Blues Music is a vision of American history – the American experience as expressed through music and lyrics.
Blues music a folk voice, a unique and accessible musical style. It’s the only musical style where the prominent notes in the scale don’t match the notes implied by the chords they accompany. What would be a dissonant mismatch when heard in most popular music is a familiar staple of blues songs. It allows for improvisation, and gave birth to jazz. Yet it is accessible because a blues song can be sculpted using three simple chords and a five or six note scale.
The lyrical structure of the blues is limited, and that is where the genius comes from. If brevity is the soul of wit, the best blues songs are a Shakespearian ideal. If you’re stuck with making your point in two short phrases of seven to 10 words, it takes a master craftsman to say anything new or unique. There are a number of standard blues licks that nobody own, but a few have mastered. I’m thinking of Muddy Waters and Little Walter playing the standard blues riff in I Just Want to Make Love to You – they had very little to work with, yet they manage to stand out when playing a riff that has been played a thousand times before and after. That’s where blues greatness comes in.
But you don’t have to be a master to find your voice. Playing the blues well is about feeling, and you don’t heve to be a virtuoso to have feelings. Don’t compare yourself to others, but tune into the visceral experience of singing and playing. About Blues Music links to some simple lessons so you can learn to find your blues voice on guitar and harmonica.
About Blues Music features descriptions of some of the great blues masters from the early days before rock and roll, when soul wasn’t drowned out by amplifiers. Learn about some essential blues tracks, and how the original bluesmen got their sound. We will refer you to some instruments that may help you try to capture that original sound, as well as instruction books to help you build your guitar and harmonica technique.