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Lecture 001 - Rural and American Blues.docx

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Western University
Music 2734A/B
James Grier

Lecture 001 – Rural and American Blues September 12, 2012 - Every week dedicated to single album – more interesting to go more in depth on a single material - Listening Tests: 3 excerpts, 60 seconds long, drawn from the listening list that we’ve already listened to o Identification not important - Stylistic questions o Played twice - Excerpts may not be from songs covered in class, but will be from listening list - Second Listening test: Will pick 2 complete songs not necessarily from the listening list; will have stylistic attributes from songs on the listening list - Final exam: 3 parts: short answer (names, titles of songs/albums) drawn from listening list, reading, & lecture material, list of 20, pick 10, 2 marks each - Listening test, music drawn from listening list, with focus on material drawn from first half of semester, 4 excerpts, very specific stylistic question of each excerpt 40 marks, 10 each - List of 7 essay questions, pick 1; broad, open-ended; pick a theme - African/American - Rural blues  Urban blues - Muddy Waters – American folk traditions, was recorded in the south in the early 30s and 40s; migrated to Chicago where he became involved in the urban blues (same guys practicing rural blues contributed materially to the urban blues) - Anglo-American - Ballad  Tin Pan Alley - Many of the musical attributes of the Anglo-American ballad feed into rock music of the 50s - Many of the practitioners of rock music come from south east US, back woods, had direct influence from African/American rural blues - Anglo-American ballad & African/American rural blues = Rock Rural Blues (’41 & ’42) - ‘Gonna wait no more? Hold my head - Principal singer, people he’s addressing and they feel free to interject - Phrase – distinctive musical unit - Sings two phrases to begin with; guys he’s addressing interject and feel free to respond - Singer sings, audience responds - Lot of this dialogue in urban blues - Lot of it in rock music - Idea of dialogue where someone makes a statement and someone responds – coming directly from the rural blue tradition - Stops to take a breath; breathing becomes part of music o Stops at the end of a phrase - Phrase ends with a cadence; cadence falls (descending line) but not in all music - Cutting in one response; creating a continuity by overlapping; principal singer taking advantage of these responses by creating greater continuity with overlapping - Jump in earlier, evident of dialogue progressing - Descending phrase – characteristic of the blues; many, but not all, phrases descend; start high, end low - Throws embellishment in; feels free to make extra gesture so it’s not the same every time - Varying = just changing - The best music finds just the right balance between repetition and variation - Pentatonic Scale – Blues, rural and urban make extensive use of this o Has 5 notes: involves 2 notes which are often called Blue Notes o Called blue notes because they are sung in the blues - Follow textbook along with course in a chron
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