Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicBlues · 1 decade ago

Difference between memphis blues and chigaco blues?

I am getting into blues now, and I really love Bo Diddley, Elmore James, howlin' wolf, and bb king... I've heard there are alot of different kinds of blues.. What is the difference between chigaco and memphis, or any other kinds?

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    *The Chicago blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago, Illinois by adding electrically amplified guitar, drums, piano, bass guitar and sometimes saxophone to the basic guitar/harmonica Delta blues. The music developed mainly as a result of the "Great Migration" of poor black workers from the South into the industrial cities of the North such as Chicago in particular, in the first half of the twentieth century.

    Chicago Blues has a more extended palette of notes than the standard six-note blues scale; often, notes from the major scale are added, which gives the music a more "jazz feel" whilst still being in the confines of the blues genre. This is not, however, as prominent as Texas blues, which contains many other notes such as the major 3rd and major 6th. Chicago blues is also known for its heavy rolling bass.

    Another notable point is that Chicago blues contains many dominant 9th chords, and the scales usually contain 9th notes. Note that a 2nd is the same as a 9th (the notoriously confusing '9=2' seen on many chord charts reflects this fact), and this is especially emphasized on guitar, on which it is much more difficult to span octaves, than on a piano.

    *The Memphis blues is a style of blues music that was created in the 1920s and 1930s by Memphis-area musicians like Frank Stokes, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Memphis Minnie. The style was popular in vaudeville and medicine shows, and was associated with Memphis' main entertainment area, Beale Street. The history of the era is detailed in the early chapters of a 2000 book by James L. Dickerson entitled Goin' Back to Memphis ISBN 0815410492.

    Some musicologists believe that it was in the Memphis blues that the separate roles of rhythm and lead guitar were defined. This two-guitar concept has become standard in rock and roll and much of popular music.

    In addition to guitar-based blues, jug bands, such as Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band, were extremely popular practitioners of Memphis blues. The jug band style empasized the danceable, syncopated rhythms of early jazz and a range of other archaic folk styles. It was played on simple, sometimes homemade, instruments such as harmonicas, violins, mandolins, banjos, and guitars, backed by washboards, kazoo, Jews harp and jugs blown to supply the bass.

    After World War II, electric instruments became popular among Memphis blues musicians. As African-Americans left the Mississippi Delta and other impoverished areas of the south for urban areas, many musicians gravitated to Memphis' blues scene, changing the classic Memphis blues sound. Musicians such as Howlin' Wolf, Willie Nix, Ike Turner, and B.B.King performed on Beale Street and in West Memphis, and recorded some of the classic electric blues, rhythm and blues and rock & roll records for labels such as Sun Records. These musicians had a strong influence on later musicians in these styles, notably the early rock & rollers and rockabillies, many of whom also recorded for Sun Records

  • 3 years ago

    Memphis Blues Musicians

  • 1 decade ago

    That's simple, regional music differences are very subtle some times and classifying them is very difficult. As years pass they also become confused and jumbled.

    Chicago blues is much more of an electrified version of Mississippi Delta blues were as Memphis always had some roots in jazz and gospel, more horns, more piano.

    Chicago is more about harp, drums, bass and guitar, the piano and saxophone has much less prominence.

    It has a lot to do with venue. In Memphis is was about juke joints that always had a piano and more room for a band.

    In Chicago it was about things like a Saturday Night Fish Fry and rent parties, moving around quickly from gig to gig. That made instruments like electric Guitar and Bass easier to use. It also made Sax harder because it made it difficult to keep up with electric instruments, it was supplanted by the harp, which was easy to transport and with a mic and amp could keep up with guitar.. They did not mic things through a sound system those days. Having a piano handy was a luxury and only certain places had one.

    Having such different instrumentation changes the sound and feel of the music. Plus Chicago had a harder more Urban edge and less of the gospel influences.

  • Martin
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    As Conchobor said, the first answer is pretty good. A couple clarifications though-Sleepy John Estes made most of his recordings in Memphis, but apart from that he was strictly a Piedmont musician, with no ties to the Memphis blues community. Likewise Howlin Wolf, who, although he first recorded for Sam Phillips at Sun is universally recognized as a Chicago blues musician. Personally, I have never felt that the blues from Memphis is stylistically unified enough to be considered a distinct sub-genre of blues in the same way that Texas, Chicago, Delta, Piedmont, etc. are. As stated, the jug bands played a large role in shaping the sound, such as it is, of Memphis blues, resulting in a more rhythmic sound than some other genres.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As usual, my brothers Conchobor and Martin have nailed it.

    As a Mississippi resident, I've always heard in my head various styles coming out of Memphis, leading me to conclude Memphis was more of a destination point for recording than having an actual distinct sound (don't confuse that with the great Memphis Soul, feet firmly in the blues.)

    Many Mississippi, Arkansas and north Louisana bluesmen would head to Memphis.

    A fun oddity, though. Mississippi Fred McDowell was actually from Brownsville, Tennessee. I still remember a great night in 1971 seeing a variety of styles onstage in New Orleans- Fred McDowell, Bukka White, Furry Lewis and Lightnin' Hopkins, among many. Memory is fading, but the ticket was $3.

    PS: In "Crossroads", the old man said "Muddy Waters invented ELECTRICITY." A nice literary allusion.

  • 1 decade ago

    "War is over" (if you want it) has an outstanding answer - he should get your "Best Answer" rating (probably) but I just wanted to add that in Chicago the crowds became so big that amplification of the guitar became a necessity or nobody would have been able to hear it. This created an entirely new possibilities for sound - the interplay between an electric guitar and tube amp is a huge part of this sound. If you saw the movie "Crossroads" there is a scene where the Bluesman says to the kid "Muddy Waters done invented the electric guitar!" - meaning that it was time for the kid to buy one because the electric guitar was part of the blues. As a person who absolutely LOVES the interplay between a great electric guitar and a great tube amp, I can say that I sure am glad that "Muddy Waters done invented the electric guitar!" Other electric guitar players out there will know exactly what I mean - in fact, in order to control the sounds in this situation you have to practice a lot to see how the amplifier responds. Chicago blues made the electric guitar not just a novelty, but a necessity, and for that, I'm glad!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Some of these answers are WAY too long. Here is the distilled version:

    The great Chicago blues albums are all on Chess records and the great Memphis blues albums are on Stax records. Pure and simple.

    One more thing, Memphis blues incorporates more R&B/Soul sound into their blues. By the way, War is Over is only good at cut and paste. I doubt that a single word in his answer is his own original thoughts.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The John Lennon fan above has it right.

    Also have a look into:

    Delta Blues

    Jump Blues

    Texas Blues

    Piedmont Blues

    Country Blues

    and several other sub genres that I am sure you can dig up!

  • 1 decade ago

    Yeah John Lennon!!! You man you got two kinds a blues, the delta blues and the city blues the deltas slower and has a heavy underlined bass alternating with the lead melody and your city blues has elements of Jazz and Gospel and tends ta focus on the lead progression which will usually include some brass instruments

  • 1 decade ago

    Also listen to some ***** blues and hollers. They're work and prison songs sung on rock lines etc. They're closer to spirituals than some of the other blues mentioned here.

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