The Birth of the Blues

Blues History Timeline


The earliest form of the blues dates back to the early 1860s and was associated with the American blacks. The development of the blues was influenced by black folk music such as work songs, spirituals, field hollers, ring-shouts and certain popular ballads.


The call-and-response routine was incorporated into a musical pattern. The first line of the lyric was repeated in the second line, with the same melodic phrase. The third line was sung with a different melodic phrase. Combining the three-line melodic phrases, this musical form fell into a twelve-bar pattern.

Blue Notes

One outstanding melodic feature of the blues is that of lowering the third and seventh degrees of the major scale. The lowered third and seventh degree notes are called "blue notes." These became essential in the development of early jazz. When jazz musicians came into the picture, they developed new forms and styles of jazz. Improvisation became the jazz musician's most important asset.

BB KING Best Solo Guitar King of Blues

Early Blues Musicians

John Mayer - Crossroads (Live at Letterman)