20 April 2011
Appalachian Mountain Music
Many listeners who are not familiar with Country or Bluegrass music may have trouble in differentiating the two types of music. While Country and Bluegrass share a common lineage, there are several differences set them apart.
During the 40’s and 50’s Bluegrass music was a big influence in society. It combined traditional folk ballads, gospel songs, and string band music to create a style characterized by instrumental intelligence, and high-pitched vocals. Its history, instruments, and influences are what make Bluegrass one of the most distinctive American forms of music. Bluegrass music is the old time Country music, which has been influenced by Scottish-Irish, British, the blues, Negro spirituals, and gospel music as well. It had its start on the rural south and came about in the 1940’s after World War II. It was a mixture of hillbilly, folk and various types of Country that were popular with the farm families and blue-collar workers. Country music’s origin dates back to the early 1920s. It infuses archaic ballads and folk music created by White Americans as well as forms of African-American music.
Some of the differences between the two are Country music relies greatly on acoustic and electric guitar instrumentation. Bluegrass, in contrast, makes more use of banjos, fiddles, and mandolins. Despite the differences in Bluegrass and Country music, Bluegrass artists routinely cross into the country genre. Bluegrass music developed from traditional folk songs brought over by immigrants from the British Isles and evolved in isolation in the Appalachian Mountains. Traditionally, the music was only played on acoustic stringed instruments. Country music evolved from a wide range of sources, including western swing, blues, and traditional folk music from a diverse range of cultures. The instruments they used and their sources are also very diverse. The instruments...