History and culture is greatly reflected in music. If there is a huge swing in the cultural ideas, this can create a vastly different style of music then what the people are use to. And as a genre of music grows it can develop new ideas and be slightly altered to fit the needs of the society at that time. While blues verses are regularly about individual affliction, the music itself goes a long ways past self indulgence.
The blues is additionally about defeating hardships, saying what you feel, freeing yourself of dissatisfaction of others and letting yourself become free of all of your burdens.The Blues Genre started in northwestern Mississippi in the late 1800’s. It was at first a music prevalent among previous slaves living in the Mississippi Delta, the flat plain between the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers. With the Great Migration of black workers that started around that time, the Blues spread around the south and the rest of the United States. These traveling musicians would successfully get around and make their shows, whether it was hitching train rides or playing on walkways when the clubs and juke-joints were too full. Musicians playing in these establishments adjusted the Blues into a different style, overall promoting the genre and helping it’s popularity grow.
Even when the artists played their music with their guitars on the corner of a street it was directly affected by normal citizens and their cultural beliefs (Estrada). And throughout the growth of the genre Society, Economics, and Politics can definitely sway the ideas behind the songs. Society greatly affects the way music is being produced and sang.
During the time the Blues genre was developing, Gospel Music began to rise in popularity. “By the early 1930s he was composing gospel songs using blue notes and showing a greater sense of individualism and worldliness in the themes of his songs” (Suer). As Blues became more popular singer began to incorporate Blue more into their everyday worship and it because a staple for most African American churches. Economics affected the Blues genre during its time of fame. When Blues became popular most people did not have access to expensive, well made instruments. Most of the beginning music from the genre was vocals or instruments that could have been gotten for a low price. “To express this music, blues performers used vocal techniques such as melisma, rhythmic techniques such as syncopation, and instrumental techniques such as “choking” or bending guitar strings on the neck.” (Britannica).
The most common instrument used was a guitar, it was easy to learn, and not very expensive so low class man could afford them. Politics definitely swayed the ideas behind the songs during this era. During the development of the genre there was still a lot of racial discrimination. Since the the President was White, Black artists used the force from the hard times of being discriminated, and used it in their music. So, as the president continued to discriminate Blacks it created a more deep and meaningful or “raw” form of music, that is known as Blues.In the song, “Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith she sings, “I can’t eat a bite, ‘Cause the man I love, He don’t treat me right, He makes me feel so blue, I don’t know what to do, Sometime I sit and sigh, And then begin to cry” (Smith). In this song Mamie is talking about how she is in a relationship where she can’t focus on her own life.
Her partner makes her sad whenever she thinks about him. The lyrics in this song were definitely affected by society because during Mamie life she has come across someone who had broke her heart and she decided to portray her feelings in a song. At the beginning of the genre most of the songs were about the hardships of life. And this is definitely shown in this song.Is Music considered art? Is a question many of us find ourselves asking.
If you want to be technical about it, music is written down. It is no different than a poem or beautiful painting. Yes, one has to be able to read music in order to appreciate its written form, but the same could be said of many other written arts. Even a painting requires a certain knowledge set to be truly appreciated. If art is the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance, then we must conclude that music and dance fall into this category as well. In conclusion I would personally say yes that music is a form of art.
Learning the blues is essential to being able to understand how the origin of music began. I’ve never heard anyone regret learning about the interesting genre. I suggest you give it a lot of time and attention. It will really anchor and guide your playing and creating of music for your entire lifetime just like it did for many musicians before you.