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The History of Blues Music B.B. King Bessie Smith Gertrude Rainey.

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Presentation on theme: "The History of Blues Music B.B. King Bessie Smith Gertrude Rainey."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The History of Blues Music B.B. King Bessie Smith Gertrude Rainey

3 The Blues The Blues is 12-bars The Blues is 12-bars Uses emotional lyrics, such as “I’m feeling down and out. My baby has just left me.” Uses emotional lyrics, such as “I’m feeling down and out. My baby has just left me.” Bad luck and trouble are always present in the Blues. Bad luck and trouble are always present in the Blues. Rhythms repeat the chants of sorrow Rhythms repeat the chants of sorrow Improvised singing and playing Improvised singing and playing Slow and offbeat rhythms Slow and offbeat rhythms Listen to “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” Listen to “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”

4 The Birth The origins of blues is not unlike the origins of life. For many years it was recorded only by memory, and relayed only live, and in person. The origins of blues is not unlike the origins of life. For many years it was recorded only by memory, and relayed only live, and in person. The Blues were born in the North Mississippi Delta following the Civil War. The Blues were born in the North Mississippi Delta following the Civil War. African-American slaves forced to work from sunup to sundown sang a rhythmic “call and response” to ease their brutal labor and to communicate without the masters knowledge. African-American slaves forced to work from sunup to sundown sang a rhythmic “call and response” to ease their brutal labor and to communicate without the masters knowledge. Know as field hollers, a respected worker would shout a solo line, then the rest would repeat a unison line, all while being in rhythm with the work at hand. Know as field hollers, a respected worker would shout a solo line, then the rest would repeat a unison line, all while being in rhythm with the work at hand. This evolved to the solo singer also repeating the unison line and adapting the holler for solo performance. This evolved to the solo singer also repeating the unison line and adapting the holler for solo performance.

5 The Growth Blues music was first recorded by Thomas Edison in 1895 with pianist George W. Johnson’s “The Laughing Song”. Blues music was first recorded by Thomas Edison in 1895 with pianist George W. Johnson’s “The Laughing Song”. Handy, known as the father of the Blues, first transcribed Blues music in Memphis just after the turn of the century. Handy, known as the father of the Blues, first transcribed Blues music in Memphis just after the turn of the century. Mamie Smith’s 1920 recording the “Crazy Blues” became the first commercially popular Blues record. Mamie Smith’s 1920 recording the “Crazy Blues” became the first commercially popular Blues record.

6 W.C. Handy The blues form was first popularized by the black composer W.C. Handy ( ). The blues form was first popularized by the black composer W.C. Handy ( ). T hey call him the Father of the Blues... Born in Florence, Alabama, in 1873, W.C. Handy was by no means a Delta bluesman. He was a student of music as a child, playing the cornet, and later traveled the South with dance bands. Handy had heard something akin to the blues as early as 1892, but it was while waiting for an overdue train in Tutwiler, Mississippi, in 1903 that he heard an itinerant bluesman playing slide guitar. Handy called it "the weirdest music I had ever heard."

7 Slide Guitars Son House Robert Johnson

8 Country Blues The earliest blues recorded in the 1920’s and 1930’s was country blues. The earliest blues recorded in the 1920’s and 1930’s was country blues. This music was simply one African American male singer accompanied by an acoustic steel- string guitar. This music was simply one African American male singer accompanied by an acoustic steel- string guitar. Artists include Robert Johnson, Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), Mississippi John Hurt, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Artists include Robert Johnson, Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), Mississippi John Hurt, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Listen to “Sun Gonna Shine” Listen to “Sun Gonna Shine”

9 Classic Blues The sophisticated classic blues style of the 1920s and 1930s from Memphis, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York, featured a female soloist with a small Dixieland Jazz band or piano. The sophisticated classic blues style of the 1920s and 1930s from Memphis, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York, featured a female soloist with a small Dixieland Jazz band or piano. The Classic Blues style was popular among newly arrived blacks in the cities. The Classic Blues style was popular among newly arrived blacks in the cities. Some who sang classic blues were Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. Some who sang classic blues were Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.

10 Urban Blues A 1930s to 1950 style, urban blues (also known as rhythm and blues or R&B) features a vocalist and a small band with instruments such as electric guitar, harmonica, piano, string bass, drum set, and sometimes saxophones and trumpets. A 1930s to 1950 style, urban blues (also known as rhythm and blues or R&B) features a vocalist and a small band with instruments such as electric guitar, harmonica, piano, string bass, drum set, and sometimes saxophones and trumpets. Leading urban blues guitarists were Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker, Big Bill Broonzy, and Gatemouth Brown. Leading urban blues guitarists were Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker, Big Bill Broonzy, and Gatemouth Brown. Harmonica (blues harp) players included Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson an Harmonica (blues harp) players included Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson an Urban blues laid the groundwork for 1950s Rock ‘n Roll. Urban blues laid the groundwork for 1950s Rock ‘n Roll.

11 Popularity of Blues Music Women stopped singing in their churches and schools, and began to perform in theaters, clubs, dance halls, and vaudeville shows. Women stopped singing in their churches and schools, and began to perform in theaters, clubs, dance halls, and vaudeville shows. The popularity of the blues marked a new era for black music. It combined the styles of the past with a new type of song. The popularity of the blues marked a new era for black music. It combined the styles of the past with a new type of song. The result was the creation of a style of music that influence various genres of music including jazz, pop, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and rap. The result was the creation of a style of music that influence various genres of music including jazz, pop, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and rap.


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