The Blues, By Amiri Baraka

1444 Words6 Pages
Blues is a popular music style even today. It is popular because of its characteristic style that later developed other styles and subsets of the primitive blues style and its ability to appeal to a larger audience; therefore, placing the music style into the light of mainstream society. Amiri Baraka, in his work Blues People, says that the blues is a product of the “Negro’s American Experience.” In addition, he adds that the blues “developed as a response to the Negro’s adaption to and adoption of America; it was also a music that arose due to Negro’s peculiar position in this country.” It would be difficult to argue that the blues are not a product of the African American experience. While there are instances where white American individuals were successful in the blues music industry, the majority of the artists who helped create the characteristic blues music style that were African American. In addition, they did so by incorporating pieces of their African culture into this music form. Therefore, in agreement with Amiri Baraka assertion, the blues style is indeed a product of the “Negro’s [African] American Experience” but is shared with a varied audience, mainstream even. Baraka’s assertion is correct in that the blues are certainly a product of the experiences of African Americans and the music style, arguably, did become popular due to the “peculiar position” of African Americans; however, the music style definitely became popular because of the characteristics included in blues music genre. What characteristics led the blues music style to be successful? Blues music is popular because of the characteristics it contains, for example, the musical form of the style. The simple but “expressive ‘microtonal’ pitch i... ... middle of paper ... ...eason that influenced him to write about the relationship between the blues and the African American experience, writing that the blues were: “…a body of music that came to exist from a people who were brought to the side as slaves and that throughout that music’s development, it had to survive, expand, organize, continue, and express itself, as the fragile property of a powerless and oppressed People.” Therefore, through the characteristics that make the blues music genre what it is and as popular as it is, Amiri Baraka’s assessment on the relationship between the African American experience and the blues music genre is correct, especially because without African culture, the creations of African American artists and the history surrounding the genre, blues music would not be what it has come to be known as and may not have gained the mainstream popularity it did.
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