William Christopher Handy
Handy was an American black composer and compiler of "BLUES" music. He
was born in Florence, Alabama. He was educated at the Negro Agricultural and
Mechanical College near Huntsville, Alabama. He was the son of former slaves. He
was educated in the public schools and by his father and paternal grandfather, both of
whom were clergymen. Handy was the first to bring the African- American blues to the
general publics attention with
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and folk ballads.
His own work consisted of elements of all these in addition to the popular ragtime and
the blues notes that he inserted. His work developed the conception of blues as a
harmonic framework within which it was possible to improvise.
In 1918 he moved to New York City, where he continued to work as a composer
and music arranger for film, radio, and Broadway productions. Handy died in New York
City on March 28,1958.