Characteristics Of Blues Music

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Characteristics Of Blues Music

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Jazz Fundamentals: What Are the Blues?

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Rock and roll was influenced by elements of blues instrumentation, rhythm, and purpose. Both rock and blues are composed of drums, guitars, and vocals. As blues was becoming increasingly popular throughout the s, manipulation of notes and amplifying instruments occurred. Blues is a direct result of slaves and gospel while bluegrass is a result of immigrants mixing different styles of sound and instruments from Europe. Blues has history dating back to Africa while the roots of bluegrass date back to Germany and the Swedish region. In the very best blues the pain changes, because of the music, into something light.

Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson made the blues style very popular in the s. By the s and 50s, the style had developed further and included a range of other instruments. It has harmony, the notes that make the melody sound fuller. It has rhythm, which is the heartbeat of the song. But what sets jazz apart is this cool thing called improvisation. The dominant 7th chord is the most common used chord in blues. But also the ninth and thirteenth chords are found regularly in blues music to give that extra flavor to a chord progression. They add a little bit of jazz flavor. Both genres originated in the Southern United States around the late s to early s, with blues arriving first, then jazz a little later. By the time of his death in , the man known around the world as Satchmo was widely recognized as a founding father of jazz—a uniquely American art form.

Blues was the first music to emphasize improvisation, and its unique tonal coloration became an integral part of the jazz vocabulary. The most common musical form of blues is the bar blues. The combination of instruments used in early blues music included the clarinet, drum, guitar, piano, trombone, and trumpet. Skip to content What are the stylistic characteristics of the blues? From its beginnings in the early to mids, blues rock has gone through several stylistic shifts and along the way it inspired and influenced hard rock , Southern rock , and early heavy metal.

Blues rock started with rock musicians in the United Kingdom and the United States performing American blues songs. They typically recreated electric Chicago blues songs, such as those by Willie Dixon , Muddy Waters , and Jimmy Reed , at faster tempos and with a more aggressive sound common to rock. In the UK, the style was popularized by groups such as the Rolling Stones , the Yardbirds , and the Animals , who put several blues songs into the pop charts.

These bands also "attempted to play long, involved improvisations which were commonplace on jazz records". In the s, more traditional blues styles influenced blues rock, which continues into the s, with more of a return to basics. Along with hard rock, blues rock songs became the core of the music played on album-oriented rock radio in the United States, and later the classic rock format established there during the s. Blues rock can be characterized by bluesy improvisation , extended boogie jams typically focused on electric guitar solos, and often a heavier, riff -oriented sound and feel to the songs than found in typical Chicago-style blues. Blues rock songs often follow typical blues structures, such as twelve-bar blues , sixteen-bar blues , etc.

They also use the I - IV - V progression, though there are exceptions, some pieces having a "B" section, while others remain on the I. One notable difference is the frequent use of a straight eighth-note or rock rhythm instead of triplets usually found in blues. An example is Cream 's " Crossroads ". Although it was adapted from Robert Johnson 's " Cross Road Blues ", the bass "combines with drums to create and continually emphasize continuity in the regular metric drive". Rock uses driving rhythms and electric guitar techniques such as distortion and power chords already used by s blues guitarists, particularly Memphis bluesmen such as Joe Hill Louis , Willie Johnson and Pat Hare.

His instrumentals from that period were recognizable as blues or rhythm and blues tunes, but he relied heavily upon fast-picking techniques derived from traditional American country and bluegrass genres. The best-known of these are the Billboard hit singles " Memphis " and "Wham! Fronted by blues harp player and singer Paul Butterfield, it included two members from Howlin' Wolf's touring band, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay , and later two electric guitarists, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. The classical period of music aimed for extreme melodic clarity, as do other forms of popular music. Chords may also be broken apart to create arpeggios. Arpeggios occur when notes of the chord are played consecutively rather than simultaneously.

Rhythm creates another three characteristics of music -- monorhythmic, polyrhythmic and tempo. Monorhythmic rhythms retain the most rhythmic clarity as there is only one rhythm playing at a time. In monorhythmic music, the melody, harmony and rhythm all move together. Polyrhythmic music contains several rhythms that juxtapose to create complex rhythmic textures. This type of rhythm is the most common as melody, harmony and rhythm rarely play identical rhythmic parts.

Finally, tempo dictates the speed at which the piece plays. Tempo may have an extreme effect on the perception of the music. Timbre is an extremely important characteristic of music and defines the overall texture and density of a piece. There are two sub-types of timbre: instrumental and orchestral. Instrumental timbre is the sound of a single instrument.

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