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How did African music influence the blues?

Do you want to know how African music influenced the blues? Read about it in the article.

The blues

There is a myth that jazz and blues are the music of Africa, actually, it is not truth. There are no counterparts existing in African music for them. This music could be born only in the United States, in the socio-economic conditions that existed in the late 19th-early 20th century. For 300-350 years in the United States continued the import which made this country the most competitive on the market of the 19th century. They provided free labour. This was a slave trade. There were more than 3 million slaves taken from Africa.

They were transported in the holds from the west coast of Africa to the east coast of the United States, as well as to the Caribbean and Brazil. According to statistics, 60-70 percent of these people survived. They carried on for two or three weeks without food and almost no water. But by the standards of that time, it was considered acceptable loss, so no one was going to create a comfortable environment for slaves. In America, slaves were sold on plantations.

How do you like the style?

Legal freedom was received by Africans only in the 60-ies of the XIX century as a result of the civil war. Real rescue of people from slavery happened only at the end of the XIX century. The Economic freedom they have not received and continued to work in the same fields, only in a fraction of the crop.

Why Africans quickly forget their mother tongue?

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Slaves of the same tribe in the north of America were never sold on the same plantation. For what? To make all the slaves, who were on the same plantation, talk to each other in English only, and for supervisors to understand them. Thus, it happened in North America for two generations, a situation where the labour force rapidly lost their roots, their culture. These people already in the second generation did not remember the songs of their country or even language. And music which African musicians brought with them rapidly lost its specific tribal signs.

Three features of music

Common African was not into music is a background for all his life: he sings on the field, and in the evening, at home, dancing. This is not because they are artists, and get paid for it, just the music is the most important part of his life. With this music they got to America, and, forgetting their language and their traditions, however, retained the general features that are typical of West African music.

One of the hallmarks of African music polyrhythm, that is the simultaneous development of a number of interlocking rhythmic lines. For Africans, it is quite natural that when he dances, he had one-foot stomping one rhythm, the second leg the other, and yet he puts his palm on the thighs and abdomen. The European culture is not the case there is the concept of a regular rhythm, where there is a division of the musical fabric at the bars, and they have strong and weak beats. If we are accustomed to clap on the strong beat, the African, on the contrary, to hear the weak, and slaps on the second and fourth share.

The second most important feature the so-called labile tone. African music is built on a natural scale. When African sings, he lowers the tones and semitones, it seems to us, is arbitrary. This is called a labile tone.

the Blues

If the European music there is the concept of polyphony, when we hear the sound of interrelated simultaneous voices in African-American music at the same time sounding, different voices are not interrelated. This feature is called heterophony.

In contrast to the ideas that give us the movies, blues it's not the music that comes from the past, where people were only playing the guitar, sitting by the fire. No guitars were in use in the United States, it was expensive imported tool. Prior to this guitar cost 30-40, and it was a lot of money. The main instrument was the banjo, which was made from a cigar box.

The first person to notate the blues was a professional musician, composer William Christopher Handy, who called himself the "father of the blues." He first heard the blues in the train. This happened in 1903. Once he left for Texas and was awakened by the sound unheard. As he recalled in his autobiography, "Father of the Blues", next to him sat a skinny black man stirred up in overalls and playing the guitar, sliding on the strings the back side of the knife, which he held in his left hand. It is not difficult to guess that this is a technique of playing blues slide, which is a metal tube, put on the little finger of the performer. While the slide show is not produced, and musicians put on a little finger batted bottleneck or drove on the strings the back side of the blade, ensuring the slide, labile tone guitar.

The influence is obvious

The word "blues" first appeared in print in 1912, as well as the name of the kind of music only in 1914. From this point, we can say that we see a highly professional African-American music about this, as we know it on the early records of the 1920s. The fact that African-American musicians to 1920 on the plate is not recorded. Therefore, I formed either as blues or as it was formed a close relative of jazz, we do not know exactly. We know about it only from the descriptions, the analysis of ball cards that were in New Orleans. Here came the first jazz recording.

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