Written by André Hazel      30 June 2018




If you search for the meaning of Blues you will probably get something like,

“it is a melancholic music of black American folk origin.”

Musically it is the heartbeat of all modern music.

Without Blues many music styles like Rock, Hard Rock, R&B, Soul,

Jazz and many other genres would not have existed.

The Blues emphasizes on the usage of the so-called black keys

(the pentatonic scale).

Without the use of the black keys on the piano, there wouldn’t be Blues, Jazz or Fusion. It is said that the slaves did not come to America with

“Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do” in mind.



































Photo by: André Hazel (Banjo instrument)



The initiation of Blues


Blues is developed in the southern part of the United States at

the end of the 19th century.

Slaves were brought from Africa to the Caribbean and North America

during the slave trades.

That is part of where the African immigrants brought their music

to the new world and developed what we now know as Blues.

Music was a way of communication during their journey across the ocean.

Different tribes were brought together on the ships and in many instances they did not speak the same language.

The slaves were most of the time not allowed to speak,

so a way to express themselves was through music,

according to historians, by making melodic mumbling sounds.




Music instruments used in Blues music


The human voice was mostly used during the start of the Blues when slaves were working on the plantations.

Afterwards instruments such as the guitar and the banjo were

implemented in the mix with some percussion to help create

the melody of Blues.

Nowadays the electric guitar can be considered an essential part of Blues, combined with its unique way of singing style and other instruments like

the drums, bass guitar and occasionally banjo, harmonica and the piano.




































Photo by: Jon Sandell (Strings on a Contrabass)





The sub-genres of Blues


Blues has more than 30 different types of sub-genres, but the ones that had an influence on the world stage are Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, New Orleans Blues, British Blues and the transition from Acoustic Blues to Electric Blues.

Delta Blues is one of the earliest known sub-genre of Blues.

Originating from the Mississippi (Delta) area in The United States.

It was first recorded in the 1920’s, but is believed to have started at

the end of the 19th century.

Blues was called “race music” by many and was not an accepted type of music.

However the interest grew after the late 20’s and the genre grew in popularity across The United States led by artist such as Son House and Robert Johnson.


Blues made the transition from the countryside to cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans.

This is where “Electric Blues” started to take shape.

Many artists started to use a large portion of the Blues or even

covering songs, making their audience believe that the songs are their

own original songs.

Even “Elvis Presley” has used Blues songs.

One famous song he performed was “Hound Dog, “ which was one of the songs that pushed him into stardom during the 1950’s.

British musicians like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Eric Clapton were

also tremendously influenced by the American Blues music and had

a fundamental role in the development of the British Blues.


Blues is still an essential part of popular music today.

Artists still use elements of Blues music into their repertoire.

Guitar solos and even melodies used in other music genres derive in many cases directly from Blues.

Blues is also very popular during jam sessions.

The rhythm of Blues makes it interesting for musicians to perform together and improvise on their instruments.











Written by: André Hazel    30 June 2018



Special thanks to Jon Sandell for the information provided to Iviusiq.

Jon Sandell is a professional guitarist & recording artist from The Netherlands.






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