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Blues Music: A Metaphor for American Life

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

This course will focus on the historical, social, and political aspects of Blues music as it relates to the African-American experience in the United States. It will provide a study of "Blues' creators, their life experiences from the roots of this music in Africa to the present. The various periods include the slave era, emancipation after the Civil War, country life in the Jim Crow South, the migration North around 1915, and subsequent urban life in cities such as Chicago.

This course will introduce students to the blues, one of the most distinctive and influential elements of African-American musical tradition. Students will become familiar with Blues material and the lives and music of Blues musicians and will learn about the history and evolution of the blues in relationship to the African American experience from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago. In the process, students will become familiar with the characteristic form and sounds of the blues, explore works of W. C. Handy, BB King, Muddy Waters, Bessie Smith and a variety of blues singers and musicians, and will also have the opportunity to compose their own blues lyrics that reflect present-day attitudes and concerns.

This course will give students an opportunity to learn the history of the Blues from its African roots to the present, which includes the eras slavery, emancipation, rural life, migration, and urban life.

Prerequisites: None