chicago blues. Blues music itself just really popular around the world after World War II, especially thanks to the development of electric blues and blues rock.
Blues is also often combined with other musical genres, such as blues, jazz or R&B (rhythm and blues), which is the development of blues music. Many blues musicians emerged and often produced the best blues songs, where B.B. King is widely referred to as the King of Blues. Currently, there are also many singers or bands who perform blues music, either pure blues music or a combination of other musical genres.
The Forerunner of Popular Music Style
One of the blues guitarists is T-Bone Walker. He was the first to use guitar sound and technique which became the forerunner of rock music. One of his trademarks is the use of long guitar solos and cranking up the amplifier level to distortion levels. This makes a lot of guitarists who also imitate it. No wonder the city blues era gave birth to many great guitar soloists, including Buddy Guy and B.B. King.
Blues music could not be dammed anymore and spread outside the United States in the 1960s, especially in England and throughout Western Europe. Eric Clapton and Stan Webb also adapted the city blues style with the dominance of their electric guitars and made the blues formula more popular.
Blues music formulas and techniques are increasingly being used. This not only became the impetus for the emergence of rock music, but also many other popular musics. You could even say that the blues has had a major influence on almost every style of popular music. The simplicity of the 12-bar structure in blues gives musicians the opportunity to express musical ideas freely. The saying that the blues is the root of popular music has proven to be true. Grassroots blues music has had a major influence around the world to this day.