A Short, Sad History of the Blues

The musical genre known as the blues is difficult to define, but you know it when you hear it: a simple chord progression, a deep bass line, and lyrics that evoke wisdom, sadness, and resignation. A "standard" blues is twelve bars long: lyrics are repeated twice in the opening eight bars, and then elaborated on, with a few extra syllables, in the last four bars. (Here's an example from a classic Little Walter song: "Blues with a feelin', that's what I have today/Blues with a feelin', that's what I have today; I'm gonna find my baby, if it takes all night and day.") The instrumentation of a blues song can be .....

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