What is blues

> Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 08:50:55 -0800
> From: "IronMan Mike Curtis"
> Subject: Re: What constitutes "blues"?
> From: "M. N."
> > Good question. I bet the folks on a blues list would have a lot to say
> about
> > it.
> Being a long-time blues-l member, I'd say probably *wayyy* too much ;-)  I
> can also guarantee there'd end up being a lot of arguing.  Some feel that
> "real blues" encompasses only a very narrow range of music, i.e. only
> Chicago blues, etc.
> My purpose in posting was not to argue, but simply to point out (as Charlie
> did rather succinctly - "...if it feels like blues, it's blues - period")
> that blues is much more than a fixed format of chord changes and bars.  I
> also hoped to start a discussion of what constitutes "blues", and
> specifically some things we all can work on specifically to improve our
> blues.
> And yes it's a harp list, but arguably most here are into blues at some
> level.  Even jazz musicians need to know how to play blues, according to
> Miles Davis ("If you can't play blues, you can't play .

In my previous post I gave the academic defintion only, which is useful as a rough description. But Mike is quite correct in saying its more than a fixed format. I hear "Georgia on my Mind," or "That's Life" as blues songs, even though they have bridge sections that don't fit any patterns. And that is part of the problem of defining blues-it has so thoroughly permeated American popular music that it is in some cases very hard to tell where the boundries are between blues and rock, or jazz, or country, or folk.

Glenn Weiser

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