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Styles  >> Blues



Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States around the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll is characterized by specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues chord progression is the most common. The blue notes that, for expressive purposes are sung or played flattened or gradually bent (minor 3rd to major 3rd) in relation to the pitch of the major scale, are also an important part of the sound.
The blues genre is based on the blues form but possesses other characteristics such as specific lyrics, bass lines, and instruments. Blues can be subdivided into several subgenres ranging from country to urban blues that were more or less popular during different periods of the 20th century. Best known are the Delta, Piedmont, Jump, and Chicago blues styles. World War II marked the transition from acoustic to electric blues and the progressive opening of blues music to a wider audience, especially white listeners. In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues-rock evolved.
"The blues takes many forms... It is variously a feeling, a mood, a nameless threat, a person, a lover, a boss man, a mob, and, of course, the Devil himself. It is often experienced as both cause and effect, action and reaction, and it can be used as both hex and counterhex, poison and antidote, pain and relief. Most importantly, the blues is both the cause of song, and song itself..."

One explanation for the origin of the "blues" is that it derived from mysticism involving blue indigo, which was used by many West African cultures in death and mourning ceremonies where all the mourner's garments would have been dyed blue to indicate suffering. This mystical association towards the indigo plant, grown in many southern US slave plantations, combined with the West African slaves who sang of their suffering as they worked on the cotton that the indigo dyed eventually resulted in these expressed songs being known as "the Blues."
The term may also have come from the term "blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness; an early use of the term in this sense is found in George Colman's one-act farce Blue Devils (1798). Though the use of the phrase in African-American music may be older, it has been attested to since 1912, when Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues" became the first copyrighted blues composition. In lyrics the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood.


Blues ist eine vokale und instrumentale Musikform, die sich in der afroamerikanischen Gesellschaft in den USA Ende des 19., Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts entwickelt hat. Der Blues bildet die Wurzel eines Großteils der populären nordamerikanischen Musik. Jazz, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll und Soul sind nah mit dem Blues verwandt. Selbst in aktuellen Stilrichtungen wie Hip-Hop ist ein Nachhall des Blues zu spüren. Eine häufig auftretende Bluesform hat zwölf Takte, die Melodie wird mit drei Akkorden (harmonische Grundfunktion) begleitet. Das Wort Blues leitet sich von der bildhaften englischen Beschreibung I’ve got the blues bzw. I feel blue („ich bin traurig“) ab.

Frühe Formen des Blues entstanden in den südlichen Teilen der Vereinigten Staaten im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert. Der Blues ist eine eigenständige Form schwarzer US-amerikanischer Folklore, die sich nicht ausschließlich auf andere afroamerikanische Musikformen wie Gospel, Negro Spiritual und Worksongs (dazu gehören auch Fieldholler) zurückführen lässt. Der Blues enthält Elemente afrikanischer, europäischer und karibischer Musik. Frühe Blues-Formen sind bereits in Vaudeville- und Minstrel-Shows des späten 19. Jahrhunderts dokumentiert.
In der Frühphase war der Blues nur ein Teil des Repertoires afroamerikanischer Musiker. Er wurde ergänzt durch Tages-Schlager, Ragtime, Country-Songs und zeitgenössische Popmusik. Die Musiker dieser Zeit waren eher „Songster“ als „Blueser“. Blues war Unterhaltungsmusik der Farbigen und seine Interpreten spielten auf House- und Rent-Partys oder öffentlichen Veranstaltungen. Erst mit der einsetzenden Kommerzialisierung durch die Plattenlabels in den 1920er Jahren erfolgte eine Spezialisierung auf Blues-Songs.


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Nappy Brown Coal Miner / Skidy Woe

Nappy Brown

Coal Miner / Skidy Woe

Release date: 04.12.2015
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William Adamson Under An East Coast Moon

William Adamson

Under An East Coast Moon

Release date: 02.04.2015
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Joanne Shaw Taylor The Dirty Truth

Joanne Shaw Taylor

The Dirty Truth

Release date: 15.10.2014
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