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Discovering music: the blues
Discovering music: the blues

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A fixed number of beats (2, 3, 4) defined by metre.
A narrative song in which all the verses are sung to the same tune, often with a repeating refrain.
The basic pulse underlying a piece of music.
Blues notes
The characteristic notes of the scale, usually the third, fifth and seventh, that are flattened (lowered) in blues music.
Call and response
A song in which a single voice ‘calls out’ a short phrase which is answered by a group of voices, often in harmony. It is common in African choral music where the call may be varied and freely improvised while the response may be repetitive.
Two or more notes sounded simultaneously. In Western music the notes sounded operate in relationship to a scale.
A recording of a song by someone other than the original performer. Covers may be straightforward copies or radical re-workings of songs.
Field holler/holler
Improvised work songs sung solo, often echoed by other workers.
A class, type or category of music that behaves according to specific conventions.
A type of song that emerged in the America Protestant Evangelical movement from the 1850s onwards that describes personal religious experience.
The combining of notes simultaneously.
A type of music that emerged in the early twentieth century. Many of its melodic and harmonic elements are drawn from blues, but it is characterised by flexible and syncopated rhythms and improvisation.
The correct term for a tune.
The division of pulse into groups of 2, 3, 4 or more beats.
The beat underlying a piece of music.
A popular style of music dating from the 1890s-1920s, usually performed on a piano. The ‘ragged’ rhythms to which its name refers are created by a steady left hand pulse and syncopated (off-beat) rhythms in the right hand.
A sequence of pitches, ascending or descending by step.
A type of African-American sacred song that developed from Christian and West African religious rituals during the eighteenth century. Spirituals later became the foundation of Gospel song .
Music characteristic of an individual, time period, geographical location, society or social function; a way of doing something.
The speed at which a piece of music is played, i.e. the speed of the pulse.
The character of the musical sound of an instrument or voice.