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The Blues

Year 8 Music Research Assignment

Term 2 / Wednesday 27 May / 2015

by Casey Boswell 8G

The blues was bleeding the same

blood as me."
B.B. King

Part 1
Identify the Blues as a genre. What are the characteristics of the
Blues? Include detail such as instrumentation, structure/form,

The Genre

The Blues is an African-American music that

gives deep emotion to the sound.
The Blues have a distinctive sound. Chords
are used to play it on the piano. The Blues
sound is created from how one chord moves
to the next, making it seem sad.
The general idea of the Blues, is by
performing or listening to it, one is able to
overcome their sadness and lose the blues.


The Blues music is to express deep feelings and sad emotions.

Feeling Blue, is one way to describe it.Therefore the lyrics
would compose of stories or words of depressions of all sorts.
It could be expressing longing for a better life, lost loves,
struggles with money or slavery cries. Although the Blues may
be depressing, the overall outcome of embracing the Blues
music results in overcoming your sadness, it gives you a lift.
The lyrics are usually extended when sung, giving the
impression of emotion. The lines are often repeated and short.


Double String Bass



Bass Guitar

Drum Set

Electronic Guitar

Electronic Keyboard

Electronic Keyboard


The Blues are usually performed in a band. A

typical Blues band consists of at least one
guitarist, bass player and drummer and a vocalist.
In most cases, the vocalist is also a musician.
The piano is highly valued amongst the Blues
instruments. The Blues piano sound gives the
deep melody the genre is known for.
The guitar, or electric guitar, is also commonly
valued in the Blues, plucking off rifts.

Another way to identify the Blues music is the familiar AAB format.
Where in the lyrics, one idea is shown, then repeated then the third
line is responds to the idea. Example (Top Left)
The Blues bar progression is also common in the Blues. This consists of
3 chords of a key. These chords are repeated, like the African technique,
call and response.The Blues bar count is usually 4/4.
The Blues music is based off the Blues form. The I, IV and V chords are
used throughout the Blues form. These chords can be played at any key,
which are then played by the Blues chord progression. Example (Bottom
First 4 Bars= I, I, I, I Middle 4 Bars= IV, IV, I, I Last 4 Bars= V, IV, I, I

Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to

Amy Winehouse

Part 2
Associate this genre with racial and religious groups who have
all migrated to America.

Racial and Religious Influence

One of the main origins that made up the

Blues was the Spirituals (or Negro Spirituals).
Which are religious (generally Christan)
songs made by African slaves.
These songs were generally sung with oral
harmony, expressing their religion while
The spirituals were very blue, their songs
expressing the loniness of mankind.

Good things are associated with blue, like

clear days, more than singing the blues. Just
the word 'blue' in the singular is full of
optimism and positive connotation to most
David Carson

Part 3
Discuss the relationship between slavery, work song, rural life
and Church values in how they combined to produce a new

Hard Life Relations

The overall origin of the Blues was from the

African slaves. They had been enslaved to
labour in America, they sung their misery and
"blues" while they performed their endless
work. This kind of music includes work song.
For they work while sing the song.
The relationship between the rural, hard
working life and the slavery was that they
were all creating misery for the African
slaves. Therefore they sung about their
sadness, creating the Blues.

Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel.

- Jimmy Hendrix

Part 4
How have techniques from African Music shaped the
establishment of the Blues?

African Music Contribution

African slaves are the origin of the Blues. Their African

Blues at home carried through to America were they
expressed it through their sadness and labour. The
work songs are a big influence, creating the whole
"blue" feel in music.
The Blues form (AAB) was influenced by the African's
technique called "call and response". The Blues was
adapted from the African slave's field shouts and
hollers performed during work, which then adapted
into Field songs with deep emotion.

The next thing I knew, I was out of the

service and making movies again. My first
picture was called, GI Blues. I thought I was
still in the army.
Elvis Presley

Part 5
Discuss ways in which non-African Music migrant groups have
contributed to the musical features of the Blues.

Non-African Migrant Contribution

The bosses of the African Slaves would
notice the music off their slaves.
Weird in interval and strange in
rhythm; peculiarly beautiful, and
compared it to something like
contemporary Greek singing, albeit
better done.
The music of the African slaves spread
word. Other americans tried out the
new music, promoting the genre to
where it is today.

If you don't know the blues... there's no point

in picking up the guitar and playing rock and
roll or any other form of popular music.
Keith Richards

Part 6
Choose a prominent Blues artist from the 1940 - 1950s to
How has your chosen artist influenced other artists and/ or
genres of music? Choose from one of the following (or choose
your own.)
- The Beatles
- Chuck Berry
- Rolling Stones
-Jimmy Hendrix
- Led Zeppelin

John Lee Hooker

Born in Mississippi 22 August, 1917, son of a sharecropper. Died
in California, United Sates, 21 June 2001, aged 83 years old.
John Lee Hooker was an American Blues singer, song writer and
guitarist. He rose to fame performing an electric-guitar style
adaption to the music that originated from his birth place, Delta
Blues (One of the oldest styles of the Blues). John was unique in
this way, he developed his own Blues styles into his music. He
was a very successful musician, his career active from 1943 till
the day he died, 2001.
Some of his best known songs are "Boogie Chillen'" (1948),
"Crawling King Snake" (1949), "Dimples" (1956), "Boom Boom"
(1962), and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" (1966).

John Lee Hooker Influence

John Lee Hookers big hit, Boogie Chillen'" (1948), was recognised by a
lot of people, one of which was BB King himself, a disc jockey at the
time; If you didn't play 'Boogie Chillen' at that time, people probably
look at you and wonder what was wrong with you. It was such a big
It was also this same song that influenced several great musicians tobe, to learn the song and get involved in the music world of the Blues.
These lads were Bo Diddley and Buddy Guy.
John Lee Hooker is known as a very influential Blues musician, he
influenced 3 generations after him with his music.

Quotes from
Pictures from Google Images