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TAMU MUSC 200 - The Blues

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MUSC 200 1st Edition Lecture 4 Outline of Last Lecture I African American Music II Musical Styles a Instrumentation b Song over singer c Melody and Harmony d Rhythm e Lyrics f Song length g Form i Verse Chorus form III Verse Chorus Structure IV Changes in TPA V Listening 1 Outline of Current Lecture I Second Listening portion II Blues Roots a Social Context b Musical Context III General Musical Features of Blues a Lyric themes b Musical concepts and definitions 12 Bar Blues IV Current Lecture Listening 2 I m Old Fashioned sung by Fred Astaire written by Jerome Curran lyrics by Johnny Mercer o Structure I C C O o Note Not sure about the spellings of the names 2nd chorus is instrumental with the last fourth vocal Verse Chorus form is gone These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor s lecture GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes not as a substitute o Melodic contour the way a melody rises and falls o o o Several different types of melodic contour such as undulating contour and arching contour This song and most TPA songs had arching contour Start low drift up climax drift back down There s on overall arch and also arches within each section intro and chorus Creates an impression of sophistication Accompaniment larger ensemble than in Come Along My Mandy Percussion and bass are even and not aggressive business man s bounce Not quite an orchestra but the lushness of one snuck in Lyrics everyday language with sophisticated poetic devices and wordplay Internal rhyme Alliteration Personification Dramatic imagery Irony giving off the image of a sophisticated young man but is singing about being old fashioned o Musical features aren t random they re selectively chosen to create a certain type of image Rock n Roll reacted against this Singing Style crooning Roots of the Blues Blues music was the most immediate and direct precursor to rock Blues started to come around at the turn of the century but wasn t recognized by TPA until the 1920s Social Context o In the early 20th century most African Americans lived in the south Starting in the 1910s a demographic shift occurred and many African Americans moved from rural areas to cities in the North and West o The Great Migration a large demographic shift caused by an expansion of job opportunities Cities especially effected Chicago New York City Detroit etc Economics only a small number of African Americans belonged to the middle and upper classes Large majority were working class and some lived in rural poverty Sharecroppers rented a section of land to farm had to produce enough crops to feed themselves and also pay the landlord o o Racism and Segregation o 1896 equal but separate came into play This resulted in highly separate facilities but never equal Jim Crow Laws In the North no formal laws allowing separate but equal segregation were in place but it was still practiced basically everywhere African American musicians could get into the music industry if they performed what TPA wanted them to Considered by many to be slavery under a new name But it was difficult to be a touring musician as many hotels and other places of business would refuse to serve African Americans Musical Context o o o Musical connections between West African music and the blues Both had Call and Response consists of a two part melody with a singer who calls followed by a response either by backup singers or instruments Both had Rhythmic Complexity Both had an emphasis on improvisation Shared the same performance style of direct interaction between the audience and the performer Before the Civil War Spirituals call and response songs focusing on religious themes Work songs songs intended to pass time and coordinate work efforts while performing physical labor After the Civil War African Americans had small amounts of disposable income which many put towards instruments Got into various musical styles including ragtime opera classical and vaudeville General Musical Features of the Blues Lyrics 3 main themes o Love relationships falling apart It was especially difficult during this time period to have a lasting relationship due to the Jim Crow Laws and economic and social repression Also could be metaphorical for this economic and social repression o Traveling many African Americans were itinerant musicians they would move from town to town performing and a portion of their audience would often travel with them The Great Migration also was a main influence for this theme Traveling like love was also used metaphorically for other experiences o Anxiety African Americans lived in fear for their lives over trivial matters creating enormous anxiety Musical Concepts o o o Scales a group of pitches A pattern of half steps and whole steps Half step smallest distance between 2 notes Can start a scale on any note there are 7 notes numbered 1 7 Octave same note different pitch The 8th note in a scale is the same note that started the scale but at a level higher or lower Chords 3 or more notes played at the same time The major scale is used to derive chords Can build chords from every note of a scale Chords are the framework that give a sense of where the song is going Chords are named from the note of the scale they are derived from Rhythm Pulse or beat equally spaced events in time Meter grouping of pulses into units Groups of 3 or 4 are the most common In this class 4 is the standard Measure or bar one unit of a meter example 4 beats is in 1 bar Chord Progression series of chords The 12 Bar Blues is a specific type of chord progression Chord Progressions specify which chords are being used how long they re used and the order they re in Chord length is measured in beats or bars not minutes or seconds How to write chord progressions o o I V the first and second bars have a Ichord the third bar has a V chord that s one empty measure bar o repeating chord Tension and Release IChord built on 1st note of the scale Most released chord meaning it doesn t sound like it s going anywhere it is a good ending chord Tonic chord I chord V Chord built on 5th note of the scale Has the most tension meaning it sounds like it s going somewhere Dominant chord V chord IV Chord built on 4th note of the scale In between the Iand V in terms of tenseness Subdominant IV Chord 12 Bar Blues In 4 4 time 4 beats per bar I 1st phrase prevailing harmony is I chord IV I 2nd phrase transition from IV to I which is central to many genres V IV I V 3rd phrase next lecture


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