I never really listened to blues music before but by the title I’ve always assumed that the songs were somewhat like a jazz type of sound and the music was usually about sad events or memories of the musicians. I liked the metaphor of an infection, and how sometimes you know both the cause and the symptoms. I thought it was interesting when it said that when you wake up with the blues you wish that you were either dead or that you have never been born. The blues was described as a mixture of idiomatic incantation and percussion that creates a dance style music. Because of the vibe that blue music gives off it makes sense that it was played in places like house parties or ballroom dances. The talk about the devil and his association with the music was quite interesting because I’ve never heard of that before. It says that the music calls the devil and even brings out defilement inherent in those born in sin.
Without much background on blues music, I found it interesting that voodooism and mimicry is connected with the blues. The slow dance-oriented music has a purpose to drive the blues away, and keep them away. Defined by many different things, blues is a complicated genre. Sometimes used in church for purification, the blues can be used to purify people of wrong doings as well as to scare away bad omens and the devil. Aside for religious purposes, blues music can aid in affirmation and facing adversity. Ironically, the blues and blues music are opposites. Blues music was made to make people feel good, scaring away the blues which are often associated with low spirits. Although not very popular anymore, blues music was listened to often to make people feel better.
I noticed that in every culture or genre, the lyrics tend to convey certain themes or messages depending on the purpose of the music or the audience. According to the article, the blues tends to focus on more depressing subjects like death, betrayal, disappointment, and defeat. However, the purpose of the blues is to make the listeners feel good, or in higher spirits. The instrumental is said to have pitiful sounds like screaming, howling, moaning, and groaning, but despite this, it is said that it does not bring down people’s spirits. I also find it interesting how they mention the blues and church (prior to reading this article, I did not know that they had a connection). Some blues artists were inspired by church music and used some of those elements in their music (i.e. Louis Armstrong).
I’ve always known blues music as the kind of music that makes people happy. However the term “blue” is also used to describe a state of sadness, this has always confused me. From the reading I learned the blues is derived form harrowing anxieties, hardships, and misfortune. Despite its somewhat negative origin blues mucin creates a down to earth atmosphere. Before this atmosphere people would turn to drugs and alcoholism. Due to this music there was no longer a need for drugs and alcohol to distract oneself from the blues for there was blues music. I found that to be very interesting .
I think it’s too hard to describe the “blues” in a broader sense because whoever plays it has a different, personal reason for playing it. The passage relates blues music with things that are depressing, disappointed, etc, and the blues is described as a ghostly figure who never leaves their host musician body. Honestly, I don’t really understand a lot of the reading that kind of describes this genre as something mystical and almost sacred. I think it’s related to how people viewed Jazz musicians, and they saw blues music as the “devil” because it wasn’t really explainable how musicians played/how listeners felt. Jazz and blues music stems from spiritual/gospel-like music, and the “solo” apparently originated from the call and response sections in some songs, so musicians like Louis Armstrong put their interpretations on music like When The Saints Come Marching In. It says blues music is not synonymous with low spirits, and I agree with that most of the time. I think the music is definitely “playful,” as the music uses lots of non-diatonic notes (notes outside the key), which was probably unconventional. I’d say from the passage that blues music’s purpose was for enjoyment, self expression, and for dance. The inspiration for Jazz musicians, like a lot of today’s musicians, has a lot to do with things happening around them, both musical and nonmusical sounds included. The article as very briefly touched on transcription. The act of transcribing music and solos is one of the main ways Jazz musicians learn, and it’s super important for building repertoire, vocabulary, and understanding the music at a deeper level.
Having never played or really listened to the blues, I thought it was a somber genre with songs with depressing topics. Because when you think of the word “blue” you think of sadness or feeling down, however although the blues has a negative origin of hardships and anxieties, it makes people forget about their blues. Because these blues musicians knew others were going through the same hardships, they made songs for everyone to be uplifted. Even though the instruments make “moaning” sounds, people don’t let it get them down. I thought it was interesting that blues was used in church to purify people and scare away bad things.
“Stomping the Blues” by Albert Murray explains the blues music. The blues are synonymous with low spirits. However, the blues music is not. The purpose of the blues is not only to make people happy but to make a series of songs that are elegantly playful and heroic. The blues music’s lyrics are often times are hardships and misfortunes, but also good things that happens in the author’s life. Regardless of the lyrics, whether it is joyful or drenched in sadness, the blues always come with dance movements that is the opposite of resignation. Sometimes the lyrics are different from the dance moves. Soul and rock make use of qualities of the blues musicians such as banging, crashing, and screaming. many people listen to the blues music for the fact that it makes them feel happy. The dances, tune, and the rhythm of the song makes them feel good, which is what seems to be the best part of the blues.
While reading “Stomping the Blues” by Albert Murray, it became apparent to me that there is more than one kind of blues. There is the blues which makes a person feel down in the dumps and is like gray clouds in our mind, and then there is the blues which is there to save us from it. The musical blues which is the best substitute to alcohol, drugs and voodoo which are considered some of the only other ways of breaking through the gray clouds. I also learned that surprisingly, the blues somewhat originated from church hymns which is ironic because in the church's mind, the blues is a form of the devil. The secret to the blues music working the way it does is through a combination of the music itself as well as the dancing that ensues from listening to the music.