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All American Music Essay

1152 words - 5 pages

What could be said to be more American than apple pie, more American than baseball? Well baseball and apple pie are certainly the first things that come to mind when asked what you think of when you think of America but what if I asked what would be an all-American music. I believe the first thing that should come to mind would be bluegrass music. Bluegrass music; mainly played with acoustic and stringed musical instruments and vocal harmonies has a few variances and cultural roots from other countries, but remains as American as apple pie.
Although bluegrass got its beginning in the United States its roots are long stretching to other countries and cultures that brought their music preference to the beginnings of America. Early settlers to America including those from Ireland, Scotland, England, and even Africa composed music and occupied their time playing new songs about their day to day lives. These songs often reflected life on farms and homesteads for the new settlers. Regularly bluegrass music was played by these settlers in the hills of southern United States; this is where bluegrass music got its first designation, “mountain music” or “country music”. Because of bluegrass’s diminutive outreach it wasn’t until an important invention changed the popularity of this vital music for so many people. “The invention of the phonograph and the onset of the radio in the early 1900s brought this old-time music out of the rural Southern mountains to people all over the United States.” (IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association))
Although no one person can claim to have invented bluegrass music its humble beginnings can be traced to one band that took advantage of the popular new phonograph. This band called “Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys” Bill Monroe who is frequently referred to as the founding father of bluegrass. In 1939 Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1939 and shortly after became one of the most popular bands in the nation. “Bill's new band was different from other traditional country music bands of the time because of its hard driving energy, utilizing traditional acoustic instruments and featuring highly distinctive vocal harmonies.” (IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association)) This new music that Bill Monroe was bringing to the crowds merged songs and rhythms from old time string band, gospel, country, blues and jazz. The bluegrass boys’ vocal choices comprised of duet, trio and quartet harmony singing, in addition to Bill's powerful solo lead singing. Bill experimented with many instruments to give his band the sound that he was looking for. After deliberation he decided the sound he wanted included the mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bass, giving his band its distinctive sound. Not only did Bill Monroe’s band bring bluegrass music to the masses, his band also included many names that would be imperative to the genre. The Bluegrass Boys were formed in 1939 the...

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