Have you been interested in Bluegrass music and decided to get some Bluegrass guitar lessons? Perhaps you would also like to learn a little of the history of Bluegrass music.
It is probably no surprise to know that Bluegrass came from the American south and in the Appalachian mountains. Here due to the geography of the region the music developed unaffected by outside influences. The early settlers from Scotland and Ireland had brought with them their musical traditions and instruments. These mixed with the local folk music to start a style.
In the early 20th century life opened up more and African American influences such as Jazz and the Blues painted their influence over this mountain music. Country music, Ragtime, Gospel and Folk music added to the pot to develop to become the Bluegrass we know today.
The name Bluegrass was only applied to this Folk music from the 1950s and was actually the name of a band. Bill Munro from Kentucky, the Bluegrass State needed a name for his accompanying band and he called them “The Bluegrass Boys” They were very popular and toured widely.
In Bluegrass style each instrument plays the melody and does some improvisation around it while the other instruments provide accompaniment. The traditional Bluegrass instruments are predominantly stringed – mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass and the acoustic guitar. Vocals are optional. When there are vocals is it common for them to be two to four part harmonies. The unique aspect is that usually the highest voice is in a dissonant manner. This gives rise to the descriptive term “high lonesome sound”
The acoustic guitar did not come to the forefront until the 1960s when it was made popular by a number of Bluegrass musicians. In particular Doc Watson was very popular with audiences of the time and created a craze for flat pick guitar.
All musical styles naturally evolve and the latest innovation to emerge in Bluegrass circle is called Newgrass. This is where musicians allow their other interests like Hip-Hop meld with their Bluegrass roots, and so a sub-style is born.
The history of Bluegrass is modern but it is based on a lot of tradition. People have enjoyed it for nearly 100 years in its pure form and it doesn’t look like that popularity will wane in the near future. Choosing to be part by taking Bluegrass guitar lessons is just one way to be part of the story that is Bluegrass.