Blues Styles and History

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Types of Blues Music

I thought I would write a little piece about the types of blues music. There are so many out there it can sometimes be hard to tell which is which. For those out there who are aspiring to be great blues musicians or guitarist, knowing what the different types of blues is crucial. It will help you in several aspect. First you will just sounds smarter and well-rounded with discussing the blues with other musicians, secondly it will help give you a better understanding of the blues and history of it which in turn help you become a better musician.

As there are several types of blues music I will go ahead and just cover some of the major ones.

Vaudeville – This was a popular style of blues in the 1930’s. Vaudevelle refers to a theatrical genre of entertainment in the U.S in the 30s. Bessie Smith was one of the most popular Vaudeville blues signers and is often referred to as the “Empress of the Blues”

Boogie- Woogie – This is a style of jazz/blues piano played in rapid temp. the left had will maintain a rhythmic and melodic pattern and the right hand will improvise in the treble.

Chicago – The Chicago blues style was developed in the late 1940’s. It electrified and amplified the Delta Blues. Adding drums, bass, and piano. The form is flexible to accommodate signers, guitarists, pianists, and harmonica players.

New Orleans – This style is mainly piano and horn-driven. There is a happy element to the music with a “lazy” feel to it.

Electric – Electric blues in unique in that in embraces every kind of blues. Stylistically, the form is a wide-open field, accessible to just about every permutation possible- embracing the old, the new, and sometimes the futuristic. Some forms of it copy the older styles of urban blues (primarily the Chicago, Texas, and Louisiana variants), usually in a small-combo format, while others head into funk and soul territory. Yet electric blues is elastic enough to include artists who pay homage to those vintage styles of playing while simultaneously recasting them in contemporary fashion.

Texas – Texas blues pulls in several different elements of other blues genres. Its earliest appearance came in the middle of the 20’s. Stevie Ray Vaughn is often considered a Texas Blues Player.

Delta – This style comes from the deep south. Actually from a southern part of Mississippi it is often referred to as “the land where the blues was born”. This type of blues is often guitar driven, acoustic, and solo by nature.

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