Poetic Elements Within the Blues Essay examples

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Blues is one of the most captivating genres of music. The genre was originated in the late 1800’s as a method used by African American slaves to express the circumstances as well as to put emphasis on their feelings and emotions. In order to create these feelings in this music, blues artists incorporate many of the same techniques used to write poetry. One of the most easily identifiable songs in which it is easy to see the relation between poetic elements and blues music is the song “Empty Bed Blues” by Bessie Smith.

The lyrics to “Empty Bed Blues”, when not being sung, appear to be a regular poem. But when performed, the lyrics are transformed into a powerful and meaningful blues song. Bessie Smith is one of the most well-known and
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The use of rhyming by Bessie in this song is extremely easy to identify; “head” and “bed”, “find” and “grind”, “wrong” and “long”, etc.

The words used by Bessie in this song set up a platform for her tone and the attitude of the story. The lines she uses are chalked full of images and other elements including phrases with double meanings. Some of the words in the lines she uses have literal meanings as well as more subtle referenced meanings. There were two particular examples of messages with an underlying tone dealing with intimacy. The first is when she says, “Bought me a coffee grinder that’s the best one I could find,” which implies finding a man that best serves her needs/desires. This line is followed by, “Oh he could grind my coffee, cause he had a brand new grind,” which the audience is led to believe refers to her being satisfied with the new man. The next example of her word choice creating a hint of a sexual tone begins with the line, “He’s a deep sea diver with a stroke that can’t go wrong,” and ends with her saying, “He can stay at the bottom and his wind holds out so long.” This is a pretty strong example of intimate innuendo. She uses words set up in a type of context that makes them mean something other than their literal meaning. Although what she’s saying doesn’t directly reflect it, this stanza refers to the intimate acts between her and her new lover, symbolized by the new grinder.

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