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Blues

blues” african include songs

Blues, U.S. musical form derived from the work songs, spirituals, and “field hollers” of African Americans of the South, characterized by the use of flattened “blue notes.” The blues, which came to be the principal basis of the jazz idiom, has the characteristic pattern of a 12-bar structure, with distinctive harmonies, most probably of African origin. What began as songs, many about despair and cynicism, accompanied by guitar, harmonica, or piano, has expanded to include a purely instrumental form. The blues were first popularized by W.C. Handy (“Memphis Blues” and “St. Louis Blues”); early blues artists include Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

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