节奏布鲁斯（英语：Rhythm and Blues，简称：R&B或RnB，台湾、港澳、马新作节奏蓝调 ），又称节奏怨曲。是一种首先非裔美国人艺术家所演奏，并融合了爵士乐、福音音乐和布鲁斯音乐的音乐形式。这个音乐术语由是美国告示牌（Billboard）于1940年代末所提出。
这个术语最初在1947年的美国被公告牌杂志的Jerry Wexler创造为一个音乐的市场营销术语，取代了种族音乐（英语：Race Music，又译黑人音乐；最初来源于黑人社群，但是被战后的社会认为是会令人很不愉快的词语）而Billboard在1949年将其分类为Harlem 畅销排行榜。这个词最初被用于定义包含了12种布鲁斯格式和一种带有节拍背景爵士乐的摇滚音乐，后来这种音乐转变成了一种摇滚乐的基本元素。
在《Rock & Roll: An Unruly History》（1995）中 Robert Palmer 把节奏布鲁斯定义为那些约定俗成、用来意指任何一种美国黑人创造的音乐。在他1981年出版的《Deep Blues》中， Palmer 用“R&B”作为跳跃布鲁斯的缩写。
Lawrence Cohn是《Nothing But the Blues》的作者，写到节奏布鲁斯是一个宣传人员为了产业便利所发明的, 除了古典音乐和宗教音乐，节奏布鲁斯包括了所有的黑人音乐，除了那是一首福音歌并且其销售足以打入流行榜。
在 1960年代，节奏布鲁斯被用于总括灵魂乐和放克音乐的术语。而现在R&B的缩写差不多一直被用于代替全写“节奏布鲁斯”，而主流则用它来表示由迪斯科逐步变得不那么流行而发展出来的Contemporary R&B──一种现代灵魂乐和受放克音乐影响的流行音乐。
Evolving out of jump blues in the late '40s, R&B laid the groundwork for rock & roll. R&B kept the tempo and the drive of jump blues, but its instrumentation was sparer and the emphasis was on the song, not improvisation. It was blues chord changes played with an insistent backbeat. During the '50s, R&B was dominated by vocalists like Ray Charles and Ruth Brown, as well as vocal groups like the Drifters and the Coasters. Eventually, R&B metamorphosed into soul, which was funkier and looser than the pile-driving rhythms of R&B. Soul came to describe a number of R&B-based music styles. From the bouncy, catchy acts at Motown to the horn-driven, gritty soul of Stax/Volt, there was an immense amount of diversity within soul. During the first part of the '60s, soul music remained close to its R&B roots. However, musicians pushed the music in different directions; usually, different regions of America produced different kinds of soul. In urban centers like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, the music concentrated on vocal interplay and smooth productions. In Detroit, Motown concentrated on creating a pop-oriented sound that was informed equally by gospel, R&B, and rock & roll. In the South, the music became harder and tougher, relying on syncopated rhythms, raw vocals, and blaring horns. All of these styles formed soul, which ruled the black music charts throughout the '60s and also frequently crossed over into the pop charts. During the '60s and '70s, soul began to splinter apart -- artists like James Brown and Sly Stone developed funk; Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff initiated Philly soul with the O'Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes; and later in the decade, danceable R&B became a mass phenomenon with the brief disco fad. During the '80s and '90s, the polished, less earthy sound of urban and quiet storm ruled the airwaves, but even then, R&B began adding stylistic components of hip-hop until -- by the end of the millennium -- there were hundreds of artists who featured both rapping and singing on their records.
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