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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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