Blues Music Lyrics

Blues Music Lyrics

Blues music lyrics often cover a range of topics such as love, sex, betrayal, poverty, hunger and unemployment. They also contain bitter social and political commentary.

If you are writing a blues song, let the ideas brew for a few hours or days. This will give your songs more depth and make them more believable.

Three-lined verses

Blues evolved along the Mississippi river in the 1890s as secular dance music accompanied by guitars and other portable instruments, sung in juke joints and barrelhouses. Its distinctive harmonic structure features the tonic chord and sometimes the subdominant (resolving to the tonic at the end of the line). Blues musicians also use a variety of lyrical forms, although most are dramatic monologues sung in first person. Many of them protest mistreatment by lovers and express a desire for freedom.

The poetic structures of blues songs are often based on a rhymed stanza, which is repeated at the end of each musical bar. The stanza usually consists of three lines and follows what is known as the AAB pattern. The first two lines are sung as a quatrain, and the third line is a response to them. Alternatively, the second line may be a rhyming couplet. This creates the AAB pattern, and it is a common structure in blues lyrics.

Three-chord structure

The blues typically follow a three-line verse pattern with alternating stanzas. Each stanza contains two lines that rhyme with each other and a line that contrasts with it. Often, the lyrics describe a problem or difficult situation and conclude with an answer. This structure makes the genre uniquely expressive and compelling.

The underlying harmonies in the blues tend to be dominant seventh chords, and they often straddle the boundaries between major and minor keys. In addition, the chords are often augmented with tritone substitution and secondary dominants. This allows the guitarist to create a variety of different harmonies.

Blues lyrics also offer a range of subjects, including love, sex, violence, hope, superstition, and religion. They also feature themes of bitter social commentary, such as segregation, law and order, and poverty. Students should be encouraged to analyze these themes and to compare blues lyrics with poetry by Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Alice Walker, and Alice Anne Williams.

Rhyming couplets

The blues is a poetic form that is characterized by rhyming couplets, slang, and repetition. It also employs literary devices such as irony and wit. The genre’s subject matter can range from love and betrayal to social commentary.

While rhyming couplets are important for the blues style, it’s possible to vary them from strict iambic pentameter. Rather than strict rhyme schemes, rhyming couplets in the blues often have a looser feel that emphasizes musical rhythm.

The poem “The Weary Blues” is a perfect example of this technique. It depicts a black musician playing late into the night, channeling his sorrow into music. He finds solace in this art, but it’s exhausting to perform. It’s a perfect metaphor for the power and pain of black culture, and the way marginalized people can find healing through creativity. It also suggests how such channels of sorrow can sometimes be a form of oppression themselves.

Sexual themes

Blues artists used their music to express their emotions and feelings about life and love, especially in the face of racism, segregation, and a system that denied them their human rights. Many of the lyrical themes were sexual and chauvinistic, but the artist often obscured this theme through the use of coded language and other literary techniques.

Women’s blues often portrayed their lives as single mothers, facing poverty, illness, and the loss of children to child labor. These blues artists also emphasized the need for family ties. For example, Victoria Spivey’s TB Blues and Ma Rainey’s Farewell Daddy Blues depict a woman’s struggle to maintain her family in the face of squalid living conditions, disease and poverty.

Hokum blues, a type of humorous blues that combines a comedic lyrical content with a boisterous and farcical performance style, often uses humor to make its point. Students could compare the humorous blues to other literary works that employ a similar technique to examine how the writer uses humor to make the reader laugh and think in new ways.

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