Just What is Blues?
Yes, you can play the blues on a ukulele. Blues is at the heart of all American music. Be Rock, Jazz, Country, Folk, Bluegrass, or Pop, there's a bit of the blues in it all.
The Blues is a genre of music that originated in the African American communities of the Southern United States in the late 19th century. It has deep roots in African musical traditions, work songs, spirituals, and field hollers, and it reflects the struggles, emotions, and experiences of African Americans during periods of hardship, discrimination, and social injustice.
Characterized by its distinctive chord progressions, soulful melodies, and often melancholic lyrics, the Blues typically follows a 12-bar or 8-bar structure. It's known for its call-and-response patterns, where a singer's vocal lines are echoed by instruments, and vice versa. The genre heavily relies on expression and emotion, with singers often employing vocal techniques such as slides, bends, and vibrato to convey feelings of sadness, longing, and hope.
The themes explored in the Blues encompass a range of human experiences, including heartache, poverty, oppression, love, and resilience. Many Blues songs tell stories of personal struggles, broken relationships, and the trials of everyday life.
The Blues played a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of popular music. It influenced the development of rock and roll, R&B (rhythm and blues), jazz, and many other genres. Prominent Blues artists and pioneers include musicians like Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lead Belly, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith. Over time, the Blues has evolved and blended with other styles, leading to the creation of various subgenres and contributing to the rich tapestry of American musical heritage. It is truly an American art form.
Learning to play the blues is a great bridge to more complex music.
The Blues can be a feeling, a chord progression or a scale. This Blues section of the site will cover it ALL.
- Chords – Common chords played in various blues styles. From a basic I IV V blues to a fancy jazz blues.
- Scales – Essential scales needed for soloing over blues progressions.
- Lessons – Blues ukulele lessons right here on my site.
- Premium Play-Along Tracks – Four FREE play-along tracks to download or play on-line and practice your blues soloing.