Analysis of the Mood, Social Themes, and Formal Elements of Crazy Blues

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The song Crazy Blues by Mamie Smith did not only made a significant impact as the first recording of an African-American song but was also influential in revolutionizing the music pop. This essay is an analysis of the mood, social themes, and formal elements of the musical genre. The prevailing mood in the song is a sad and mournful in nature with the singer starting the song by indicating that she cannot sleep because the man she loves doesn’t care for her.  The mournful state of the song is further illustrated in the fact that one of the lines indicate that sometimes she sighs and cries. The social themes reflected in the song include personal misfortune, unhappy love, and some elements of social or racial injustice. Unhappy love and personal misfortune is depicted in the song in the sense that the man that the singer loves is leaving and that her best friend has said her last goodbye (Sayre 77). While there is no evidence of social injustice of any form, the song portrays racial hatred as the lyrics reveal abhorrence of the white police. Racial violence is manifested in the second last verse in which the singer fantasizes that she may get herself high on opium and get shoot a police. The formal elements of the blues include the use of the standard chord of progression to establish a distinct melody of the genre. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on blue notes in which the singer sings at different pitch rather than standard by changing between a quartertone and a semitone.


Works Cited

Sayre, Henry M. Humanities: Culture, Continuity and Change, The. Vol. 2. Pearson Higher Ed, 2014.

October 05, 2023

Music Sociology

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