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The Blues

One can surely conclude that without the blues the face of music would be very different today. Originating in Africa during the time when Africans were being extracted for the slave trade, the blues found its way into the southern United States. This form of music dipped into the emotions felt by lonely slaves removed from their families and native land. Perhaps the only common thing between blacks and whites in this turbulent time were these notes of sorrow. White people accepted their slaves? music and compared their misery to their own. This parallel was one of the only things shared by the clashing races.

Since then the blues have worked their way into all forms of contemporary music. Jazz, Rock and Roll, Bluegrass and even Rap are based on the patterns and principles of the Blues. This is why it is a turning point. Without this African influence it is obvious that most forms of music would be different if not nonexistent today.

Blues legend B.B. King is a perfect example of the music?s diversity. In addition to the original blues he has played songs with other artists in the fields of Rap, Rock and Roll and even Reggae.

In the nineteen sixties a turning point in the blues themselves sparked a turning point in the nation. The audience went from mainly African American to mainly white. This set the stage for artists like Eric Clapton to apply their musical talent to the art form. This, in turn, helped melt the blues into mainstream American culture. Rap artists have two main influences going back to tribal Africa. Reggae is based on percussion rhythms from central Africa and many political messages from this music are apparent in today?s urban music. The other, the blues, have influenced the musical melodies laced over the tribal beats.

It is easy to see how this musical form has produced and influenced music far beyond the continent of Africa. Although mostly prominent in North America the blues have been hugely popular in Europe, changing and inventing musical styles there as well. The blues are truly a musical phenomenon.


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