This Independent Study examines the movement of the blues from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s and the establishment of the Chicago blues. The blues, which started in the Mississippi Delta, has roots in African traditions and laid the foundation for the iterations to follow. Because of the various regional styles, I will be focusing on three styles of the blues: the Delta blues in Mississippi, the Classic blues in the cities, and the Chicago blues, a combination of the Delta and Classic blues. I explore two outside factors that contributed to the movement, such as the recording industry and the Great Migration. I argue that the recording industry gained control of the music and restructured the blues for commercial consumption. I further argue that the Great Migration brought the blues to Chicago and helped change the music, laying the stage for the Chicago blues. These outside factors helped drive change within the music and helped transport the music from the rural farms of Mississippi to the streets of Chicago. This independent study also focuses on specific musicians in each genre of the blues such as Charley Patton with the Delta blues, “Ma” Rainey and Bessie Smith with the Classic blues, and Big Bill Broonzy with the Chicago blues.
Scherson, Andrew D., "Sweet Home Chicago: The Movement of the Blues from Mississippi to Chicago and How that Changed the Music" (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9594.
Blues, Mississippi, Chicago, Delta Blues, Classic Blues, Chicago Blues
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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