Roots of Bluegrass Music

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  • Topic: Folk music, Bluegrass music, Country music
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  • Published : March 8, 2012
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The Roots of Bluegrass Music
Jacqueline Allen
January 05, 2012
Jennifer Roberson



Appalachia, beautiful strains of music known as Bluegrass can be heard. Let us walk back, discover the roots, people, and the profound impact on today’s music.

I Scotland’s “Celtic” Music
A The music of Scotland
1. Q-Celtic
2. P-Celtic
B The Instruments
1. Original Instruments
2. Modern Day
C The Style and Dance
1. Instrumental
2. Folk Vocal
3. Highland Dancing
II Ireland’s Music
A The Origin
1. Irish? Actually No.
2. The Immigration
B The instruments
1. Native to Ireland
2. Imported
C The Style and Dance
1. Instrumental And Folk
2. Jigs, Reels, Polka’s

III Kentucky’s Bluegrass Music
A The Origin
1. The Immigration
2. Birth of Bluegrass
B The instruments
1. Crafting
2. Imported
C Style and Dance
1. Lyrics
2. Clogging, Waltz, Square Dance


The Roots of Bluegrass Music

The music of Scotland, referred to as Celtic Music, is a term used by artists, recording studios, music stores, and magazines to describe a larger group of musical genres that evolved out of the folk music traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. Renowned author, June Skinner Sawyers, writer of the book,” Celtic Music a Complete Guide,” acknowledges six Celtic nationalities, divided into two groups according to their linguistic heritage. The Q-Celtic nationalities are the Irish, Scottish, and Manx in which the language was Gaelic. These people were found in Ireland and off the coast on the Isle of Man. In their music there is a difference in the extended range of sometimes more than two octaves, and by the use of the pure pentatonic scale,(this scale is only five notes instead of a full range of eight) and is the Gaelic style of music. The P-Celtic groups are Cornish, Bretons, and Welsh branches known as Brythonic. In these groups the language was Cornish. In the music of the Brythonic people the closed range of the melodies are reduced to a half octave. The Instruments of the original music of Scotland were the harp (clarsach), Tusculum whistle which dates back to the 14th- 15th centuries, although one of the oldest tin whistles it is still very common in today’s recorded music of Scotland, Lyre (similar to the mandolin), Bone Flute, fiddle (also known as a (violin), the bodhran which looks like a tambourine but is a drum of sorts. Illustrated below are the instruments of Celtic Music. Celtic Lyre Bone Flute

Bagpipes Celtic Harp Tin Whistles (Variety of sizes)
Bodhran Fiddle

Modern day instruments have included the guitar, which appeared in the late 1960s and was featured prominently in the folk revival music along with Keyboards, accordion, cello, as well as percussion instruments. Vocal music is a musical tradition in Scottish music. There are ballads, and laments sung by a lone singer without backing, or played on traditional instruments including harp, fiddle, accordion, or bagpipes. There are many traditional folk songs, they are melodic, haunting, or a rousing style. Often they are very specific to the regions of the performers, and today are done by a variety of folk groups. Instrumental forms of the music are used mainly for the performance of dances. Highland dance is today used for athletic solo dancing which began in the Gaelic Highlands of Scotland. It has evolved into its current form during the 19th and 20th centuries for competitions at public events, mainly sports events, where it is most often accompanied by Highland bagpipe music. It is a highly competitive and...
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