How Did Blues Music Start?

Many people think of blues music as a type of music that is sad or talks about Misfortune or betrayal. If you’re in love with someone and they leave you, this could be a good situation in which to write a blues song. Well blues music can be associated with hard times, it goes further than just someone being sad or down on their luck. Blues music can be emotional and very energetic. Here is a brief overview of how this music started.

African Americans

The roots of blues music go back to American history and especially the history of African-Americans. This music started in the south in America on the southern plantations during the 19th century. The inventors of this music we’re ex-slaves, slaves and the descendants of the slaves. In America African Americans tended to work in the cotton fields. After their work was done they would sing songs about working in the vegetable fields and the cotton fields.

Some say that traditional blues music developed from the work songs, African chants, African spiritual songs, drum music, country dance music, and the general rural life at this time that the African Americans went through. Most of the original blues music during the 1800s has been lost, but the legacy of these players is still felt in many blues songs today.

The Delta

Blue began to take hold in the Mississippi Delta which is around the New Orleans area. In New Orleans, this is considered to be the birthplace of jazz music. Both jazz music and blues music have influenced each other and they interact with each other even to this day. Blues music stayed in this area and didn’t really branch out to the midwest of the country until around the 1930s and the 1940s. Once this blues music started to find its way to urban areas, it began to become electrified due to the wider use of electrical instruments such as the electric guitar and amplifiers which were becoming popular during this time. The major influence on blues at this time was Chicago Blues where many of the styles of blues were developed.

Blues guitar at this time was also heavily influenced by jazz music and hybrids of jazz and blues. Around the 1950s, blues music began to change quite significantly and it gave birth to what we all know today as rock and roll.

Basics of Blues

When you compare blues music to other styles of music, it can seem to be quite simple but it’s the beat of blues music which gives it its unique sound. Blues music is usually composed of just 12 bars of music which are repeated. Some of the classic blues players from the early days include Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Leadbelly, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. They used this unique 12 Bar beat to create the famous songs which we associate with the birth of the modern blues style.

How Blues Evolved

As blues music began to move throughout the country new styles were developed such as Louisiana Blues, Memphis Blues, St Louis Blues and so on. During the Heyday of the 1960s and the early 70s bands of the British Invasion such as The Yardbirds, The Beatles, and similar groups began to play a form of music known as British Blues. ┬áThis took both influences from regular blues music and combined it with rock and roll to create what we know today as blues- rock music. Blues music continues to be played at to this day although it’s not quite as popular as it used to be

Blues music has a long history that dates back to the 18th century and the deep south of America. It’s a genre of music that encompasses more than just one area of the country as it’s grown from those original roots into its own form of music that has many distinct flavors and styles which all are referred to as blues music.