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Musical Diversification. Record companies targeted new audiences between World War I and World War II (1918–40). Recorded music derived from the folk traditions of the American South

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musical diversification
Musical Diversification
  • Record companies targeted new audiences between World War I and World War II (1918–40).
  • Recorded music derived from the folk traditions of the American South
    • Migration of millions of people from rural communities to cities such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, and Nashville in the years following World War I
race records and hillbilly music
Race Records and Hillbilly Music
  • Terms used by the American music industry to classify and advertise southern music.
  • Race Records
    • Recordings of performances by African American musicians produced mainly for sale to African American listeners
  • Hillbilly or Old-Time
    • Music performed by and intended for sale to southern whites
mamie smith 1883 1946
Mamie Smith (1883–1946)
  • Known as the “Queen of the Blues”
  • Pioneer blues singer, pianist, and black vaudeville performer
  • In 1920, she recorded the bestsellers “Crazy Blues” and “It\'s Right Here For You, If You Don\'t Get It, \'Tain\'t No Fault of Mine.”
  • Mamie Smith’s success as a recording artist opened up the record industry to recordings by and for African Americans.
race music
Race Music
  • The term was first applied by Ralph Peer (1892–1960).
    • A Missouri-born talent scout for Okeh Records
    • Had worked as an assistant on Mamie Smith’s first recording sessions
race records
Race Records
  • The performances released on race records included a variety of musical styles:
    • Blues
    • Jazz
    • Gospel choirs
    • Vocal quartets
    • String bands
    • Jug-and-washboard bands
  • Verbal performances
    • Sermons
    • Stories
    • Comic routines
the blues
The Blues

Definitions:

1. Describes a feeling—“I’ve got the blues”

2. Refers to the blues style of singing or playing

  • blues vocals—like intensified speech
  • narrow range; rough, highly inflected timbre

3. Indicates a musical form—twelve-bar chorus, AAB text

blues form
Blues Form
  • A standard rhythmic harmonic structure in which a twelve-bar chord progression is tied to the AAB text in three four-bar phrases.
  • It is also called “twelve-bar blues.”
text of a blues song
Text of a Blues Song
  • Rhymed couplet—each chorus of a blues song contains two lines of text with the first line repeated. The text is AAB:
    • I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down
    • I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down
    • It makes me think I’m on my last go-round
form of a blues song
Form of a Blues Song
  • Melodic form—each line is sung to its own melodic idea.
  • Rhythmic form—each phrase of a standard blues chorus lasts four bars. One chorus of a blues song is twelve measures long (3x4).
  • Harmonic form—the harmony of a blues song is I, IV, and V chords.
twelve bar blues
Twelve-Bar Blues
  • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 91011 12
  • I IV I V IV I
classic blues
Classic Blues
  • Classic blues songs were performed by high-class nightclub singers.
      • Alberta Hunter (1895–1984)
        • Billed as the “Marian Anderson of the Blues”
      • Ethel Waters (1896–1977)
        • Entertained the growing African American middle class in New York, Chicago, and other northern cities
classic blues1
Classic Blues
  • Singers who performed in a somewhat rougher style
      • Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (1886–1939)
        • Popularly known as the “Mother of the Blues”
      • Bessie Smith (1894–1937)
        • “Empress of the Blues”
  • Rainey and Smith developed their singing styles in the rough-and-tumble black vaudeville and tent shows.
bessie smith 1894 1937
Bessie Smith (1894–1937)
  • The “Empress of the Blues”
  • The most important and influential of the woman blues singers from the early twentieth century.
  • Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee; began recording in 1923
  • Stylistically a blues singer even when performing novelty and vaudeville numbers; had a majestic voice
  • The centerpiece of Columbia’s race record labels
w c handy 1873 1958
W. C. Handy (1873–1958)
  • The “Father of the Blues”
    • The most influential of the classic blues composers
    • Son of a conservative pastor who forbade him from playing the guitar
      • Learned to play the cornet instead
    • Went on to college, received a degree, and became a schoolteacher
  • Handy cofounded the first African American–owned publishing house.
  • His music owed much to Tin Pan Alley as well as African American folk traditions.
  • His biggest hit was “St. Louis Blues,” written in 1914.
listening st louis blues by w c handy sung by bessie smith 1925
Listening: “St. Louis Blues,” by W. C. Handy, sung by Bessie Smith (1925)
  • This was the type of recording that introduced much of white America to the blues.
  • A hybrid approach to the blues
    • Removed from the “down-home” interpretation by country blues performers and composers such as Charley Patton and Blind Lemon Jefferson.
listening st louis blues by w c handy sung by bessie smith 19251
Listening: “St. Louis Blues,” by W. C. Handy, sung by Bessie Smith (1925)
  • Accompaniment—reed organ and cornet
    • Louis Armstrong on cornet
    • Fred Longshaw on reed organ
  • Call and response between cornet and Smith
  • Form
    • Based on the AABA model commonly seen in Tin Pan Alley songs
    • The final section is really a “C,” having a new melody but relating to the earlier “A” section of chords.
    • The “A” and “C” sections represent the twelve-bar blues.
listening st louis blues by w c handy sung by bessie smith 19252
Listening:“St. Louis Blues,” by W. C. Handy, sung by Bessie Smith (1925)
  • A
    • a. I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down
    • a. I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down
    • b. It makes me think I’m on my last go-round
  • A
    • a. Feelin’ tomorrow like I do today
    • a. Feelin’ tomorrow like I do today
listening st louis blues by w c handy sung by bessie smith 19253
Listening:“St. Louis Blues,” by W. C. Handy, sung by Bessie Smith (1925)
  • B
      • a. St. Louis woman…
      • b. Pulls my man around…
      • a. Wasn’t for powder…
      • b. The man I love…
  • C

I got them St. Louis blues…

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