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  • Singing the Blues

    Norman and Nancy Blake and James Bryan play American string music and talk about it as the main form of entertainment at the turn of the century. Charles Wolfe, a music historian, describes how songs were a way of telling stories and spreading the news. From country music records to the evolution of slave songs into blues music, the history of southern music traced.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Explain the role of music during the late 19th century.

    2. What kind of impact has southern music had on music today?

    3. What is your favorite type of music? Describe the influence it has had on your life. 

    Expansion

    1. As illustrated, music has been central to the culture of the South. Many well-known musicians claim Georgia as their home. The Georgia Music Hall of Fame is a resource for identifying Georgia musicians and music styles. Choose a musician or musical group and write a paragraph describing how he, she or the group brings recognition to Georgia and how the work of the individual or the group has contributed to the state’s economy.

    2. Write a story or create a play about the life of Fiddlin’ John Carson or Robert Johnson.

    Vocabulary

    Blues: a musical genre originating from songs slaves brought from the West Indies and sang in the fields; it was incorporated into Rock and Roll and Folk music in the later part of the 20th century
    fiddler: common term among musicians who play folk music on the violin
    sensation: a person, object, or event that arouses widespread interest and excitement

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Explain the role of music during the late 19th century. 
    Because there were no televisions or radios during this time, playing music was a primary source of entertainment for people during the late 19th century. 

    2. What kind of impact has southern music had on music today?
    Nearly every form of music we have today can somehow be traced back to early southern music. Rock 'n' Roll is a new form of blues, country music has origins in Georgia mountain string music, and soul music is linked to the gospel music of southern churches. 

    3. What is your favorite type of music? Describe the influence it has had on your life. 
    Student answers will vary. 

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