From the ‘Deep South’ of the USA comes one of the world’s most soul touching music forms, a fusion of the folk music of various cultures, evolving from the incorporation of a range of elements, right from spiritualism to shouts and chants- Blues.
As a form of music, Blues holds its roots in the latter part of the 19th century, having later on given birth to various other music forms itself, like Jazz, Rock and Roll, Soul Music and also Bluegrass. The most characteristic feature of blues music is the ‘call and response’ pattern that is there in it, along with chord progressions, the most common amongst which are twelve- bar blues.
For those who have been listening to Blues music since the late 19th or early 20th century, Blues is most often characterized by its verses that have one line repeated over four times. It was somewhere in the first decade of the 20th century was where the present AAB pattern became common. In the first four bars of this pattern, a line is sung, with its repetition following the next four ones, eventually concluding with a longer line over the ending bars.
With their origins lying in the early African-American communities, earlier blues music often had music that would tell about the troubles that were present in their society, or about the singer’s personal woes in this world full of ‘harsh realities’. From pre-war blues, the music transitioned towards urban or city blue styles, which also featured a performer adapting to a larger variety of audience and aesthetics. This was around 1920s, wherein female blues singers also started getting popular in the music scene, Mamie Smith being the first such singer to record her blues song in 1920.
What makes blues such a popular genre is the way it captivates the listener. It does not matter if you are listening to a song from the early 19th century or the late 20th, with every lyric and beat that the song that is played, you will feel what the artist has been trying to say to you- such is the purity and beauty of a blues song. While you may associate blues with soothing and somewhat melancholy music, its fusion with jazz has made it amongst the ‘peppiest’ music that you can listen. For with the blues, there is a song and a beat for every mood, every emotion, and every day.