Summary: The Evolution Of Delta Blues

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The evolution of the Delta Blues and White Folk music genre continued into the thirties through the influence of artists such as Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie respectively. This evolution is showcased through two particular examples, “Crossroad Blues” by Robert Johnson and “Dustbowl Blues” by Woody Guthrie. Although the styles by both artists initially seem starkly different and incomparable, there are fundamental qualities that are present in both songs when explored and compared. In “Crossroad Blues” by Robert Johnson recorded in 1936, the artist showcases his signature improvisational and loose playing style throughout the song. Robert Johnson displays a full vocal range as shown in one specific stanza, “Oooo, eeee, boy, dark gon' catch me here”. He consistently rises from a high to low vocal tone throughout the piece, as the pitch is dependent on the tempo. Johnson tends to sing in a lower pitch when the tempo is slow and higher when the tempo speeds up. Additionally, Johnson’s mastery of the acoustic slide guitar is prevalent as it serves as an appropriate complement to Johnson’s voice and plays well into his improvisational style. The subject matter in “Crossroad Blues” makes subtle references to the crossroads supernatural mythology. The lyrics point to the myth of Johnson selling his…show more content…
In fact such a white infatuation with African American music has been prevalent since colonial times. As Wald begins to explain the history of such infatuation, he touches on a few major moments that gave rise to the Blues genre. From lacking appreciation and proper praise in the early 20th century to the rise of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s, such events laid the groundwork for the rise of the Blues genre. Most notably the “From Spirituals to Swing” concert in Carnegie Hall on December 23, 1938, when African- American music was first presented as art instead of as just

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