From the history of blues: from plantations to the studio
Blues, like everything with a stunning success, has been an underground music trend for decades. It is understandable, because the White Society could not accept the music of African-Americans working on plantations, and even listen to them it was shameful. Such music was considered radical and even calling for violence. The hypocrisy of society took place only in the 20s of the last century. The history of blues, like its creators, is negative and depressive. And, just like longing, the blues is simple to genius. Many performers engaged in heavy physical labor until their death, they were vagabonds, and had odd jobs. That is how most of the black population of the United States lived in the early twentieth century. Such free musicians, who left the brightest mark in the history of blues, include Haddy “Ledbelly” Ledbetter and Blind Lemon Jefferson.
MUSICAL-TECHNICAL FEATURES OF THE BLUES Along with the simplicity of the temperament of the improvisers who created this trend, the blues is not musically complicated either. This music is a framework on which solo parts of other instruments are strung on. In the latter, you can hear the “dialogue”: sounds seem to overlap with each other. A similar trick is usually seen in blues lyrics – verses are built on a “question-answer” structure. No matter how simple and impromptu the blues may seem, it has its own theory. The most common form of composition is 12 measures, this is the so-called “blues net”: Four measures in tonic harmony; Two measures in a subdominant; Two measures in tonic; Two measures in the dominant; Two measures in tonic. The instrument used to express the depressed mood of the blues is traditionally an acoustic guitar. Naturally, over time, the ensemble began to be supplemented by drums and keyboards. It is such a sound that is becoming familiar to the hearing of our contemporary. Note that the African American workers sometimes did not interfere with the lack of musical instruments (plantation conditions), and the blues was simply sung. Instead of playing, there are only rhythmic shouts, similar to those that workers publish on the field.
BLUES IN A MODERN WORLD The history of blues experienced its peak in the mid-twentieth century, when the tired world was waiting for something new and unusual. It was then that he burst into a recording studio. The blues had a serious impact on the main pop trends of the 70s era: rock and roll, metal, jazz, reggae and pop. But much earlier, the blues was appreciated by academic composers who composed classical music. So, for example, echoes of the blues are heard in the piano concert of Maurice Ravel, and George Gershwin called one of his works for piano and orchestra “Rhapsody in blues tones”. To this day, the blues came as an unchanging, ideal and perfect template. Nevertheless, it is still quite relevant and has many followers. It still carries a serious spiritual burden: in the notes of even the most recent compositions one hears the severity of fate and infinite sadness, even if the language of the verses is not understood. This is an amazing feature of blues music – talking to the listener.