Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Blues Terminology: Barrelhouse



According to Mojohand's Glossary of the blues

A colloquial term, originating around the late 1800s, used specifically to refer to a bar that served liquor (especially whiskey) straight from the barrel, but more widely understood to mean any rough and rowdy drinking establishment. "Barrelhouse piano" is a distinct style that arose out of such establishments and is characterized by the highly percussive and loud style that was necessary to encourage dancing in such venues.


According to Wikipedia Barrelhouse can refer to:

  • A bar or saloon. Originates from the storage of barrels of alcohol.

  • An early form of jazz with wild, improvised piano, and an accented two-beat rhythm (see boogie-woogie).

  • A style of piano-playing associated with the above.

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