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Formulaic Composition in the Blues: A View from the Field

Formulaic Composition in the Blues: A View from the Field Recent publications by Robert Springer and Michael Taft have brought renewed attention to the subject of the formula in blues lyrics. This article critiques these works. Drawing insights from the author's fieldwork in the blues tradition, it agrees with Springer that a blues formula can be a half-line, whole line, or couplet unit and suggests that the blues formula should be understood, as Parry and Lord understood the oral epic formula, to be a lexical rather than semantic unit. The author offers a method of structural analysis of highly formulaic blues texts and discusses the relationships of folk blues to commercially recorded blues. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of American Folklore American Folklore Society

Formulaic Composition in the Blues: A View from the Field

Journal of American Folklore , Volume 120 (4) – Oct 18, 2007

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Publisher
American Folklore Society
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1535-1882
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent publications by Robert Springer and Michael Taft have brought renewed attention to the subject of the formula in blues lyrics. This article critiques these works. Drawing insights from the author's fieldwork in the blues tradition, it agrees with Springer that a blues formula can be a half-line, whole line, or couplet unit and suggests that the blues formula should be understood, as Parry and Lord understood the oral epic formula, to be a lexical rather than semantic unit. The author offers a method of structural analysis of highly formulaic blues texts and discusses the relationships of folk blues to commercially recorded blues.

Journal

Journal of American FolkloreAmerican Folklore Society

Published: Oct 18, 2007

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