Birth of the Blues:  The Evolution and Emergence of a New Music

A compelling lecture-recital offering a new understanding of the origins and character of one of the most influential of musical genres.

The music we call blues came into being in the American South in the early years of the twentieth century.  It was the result of  the fusion of four separate elements: a pervasive feeling of melancholy in the music, traceable to slave times; the development of the musical idiom, such as blue notes and the twelve-bar form; the emergence of a song-type which stated that the singer had the blues; and the naming of such songs “blues.”

Drawing on ground-breaking research and little known source material dating back to the 1850s, Dr. Peter Muir traces the development of each of these elements in the nineteenth century and shows how they rapidly coalesced at the beginning of the twentieth.

Program available on request.