Mapping the Blues Genes

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Pre war blues, Ray Dessy, Technology and Market

Author: Raymond E. Dessy

Source: scholar.lib.vt.edu/faculty_archives/blues_mount/index.html

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“Preface: This essay, Mapping the Blues Genes, explores the first three decades of the printed history of early blues music. All life, and all music, can be analyzed by an examination of its genomic structure. With earthly animal life forms, the chromosomes that help determine shape, character, colors, mind and emotion contain segments that are called genes. Variations in a specific gene are called alleles. In plants and animals some alleles are dominant, and others are recessive—and the individual’s development is determined by the genomic mixture and the dominant/recessive struggle. Musical styles provide many parallel features. In the late 1800’s musical evolution started a dendritic evolution which led, by the early 1900’s, to ragtime, jazz and the blues. The melodic, harmonic and lyric features of these styles are usually attributed to human adoption and adaptation. Fiscal, technical and societal factors can also affect musical styles. The evolution from harpsichord to piano, the change of performance venues from cathedral to chamber-room to music hall, cyclic monetary conditions, and shifts in leisure-time all altered other musical styles. This essay will examine how technical developments, the fiscally dynamic early 1920’s and the subsequent plunge into Depression in 1929, and many other complex societal factors determined the fabric of the blues.”

 

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