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The humanities through the arts

The humanities through the arts. One of my favorite musical artists is blues legend, Albert King. (Martin & Jacobus, 2019). Albert checks all the boxes for me with his fantastic guitar playing, unique voice, and singing style. Albert, The King of Blues Guitar, lived from 1923 to 1992, during which time he created masterpieces like “Born Under A Bad Sign” and “I’ll Play The Blues For You” (Albert King, n.d.). He was a self-taught, left-handed guitarist that never received the commercial success he deserved (Albert King, n.d.).

According to Arlov (2019), the blues genre takes its name from the blue notes found in its scale, not necessarily the emotional association with sadness or despair. Within these blue notes, Albert King made use of dynamics and contrast. Dynamics is the loudness and softness found in the music (Arlov, 2019). He used dynamics by transitioning between loud and soft tones throughout his songs. These changes in tone are a form of contrast (Arlov, 2019). King’s music is considered consonant, which means that his note selections are pleasant to hear (Arlov, 2019). If I were to attempt an Albert King guitar solo, the result would assuredly be dissonant or unpleasant to hear (Arlov, 2019).

Albert King’s music, to my untrained ear, seems to have a more modern flair than his contemporaries. Although I am no expert, I listen to a lot of blues using the Pandora music app. I hear a soulful funk and rock-like quality in his music that other bluesmen of the day did not seem to possess. That may not be how you like your blues, but it is how I like mine.


Albert King. (n.d.). In Mississippi Blues Trail. http://msbluestrail.org/blues-trail-markers/albert-king

Martin, F. D., & Jacobus, L. A. (2019). The humanities through the arts (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

The humanities through the arts

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