Blues is a music genre[3] and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African-Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads.[2] The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes (or "worried notes"), usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Blues as a genre is also characterized by its lyrics, bass lines, and instrumentation. Early traditional blues verses consisted of a single line repeated four times. It was only in the first decades of the 20th century that the most common current structure became standard: the AAB pattern, consisting of a line sung over the four first bars, its repetition over the next four, and then a longer concluding line over the last bars. Early blues frequently took the form of a loose narrative, often relating the racial discrimination and other challenges experienced by African-Americans.

Many elements, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, can be traced back to the music of Africa. The origins of the blues are also closely related to the religious music of the Afro-American community, the spirituals. The first appearance of the blues is often dated to after the ending of slavery and, later, the development of juke joints. It is associated with the newly acquired freedom of the former slaves. Chroniclers began to report about blues music at the dawn of the 20th century. The first publication of blues sheet music was in 1908. Blues has since evolved from unaccompanied vocal music and oral traditions of slaves into a wide variety of styles and subgenres. Blues subgenres include country blues, such as Delta blues and Piedmont blues, as well as urban blues styles such as Chicago blues and West Coast blues. World War II marked the transition from acoustic to electric blues and the progressive opening of blues music to a wider audience, especially white listeners. In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues rock developed, which blended blues styles with rock music.


The term Blues may have come from "blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness; an early use of the term in this sense is in George Colman's one-act farce Blue Devils (1798).[4] The phrase blue devils may also have been derived from Britain in the 1600s, when the term referred to the "intense visual hallucinations that can accompany severe alcohol withdrawal".[5] As time went on, the phrase lost the reference to devils, and "it came to mean a state of agitation or depression." By the 1800s in the United States, the term blues was associated with drinking alcohol, a meaning which survives in the phrase blue law, which prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday.[5] Though the use of the phrase in African-American music may be older, it has been attested to in print since 1912, when Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues" became the first copyrighted blues composition.[6][7]

In lyrics the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood.[8] It is in this sense of a sad state of mind that one of the earliest recorded references to "the blues" was written by Charlotte Forten, then aged 25, in her diary on December 14, 1862. She was a free-born black from Pennsylvania who was working as a schoolteacher in South Carolina, instructing both slaves and freedmen, and wrote that she "came home with the blues" because she felt lonesome and pitied herself. She overcame her depression and later noted a number of songs, such as Poor Rosy, that were popular among the slaves. Although she admitted being unable to describe the manner of singing she heard, Forten wrote that the songs "can't be sung without a full heart and a troubled spirit", conditions that have inspired countless blues songs.[9]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Blues
Alemannisch: Blues
العربية: بلوز
aragonés: Blues
asturianu: Blues
azərbaycanca: Blüz
башҡортса: Блюз
беларуская: Блюз
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Блюз
български: Блус
Boarisch: Blues
bosanski: Bluz
brezhoneg: Blues
català: Blues
čeština: Blues
Cymraeg: Y felan
dansk: Blues
Deutsch: Blues
eesti: Bluus
Ελληνικά: Μπλουζ
español: Blues
Esperanto: Bluso
euskara: Blues
فارسی: بلوز
Fiji Hindi: Blues
français: Blues
Frysk: Blues
Gaeilge: Na Gormacha
Gàidhlig: Blues
galego: Blues
ગુજરાતી: બ્લૂઝ
한국어: 블루스
հայերեն: Բլյուզ
हिन्दी: ब्लूज़
hrvatski: Blues
Ido: Blues
Ilokano: Blues
Bahasa Indonesia: Blues
íslenska: Blús
italiano: Blues
עברית: בלוז
Jawa: Blues
Kabɩyɛ: Bluzɩ
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಬ್ಲೂಸ್‌
ქართული: ბლუზი
қазақша: Блюз
Kiswahili: Blues
Кыргызча: Блюз
кырык мары: Блюз
Latina: Blues
latviešu: Blūzs
Lëtzebuergesch: Blues
lietuvių: Bliuzas
Limburgs: Blues
magyar: Blues
македонски: Блуз
മലയാളം: ബ്ലൂസ്
Bahasa Melayu: Blues
монгол: Блюз
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘလူးစ် ဂီတ
Nāhuatl: Blues
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Blues
Nederlands: Blues
Nedersaksies: Blues
日本語: ブルース
norsk: Blues
norsk nynorsk: Blues
occitan: Blues
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Blyuz
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਬਲੂਜ਼
پنجابی: بلوز
Papiamentu: Blues
Picard: Blues
Piemontèis: Blues
Plattdüütsch: Blues
polski: Blues
português: Blues
română: Blues
rumantsch: Blues
русиньскый: Блуз
русский: Блюз
sardu: Blues
Scots: Blues
shqip: Blues
sicilianu: Blues
සිංහල: බ්ලූස්
Simple English: Blues
slovenčina: Blues
slovenščina: Blues
کوردی: بلووز
српски / srpski: Bluz
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Blues
suomi: Blues
svenska: Blues
தமிழ்: புளூஸ்
తెలుగు: బ్లూస్
ไทย: บลูส์
Türkçe: Blues
українська: Блюз
Tiếng Việt: Blues
walon: Blouze
Winaray: Blues
吴语: 蓝调
ייִדיש: בלוז
Yorùbá: Orin blues
粵語: 怨曲
žemaitėška: Bliozos
中文: 藍調