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Mississippi Delta Blues: A case study in intensity - cultural, social, geographical, and musical elements Essay Example

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Mississippi Delta Blues: A case study in intensity - cultural, social, geographical, and musical elements

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Mississippi Delta is more of a historical and cultural than geographical concept. The life of the African American plantation workers was far from easy; instead, people suffered from poverty, hard work and humiliation. Therefore, songs and music invented by them and their ways of entertainment were the reflection of their daily graft and desperation. Later, the style spread to other American states and acquired specific peculiarities in each of them. Generally, black inhabitants of the Mississippi Delta invented the kind of music, which became a basis for all future blues and jazz styles (Jackson).The first recordings of Delta blues appeared in the 1920’s, when the labels sensed huge potential of this African American music – these were mainly records featuring a single musician playing and singing at the same time. Freddie Spruell is believed to be the pioneer in recorded Delta blues with his “Milk Cow Blues” of 1926 (Legget). As the music of Mississippi Delta spread to big American cities such as Chicago, where the initial intention of this style affirmed. It can be stated that Delta blues’ development is closely related to the world historical trends. Capitalism and industrialization reached even the remotest corners of the world, and the majority of people became involved in hard work in industry. Thereby, the need for distraction from hardships became typical both for Negro plantation workers of the Delta and for inhabitants of large cities: workers needed entertainment and rest from slave-like labor. Great number of so-called bordel houses emerged in the cities, which combined drinking facilities with delta blues live music played there. Charlie Patton and Son House, the Delta blues pioneers in Wisconsin, began recording their songs in 1929-1930 and later moved with their music to other large cities like New York.There are different viewpoints of Delta blues’ peculiarity in comparison to other blues styles (and no critical differences are seen in between harmonic structures of Delta blues and blues played in other places), but the unique feature of this early kind of blues in certainly the emphasis on the rhythm in the instrumentation. Jackson states that rhythm is a driving force of Delta blues and the way rhythm is produced “is essential to the character of the music” (Jackson). In a brilliant combination with vocals, rhythm produces the high level of expression

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Works Cited

Jackson, Fruteland. Beginning Delta Blues Guitar. Alfred Music Publishing, 2002. Print.

OConnell, Christian. "The Color Of The Blues." Southern Cultures 19.1 (2013): 61-81. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.

Leggett, Steve. "Freddie Spruell". AllMusic. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.

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preview essay on Mississippi Delta Blues: A case study in intensity - cultural, social, geographical, and musical elements
  • Pages: 4 (1000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Music
  • Level: Ph.D.
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