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Two of the first published blues songs, "Dallas Blues" (1912) and "Saint Louis Blues" (1914), were 12-bar blues with the AAB lyric structure. The lines are often sung following a pattern closer to rhythmic talk than to a melody.Early blues frequently took the form of a loose narrative.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.African-American singers voiced his or her "personal woes in a world of harsh reality: a lost love, the cruelty of police officers, oppression at the hands of white folk, [and] hard times".This melancholy has led to the suggestion of an Igbo origin for blues because of the reputation the Igbo had throughout plantations in the Americas for their melancholic music and outlook on life when they were enslaved.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 14 December 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.
Blues as a genre is also characterized by its lyrics, bass lines, and instrumentation.
and musical form originated by African Americans in the Deep South of the United States around the end of the 19th century.
The genre developed from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues rock developed, which blended blues styles with rock music.
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.