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MUSC 171
Kip Pegley

September 27, 2012 Alessia Vettese MUSC 171 Class 3 4 precursors: Gospel, African American work songs, honky tonk piano (precursor to boogie woogie piano) and jump bands A B lyric structure = case of work songs The blues are something that a lot of people think they know: saxaphones are common, powerful and emotional, heavy base, move into lower-end emphasis (strained lyrics somehow), a pattern of chords (chord progression) Blues follow an: A A B lyric structure 1) Emotion sadder lyrics 2) *AAB lyrics (sometimes) & usually a particular chord progression *follow a particular PATTERN 3) Style blurry/flatter Hillbilly can be taken in a negative fashion In the 1920s, blues music was also called race music; up through the 1920s and 1930s, until 1949, had that connotation; aka rhythm & blues Billboard (music charts) has been around for a while and in 1949, changed accordingly 1) Country blues/rural blues - Southern USA: accompany himself (banjo or guitar) - Blind Lemon offers country blues She plays us Bluesland excerpt: That Black Snake Moan; Blind lemon Jefferson; moans and hollers; guitar style; recorded in 1920s, making him most successful blues singer in America As opposed to classical blues, this is less structured (in part because only one person singing and accompanying himself); different in a band or orchestra, more important for people to know what theyre playing and when theyre playing The song is highly sexualized; keeps saying that theres a black snake in his room and he needs a woman to come get it (down from Mississippi Delta around Tennessee, and this will come back in Chicago blues and heavy rock artists love the power and the sexual content of these lyrics) September 27, 2012 Alessia Vettese A lot of black artists are nicknamed; Louis Armstrongs name, Snoop Dogg, Prince, Howlin Wolf, Sippy Wallace, etc. Once we get into early rock and roles, we know that these artists were given such names to DE-sexualize them; especially out of concern of white parents These names also served people to make them more welcoming to cross racial boundaries When we go to study, do NOT study the structure of this one (just listen for the style, dont analyze the structure) We should notice that really tough to keep a beat; one guy playing and he can milk it for whatever he wants; if getting too technical, he can speed up or slow down however he wants; HIGHLY emotional and cathartic (not james brown cathartic, but moans about his black snake, its about loneliness); he keeps repeating Usually, his emotion is in first person (not talking about other people) Rhythm can be unpredictable; performance based (no one would be able to replicate it perfectly) = he kind of scoops into notes and moves around them as opposed to hitting notes over and over again) which gives the gut-wrenching feel to it; sometimes he plays a cord in the background and sometimes a guitar and a continuation of his voice (guitar is an extension of his voice that provides an almost calm response) Again, sometimes guitar and sometimes on banjo The black snake moan summary: 1) A A B structure and 2) highly sexualized 3) lyrics (AAB over and over again, but lyrics are not linear and can go out of order) 4) rhythm (unpredictable) 5) blues notes (a little flattened with the scooping) 6) call the response with guitar (strung/lead) 7) single string technique 8) sense of chords is weakened (dont always hear in the background thinking where are we now) 2) The Classic Blues - In comparison/contrast to solo male singers of rural blues, in 1920s and 1930s and up, often performed by African American women The women were much more professional in the sense that instead of accompanying themselves, had a group or great pianist playing behind them Ma Rainey and Sippy Wallace Sippy and Louis Armstrong together sang Have you Ever Been Down (1927) She was called Sippy because of her lisp; performed, composed, wrote her own pieces as opposed to just singingSeptember 27, 2012 Alessia Vettese Louis Armstrong played trumpet and a background clarinet player Lyric structure here: A: If you ever been down, you know just how I feel A: % B: like a tramp on a railroad and got a decent meal - A little less sexual, but more about relationships (something like if she cant find another poppa, shell use him) - Structurally much easier to count and follow along with than the last one Intro = 4 minutes Verse = 12 (response/trumpet) Verse = 12 (response, clarinet, and a little bit higher and faster) **each of these can be broken down further into 4, 4, 4 (still follows a a b), then into 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 (call response, call r
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