Billy's Blues

In: Film and Music

Submitted By tj12brad
Words 1778
Pages 8
What I Hear When I Listen to Billie Holiday’s “Billie’s Blues”

Tyler Brady
Intro to Music: Term Paper
Dr. Burns

In the 19th century, a very prominent genre and musical form emerged from the Deep South of America; often defined as a repetitive and poetic music structure derived from jazz, blues music became an influential role in the astounding American identity. On the basis of originality and artistry, Billie Holiday is noted as one of the most influential jazz and blues singers. Throughout a dark life of poverty, drugs and adversity that arose from sexism and racism, Billie Holiday turned to her passion of music and singing. One of “Lady Day’s” most well-known pieces was recorded in 1936 and was titled “Billie’s Blues” This piece is structured as a 12-bar blues piece with a short introduction and six choruses. Throughout this blues song, there is a repetitive and invigorating harmonic pattern present. “Billie’s Blue’s” reflects a very laid back style through Holiday’s signature “lazy” style using many jazz embellishments such as blue notes; moreover, these melodies sung by Billie Holiday, as well as the two improvised solos performed by Bunny Berigan and Arty Shaw, are extremely artistic and original. In despite of a poverty stricken life filled with drug abuse and adversity, Billie Holiday was able to establish herself as a prominent blues and jazz singer; she was able to display this in “Billie’s Blues,” a 12-bar blues piece, with exceptional use of harmony and melody. Before Billie Holiday took on her stage name, the blues sensation was born as Eleanora Fagan in Baltimore, Maryland where she spent most of her young life. Holiday’s family was so poverty stricken, Billie cared for her great-grandmother being both her nurse and housekeeper. According to the book Giants of Jazz by Studs Terkel, “The family was too poor to afford doctors or…...

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