Blues music is mainly defined by its lyrics, which are more lyrical in nature, rather than narrative. In B.B. King’s song, “Every Day I Have the Blues,” King gives us a good example of what blues music is generally about,
The Blues Genre has been out since the late 19th century. However, the blues genre started to establish awareness around the 1920’s. Bessie Smith was one major influencer of the blues genre. The blues common themes were related to poverty, death, cruelty, misfortune, and unfaithfulness. In Bessie Smith’s case, her song Lost your Head Blues, is about a woman who was in love with a man who was initially broke. In the lyrics, it later discusses how the man gains wealth and started to think differently about his woman. As the song progresses further, the lyrics mention that the lady will leave him without telling him “goodbye”. The lady finally leaves the man and mentions that she will write a letter explaining the reason why she left him. To conclude, the song discusses how days and nights become long and lonely for her. However, the lady will admit that she is a good woman and refuses to be treated poorly. This song was popular at the time and has given Bessie Smith a lot of fame.
The blues have deep roots embedded within American history—particularly that of African American history. The history of the blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th century and was created by slaves, ex-slaves, and descendants of slaves. They were created by individuals who endured great hardship while performing endless hours of arduous labor and blues served as a form of escapism. To these individuals, songs provided them with the strength to persevere through their struggles. Blues songs depicted individuals who persevered in the face of adversity. They were symbols of hope to those squandering in the depths of oppression. In relations to the blues, every song has a story behind it and within every story, there is something to be said. Blues artists, through their struggles, detail how they overcame hardship and laughed at the face of oppression. They defied the rules and in doing so, showed African Americans that they too are beacons of hope for the hopeless. The best blues is instinctive, cathartic, and intensely emotional. From irrepressible bliss to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion than that of the blues. Like many bluesmen of his day, Robert Johnson applied his craft as a lonely traveling musician on street corners and in juke joints. He was a lonely man whose songs romanticized that existence. With Johnson’s unique vocal style, haunting lyrics, and creative guitar techniques, Johnson’s innovation embodied the essence of
When people think of popular music they think of party beats created for pure entertainment and nothing more. People do not see this genre of music as capable of anything else. The stigma of popular music only being a form of amusement for the mass consumer is challenged when artists use music to attract attention to social issues. This paper intends to show how music like Raï challenge the thought that popular music is only for entertainment.
It is a common belief that the nurture aspect of our personal development has a lot to do with the way we see ourselves and the habits we form due to our past experiences. Unfortunately for Sonny, as well as for many other African Americans throughout history, even before the 1950’s, oppression had been a great burden to deal with on a day to day basis. In “Sonny’s Blues” the author James Baldwin provides us with a family whose lives revolve around this constant reminder that they are a minority and therefore, live a completely different life in Harlem, Manhattan New York where the influences and environment mainly keep one in trouble. Sonny was the brave exception in the family who allowed himself to openly have a fervor for jazz and grows spiritually, beyond the borders of restraint that oppression had placed on those who lived during these times, his passion towards jazz music definitely deepened his connection to his community, his cultural history, his family, and his interior consciousness.
In Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues,” a portrayal of living in the historical record of poverty, racism, and segregation in Harlem, New York, affecting the pathways of lives for society and American Culture. Sonny, a pathless protagonist of the story uses music as his pathway of escaping society’s African American brutal oppression in the 1950’s. Through the eyes of the narrator of the story, Sonny’s brother, describes their past and present lifestyles as he remembers it. He thinks back to day he promised their mother while he was on leave from the army before she passed away to watch over Sonny and would not allow anything bad to happen to him. Trying to live up to his promise he states, “I don’t want you die trying not to suffer,” (Baldwin,
It is hard to imagine the popular music industry today without themes of queerness. From Tracy Chapman to Sam Smith, Tegan and Sara to Elton John, many genres of music feature successful queer musicians who often openly sing about their own loves and desires. However, even today, these queer experiences are not widely accepted or common in the music world, and the genders of their love interests are left shrouded in lyrical ambiguity. This renders some of the blues records recorded by African-American artists nearly one hundred years ago even more surprising. Some of the incredibly famous blues queens in New York City identified as lesbian or bisexual and sometimes, albeit rarely, indicated explicitly as such in their lyrics. (Others kept their sexualities very private.) Some were married to men, some to women, but all were faced opression due to their race, gender, and sexual orientation. This playlist features songs from blues musicians of the 1920’s that focus on queer
Throughout American history, people have protested to create change in the time and circumstances in which they live. At the heart of every protest are grievances, such as experience of illegitimate inequality, feelings of relative deprivation, feelings of injustice, moral indignation about some state of affairs, or a suddenly imposed grievance (Stekelenburg). Whatever the reason, protests have been an important and present part of American society for many years. There are multiple ways in which people protest. People use books, magazines, and social media as forms of protest. Music is among the most important mediums, for the majority of society listens to and enjoys it. Songwriters and celebrities, tending to have an elevated presence in society, draw attention to subjects they believe should be spoken about in order to create change. Over the years, song artists have used their platform to show their objection to racial discrimination, war, and intolerance towards specific groups of people.
Music is a medium that has shaped the ages in relation to its significant role in social movements. Actually, music has acted as one of the various methods and vehicles through which social movements have existed and developed. The role and significance of music in shaping the ages is primarily attributed to the fact that it represents more than entertainment as it has spoken for generations and exemplified belief systems. Generally, music has had a tremendous relationship to and impact on social movements in every decade from the 1960s through 2000-2010. Music has been used as a means of exemplifying the mood of the decade in terms of high profile events or movements that took place in the respective decade.
Throughout history, music has been used for many reasons: national anthems, love songs, praises for God, even to invoke a feeling from a listener. The variety of music that is offered through the Internet or radio is overwhelming because, depending on the artist’s style, genre, and tone, each new song or composition is unique because no one has thought of that sound before. Music has also been used to voice political dissent. During the Vietnam war, music was used to show disapproval, even to the point where people disobey the government by not registering for the draft. In addition to voicing political dissent, it has also been used for current events like the Super Bowl, National Basketball League Finals, even used for a theme song for national
Daily protests occurred filling streets of America to convey their assessment on the war. The anti-war music of the 1960’s played an essential role in America’s interpretation of the war, and the protest songs from that era are still an integral component of every generation. (“The 1960s,” 2016,). Just as the United States has a long history of war protest music was considered the most powerful voicing option which opened a new world of possibilities. America’s nation discovered music with a depth of interpretation.
The movie “Fences” offers an emotional analysis of the usual theme of blues songs comparing the struggles of the everyday black (man) to life and all its circumstances. The internet states, typical blues song consists of “African-American music that traverses a wide range of emotions and musical styles. “Feeling blue” is expressed in songs whose verses lament injustice or express longing for a better life and lost loves, jobs, and money. But blues is also a raucous dance music that celebrates pleasure and success.” Some of the motifs identified in the movie are race, men and masculinity, hopes and dreams, family, and betrayal.
Sonically, the Delta Blues where defined by the soulful, expressive lyrical content, as well as the instrumentation, which would usually be portable, and often homemade. Delta Blues emerged from the slave work songs, influencing later musicians. The music can be a departure from everyday life, or can tell the stories of oppression and sadness that the slaves of the early 20th century experienced. The song “I Be’s Troubled” by Muddy Waters is “a great example of the Delta sound that would come to shape and influence the Chicago, Memphis and rock styles of music.” (Awblues.weebly.com, 2014). The song demonstrates very early use of now common sonic techniques; a slide guitar intro followed by vocals; the only two instruments in the song. The song is about a lost love, a theme present in a vast amount of Delta Blues (and many other genre’s) songs. Delta blues artists such as Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and Son House were amongst the most influential of the era, such musicians lead the way to the next era of blues music: Chicago Blues.
Have you ever stopped and thought about the music that serves as a back drop for major cultural movements in society. It has been a part of every major movement that has happened throughout history. Those in charge or lead these movements know that music can add additional power and emotion to help the cause. When you watch a documentary about the civil rights movement or the vietnam war there is always music in the background and as your listening to the narrarator its subconciously affecting you and adding an emotional edge to whats going on. It makes you feel like a part of the protest, and makes you want to get invested
The article “Politics and Music” discusses about a relationship between music and politics in the 20th century. The relationship became closer, tighter and more effective than before that proved by Plato’s argument that “When modes of music change, the laws of the States always change with them”. In the simple way, protest music works very well. It can muster more recruits than posters. In additon, it is not easy for totalitarian control musican’s word using, and some composers compose music for later generation (it means the music still spreads widerly later). The are two main points in grown of totalitariansism. However, Protest music doesnot always bring good effects, such as cancelled performace of Lincoln Portrait in America.