William Smith Monroe was an American mandolinist and songwriter, who helped to create the style of music known as bluegrass. Because of this, he is referred to as the "Father of Bluegrass"; the genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for Monroe's home state of Kentucky. Monroe's performing career spanned 69 years as a singer, instrumentalist and bandleader. Monroe was born on his family's farm near Rosine, the youngest of eight children of James Buchanan "Buck" and Malissa Monroe, his mother and her brother, Pendleton "Pen" Vandiver, were both musically talented, Monroe and his family grew up playing and singing at home. Bill was of Scottish heritage; because his older brothers Birch and Charlie played the fiddle and guitar, Bill Monroe was resigned to playing the less desirable mandolin. He recalled that his brothers insisted he should remove four of the mandolin's eight strings so he would not play too loudly. Monroe's mother died; as his brothers and sisters had moved away, after bouncing among uncles and aunts, Monroe settled in with his disabled uncle Pendleton Vandiver accompanying him when Vandiver played the fiddle at dances.
This experience inspired one of Monroe's most famous compositions, "Uncle Pen", recorded in 1950, the 1972 album Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen. On that album, Monroe recorded a number of traditional fiddle tunes he had heard performed by Vandiver. Uncle Pen has been credited with giving Monroe "a repertoire of tunes that sank into Bill's aurally trained memory and a sense of rhythm that seeped into his bones." Significant in Monroe's musical life was Arnold Shultz, an influential fiddler and guitarist who introduced Monroe to the blues. In 1929, Monroe moved to Indiana to work at an oil refinery with his brothers Birch and Charlie, childhood friend and guitarist William "Old Hickory" Hardin. Together with a friend Larry Moore, they formed the "Monroe Brothers", to play at local dances and house parties. Birch Monroe and Larry Moore soon left the group, Bill and Charlie carried on as a duo winning spots performing live on radio stations— first in Indiana and sponsored by Texas Crystals, on several radio broadcasts in Iowa, South Carolina and North Carolina from 1934 to 1936.
RCA Victor signed the Monroe Brothers to a recording contract in 1936. They scored an immediate hit single with the gospel song "What Would You Give in Exchange For Your Soul?" and recorded 60 tracks for Victor's Bluebird label between 1936 and 1938. After the Monroe Brothers disbanded in 1938, Bill Monroe formed The Kentuckians in Little Rock, but the group only lasted for three months. Monroe left Little Rock for Atlanta, Georgia, to form the first edition of the Blue Grass Boys with singer/guitarist Cleo Davis, fiddler Art Wooten, bassist Amos Garren. Bill had wanted "Old Hickory" to become one of the original members of his "Blue Grass Boys", however William Hardin had to decline. In October 1939, Monroe auditioned for a regular spot on the Grand Ole Opry, impressing Opry founder George D. Hay with his energetic performance of Jimmie Rodgers's "Mule Skinner Blues". Monroe recorded that song, along with seven others, at his first solo recording session for RCA Victor in 1940. While the fast tempos and instrumental virtuosity characteristic of bluegrass music are apparent on these early tracks, Monroe was still experimenting with the sound of his group.
He sang lead vocals on his Victor recordings preferring to contribute high tenor harmonies as he had in the Monroe Brothers. A 1945 session for Columbia Records featured an accordion, soon dropped from the band. Most while Monroe added banjo player David "'Stringbean" Akeman to the Blue Grass Boys in 1942, Akeman played the instrument in a primitive style and was featured in instrumental solos. Monroe's pre-1946 recordings represent a transitional style between the string-band tradition from which he came and the musical innovation to follow. Key developments occurred in Monroe's music with the addition of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs to the Blue Grass Boys in December 1945. Flatt played a solid rhythm guitar style. Scruggs played the banjo with a distinctive three-finger picking style that caused a sensation among Opry audiences. Flatt and Scruggs joined a accomplished group that included fiddler Howdy Forrester and bassist Joe Forrester and would soon include fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Howard Watts, who performed under the name "Cedric Rainwater".
In retrospect, this lineup of the Blue Grass Boys has been dubbed the "Original Bluegrass Band", as the music included all the elements that characterize bluegrass music, including breakneck tempos, sophisticated vocal harmony arrangements, impressive instrumental proficiency demonstrated in solos or "breaks" on the mandolin and fiddle. By this point, Monroe had acquired the 1923 Gibson F5 model "Lloyd Loar" mandolin which became his trademark instrument for the remainder of his career; the 28 songs recorded by this version of the Blue Grass Boys for Columbia Records in 1946 and 1947 soon became classics of the genre, including "Toy Heart", "Blue Grass Breakdown", "Molly and Tenbrooks", "Wicked Path of Sin", "My Rose of Old Kentucky", "Little Cabin Home on the Hill", Monroe's most famous song "Blue Moon of Kentucky". The last-named was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1954, appearing as the B-side of his first single for Sun Records. M
Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dancing and buck dancing, it is played on acoustic instruments centering on a combination of fiddle and plucked string instruments, as well as the mandolin. Reflecting the cultures that settled North America, the roots of old-time music are in the traditional musics of the British Isles, Europe. African influences include the banjo. In some regions French and German sources are prominent. While many dance tunes and ballads can be traced to European sources, many others are of North American origin. Old-time music represents the oldest form of North American traditional music other than Native American music, thus the term "old-time" is an appropriate one; as a label, however, it dates back only to 1923. Fiddlin' John Carson made some of the first commercial recordings of traditional American country music for the Okeh label; the recordings became hits. Okeh, which had coined the terms "hillbilly music" to describe Appalachian and Southern fiddle-based and religious music and "race recording" to describe the music of African American recording artists, began using "old-time music" as a term to describe the music made by artists of Carson's style.
The term thus originated as a euphemism, but proved a suitable replacement for other terms that were considered disparaging by many inhabitants of these regions. It remains the term preferred by listeners of the music, it is sometimes referred to as "old-timey" or "mountain music" by long-time practitioners. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries tunes originating in minstrel, Tin Pan Alley and other music styles were adapted into the old-time style. While similar music was played in all regions of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, in the 20th century it came to be associated with the Appalachian region. Important revivalists include Mike Seeger and Pete Seeger, who brought the music to New York City as early as the 1940s; the New Lost City Ramblers in particular took the revival across the country and featured older musicians in their show. The band was Mike Seeger, John Cohen, Tom Paley; when Tom left the band, he was replaced by Tracy Schwarz. New Lost City Ramblers sparked new interest in old-timey music.
Old-time music is played using a wide variety of stringed instruments. The instrumentation of an old-time group is determined by what instruments are available, as well as by tradition; the most common instruments are acoustic string instruments. The fiddle was nearly always the leading melodic instrument, in many instances dances were accompanied only by a single fiddler, who also acted as dance caller. By the early 19th century, the banjo had become an essential partner to the fiddle in the southern United States; the banjo a fretless instrument and made from a gourd, played the same melody as the fiddle, while providing a rhythmic accompaniment incorporating a high drone provided by the instrument's short "drone string." The banjo used in old-time music is a 5-string model with an open back. Today old-time banjo players most utilize the clawhammer style, but there were several other styles, most of which are still in use, loosely grouped by region; the major styles were clawhammer, two-finger index lead, two-finger thumb lead, a three-finger "fiddle style" that seems to have been influenced in part by late-19th century urban classical style.
Some players prefer to use a pick when playing melodies on tenor banjo. Young players might learn whatever style a parent or older sibling favored, or take inspiration from phonograph records, traveling performers and migrant workers, local guitarists and banjo players, as well as other musicians they met when traveling to neighboring areas. Having a fiddle play the lead melody with a banjo playing rhythmic accompaniment is the most basic form of Appalachian old-time music, this is the instrumentation most Appalachian old-time musicians consider to be "classic." Because playing with more fingers meant being able to put in more notes, three-finger styles intrigued many players. Individualistic three-finger styles were developed independently by such important figures as Uncle Dave Macon, Dock Boggs, Snuffy Jenkins; those early three-finger styles the technique developed by Jenkins, led to the three-finger Scruggs style created by Earl Scruggs in the 1940s, which helped advance the split between the old-time genre and the solo-centric style that became known as bluegrass.
Jenkins developed a three-finger "roll" method that, while part of the old-time tradition, inspired Scruggs to develop the smoother and more complex rolls that are now standard fare in bluegrass music. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, other stringed instruments began to be added to the fiddle-banjo duo. This, along with a Dobro, is considered to be'standard' bluegrass instrumentation, but old-time music tends to focus on sparser instrumentation and arrangements
Earl Eugene Scruggs was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called "Scruggs style,", a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the traditional way the five-string banjo had been played; this new style of playing became popular and elevated the banjo from its previous role as a background rhythm instrument to featured solo status. He popularized the instrument across several genres of music. Scruggs' career began at age 21 when he was hired to play in Bill Monroe's band, The Blue Grass Boys; the name "bluegrass" became the eponym for the entire genre of country music now known by that title. Despite considerable success with Monroe, performing on the Grand Ole Opry and recording classic hits like "Blue Moon of Kentucky," Scruggs resigned from the group in 1946 due to their exhausting touring schedule. Fellow band member Lester Flatt resigned as well, he and Scruggs paired up in a new group they called Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.
Scruggs' banjo instrumental called "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," released in 1949, became an enduring hit, had a rebirth of popularity to a younger generation when it was featured in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. The song won two Grammy Awards and, in 2005, was selected for the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit. Flatt and Scruggs brought bluegrass music into mainstream popularity in the early 1960s with their country hit, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" — the theme music for the television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies — the first Scruggs recording to reach number one on the Billboard charts. Over their 20-year association and Scruggs recorded over 50 albums and 75 singles; the duo broke up in 1969, chiefly because, where Scruggs wanted to switch styles to fit a more modern sound, Flatt was a traditionalist who opposed the change, believed doing so would alienate a fan base of bluegrass purists. Although each of them formed a new band to match their visions, neither of them regained the success they had achieved as a team.
Scruggs received four Grammy awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Medal of Arts. He became a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1985, Flatt and Scruggs were inducted together into the Country Music Hall of Fame and named, as a duo, number 24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. Scruggs was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in the United States. Four works by Scruggs have been placed in the Grammy Hall of Fame. After Scruggs' death in 2012 at age 88, the Earl Scruggs Center was founded near his birthplace in Shelby, North Carolina, with the aid of a federal grant and corporate donors; the center is a $5.5 million facility that features the musical contributions of Scruggs and serves as an educational center providing classes and field trips for students. Earl Scruggs was born January 6, 1924, in the Flint Hill community of Cleveland County, North Carolina, a small community just outside of Boiling Springs, about 10 miles west of Shelby.
His father, George Elam Scruggs, was a farmer and a bookkeeper who died of a protracted illness when Earl was four years old. Upon his death, Scruggs' mother, Georgia Lula Rupee, was left to take care of the farm and five children, of which Earl was the youngest; the family members all played music. Mr. Scruggs had played an open back banjo using the frailing technique, though as an adult Earl had no recollection of his father's playing. Mrs. Scruggs played the pump organ. Earl's siblings, older brothers Junie and Horace, older sisters Eula Mae and Ruby, all played banjo and guitar. Scruggs recalled a visit to his uncle's home at age six to hear a blind banjo player named Mack Woolbright, who played a finger-picking style and had recorded for Columbia Records, it made an impression on Scruggs, who said, "He'd sit in the rocking chair, he'd pick some and it was just amazing. I couldn't imagine — he was the first, what I call a good banjo player." Scruggs took up the instrument — he was too small to hold it at first and improvised by setting his brother Junie's banjo beside him on the floor.
He moved it around depending on. After his father's death, Scruggs seemed to take solace in playing music, when not in school or doing farm chores, spent nearly every spare moment he had practicing, his first radio performance was at age 11 on a talent scout show. Scruggs is noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo-picking style now called "Scruggs style" that has become a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. Prior to Scruggs, most banjo players used the frailing or clawhammer technique, which consists of holding the fingers bent like a claw and moving the entire hand in a downward motion so that the strings are struck with the back of the middle fingernail; this motion is followed by striking the thumb on a single string. The three-finger style of playing is radically different from frailing. Scruggs style involves using picks on three digits, each plucking individual strings — downward with the thumb upward with the index and middle finger in sequence; when done skillfully and in rapid sequence, the style allows any digit to play a melody, while the other two digits play arpeggios of the melody line.
The use of picks gives each note a louder percussive attack, creating an exciting effect, described by The New Yor
The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts and music performances that depicted people of African descent; the shows were performed by white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people. There were some African-American performers and all-black minstrel groups that formed and toured under the direction of white people. Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted, buffoonish and happy-go-lucky. Minstrel shows emerged as brief burlesques and comic entr'actes in the early 1830s in the Northeastern states, they were developed into full-fledged form in the next decade. By 1848, blackface minstrel shows were the national artform, translating formal art such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. By the turn of the 20th century, the minstrel show enjoyed but a shadow of its former popularity, having been replaced for the most part by vaudeville.
The form survived as professional entertainment until about 1910. The genre has had a lasting legacy and influence and was featured in a television series as as 1975; as the civil rights movement progressed and gained acceptance, minstrels lost popularity. The typical minstrel performance followed a three-act structure; the troupe first danced onto stage exchanged wisecracks and sang songs. The second part featured a variety of entertainments, including the pun-filled stump speech; the final act consisted of a send-up of a popular play. Minstrel songs and sketches featured several stock characters, most popularly the slave and the dandy; these were further divided into sub-archetypes such as the mammy, her counterpart the old darky, the provocative mulatto wench, the black soldier. Minstrels claimed that their songs and dances were authentically black, although the extent of the black influence remains debated. Spirituals entered the repertoire in the 1870s, marking the first undeniably black music to be used in minstrelsy.
Blackface minstrelsy was the first theatrical form, distinctly American. During the 1830s and 1840s at the height of its popularity, it was at the epicenter of the American music industry. For several decades, it provided the means. On the one hand, it had strong racist aspects. Although the minstrel shows were popular, being "consistently packed with families from all walks of life and every ethnic group", they were controversial. Integrationists decried them as falsely showing happy slaves while at the same time making fun of them. Minstrel shows were popular before slavery was abolished, sufficiently so that Frederick Douglass described blackface performers as "...the filthy scum of white society, who have stolen from us a complexion denied them by nature, in which to make money, pander to the corrupt taste of their white fellow citizens." Although white theatrical portrayals of black characters date back to as early as 1604, the minstrel show as such has origins. By the late 18th century, blackface characters began appearing on the American stage as "servant" types whose roles did little more than provide some element of comic relief.
Similar performers appeared in entr'actes in New York theaters and other venues such as taverns and circuses. As a result, the blackface "Sambo" character came to supplant the "tall-tale-telling Yankee" and "frontiersman" character-types in popularity, white actors such as Charles Mathews, George Washington Dixon, Edwin Forrest began to build reputations as blackface performers. Author Constance Rourke claimed that Forrest's impression was so good he could fool blacks when he mingled with them in the streets. Thomas Dartmouth Rice's successful song-and-dance number, "Jump Jim Crow", brought blackface performance to a new level of prominence in the early 1830s. At the height of Rice's success, The Boston Post wrote, "The two most popular characters in the world at the present are Victoria and Jim Crow." As early as the 1820s, blackface performers called themselves "Ethiopian delineators". Blackface soon found a home in the taverns of New York's less respectable precincts of Lower Broadway, the Bowery, Chatham Street.
It appeared on more respectable stages, most as an entr'acte. Upper-class houses at first limited the number of such acts they would show, but beginning in 1841, blackface performers took to the stage at the classy Park Theatre, much to the dismay of some patrons. Theater was a participatory activity, the lower classes came to dominate the playhouse, they threw things at actors or orchestras who performed unpopular material, rowdy audiences prevented the Bowery Theatre from staging high drama at all. Typical blackface acts of the period were short burlesques with mock Shakespearean titles like "Hamlet the Dainty", "Bad Breath, the Crane of Chowder", "Julius Sneezer" or "Dars-de-Money". Meanwhile, at least some whites were interested in black dance by actual black performers. Nineteenth-century New York slaves shingle danced for spare change on their days off, musicians play
Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk blues. Country music consists of ballads and dance tunes with simple forms, folk lyrics, harmonies accompanied by string instruments such as banjos and acoustic guitars, steel guitars, fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history. According to Lindsey Starnes, the term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music. In 2009 in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, second most popular in the morning commute; the term country music is used today to describe many subgenres. The origins of country music are found in the folk music of working class Americans, who blended popular songs and Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional English ballads, cowboy songs, the musical traditions of various groups of European immigrants.
Immigrants to the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America brought the music and instruments of Europe along with them for nearly 300 years. Country music was "introduced to the world as a Southern phenomenon." The U. S. Congress has formally recognized Bristol, Tennessee as the "Birthplace of Country Music", based on the historic Bristol recording sessions of 1927. Since 2014, the city has been home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Historians have noted the influence of the less-known Johnson City sessions of 1928 and 1929, the Knoxville sessions of 1929 and 1930. In addition, the Mountain City Fiddlers Convention, held in 1925, helped to inspire modern country music. Before these, pioneer settlers, in the Great Smoky Mountains region, had developed a rich musical heritage; the first generation emerged in the early 1920s, with Atlanta's music scene playing a major role in launching country's earliest recording artists. New York City record label Okeh Records began issuing hillbilly music records by Fiddlin' John Carson as early as 1923, followed by Columbia Records in 1924, RCA Victor Records in 1927 with the first famous pioneers of the genre Jimmie Rodgers and the first family of country music The Carter Family.
Many "hillbilly" musicians, such as Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs throughout the 1920s. During the second generation, radio became a popular source of entertainment, "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, as far west as California; the most important was the Grand Ole Opry, aired starting in 1925 by WSM in Nashville and continuing to the present day. During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Bob Wills was another country musician from the Lower Great Plains who had become popular as the leader of a "hot string band," and who appeared in Hollywood westerns, his mix of country and jazz, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as Western swing. Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938. Country musicians began recording boogie in 1939, shortly after it had been played at Carnegie Hall, when Johnny Barfield recorded "Boogie Woogie".
The third generation started at the end of World War II with "mountaineer" string band music known as bluegrass, which emerged when Bill Monroe, along with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were introduced by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. Gospel music remained a popular component of country music. Another type of stripped-down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, dobro or steel guitar became popular among poor whites in Texas and Oklahoma, it became known as honky tonk, had its roots in Western swing and the ranchera music of Mexico and the border states. By the early 1950s a blend of Western swing, country boogie, honky tonk was played by most country bands. Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music, with Johnny Cash emerging as one of the most popular and enduring representatives of the rockabilly genre. Beginning in the mid-1950s, reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in Nashville, Tennessee.
The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, many desired a return to the "old values" of rock n' roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as country rock. Fourth generation music included outlaw country with roots in the Bakersfield sound, country pop with roots in the countrypolitan, folk music and soft rock. Between 1972 and 1975 singer/guitarist John Denver released a se
Irish traditional music
Irish traditional music is a genre of folk music that developed in Ireland. In A History of Irish Music, W. H. Grattan Flood wrote that, in Gaelic Ireland, there were at least ten instruments in general use; these were the cruit and clairseach, the timpan, the feadan, the buinne, the guthbuinne, the bennbuabhal and corn, the cuislenna, the stoc and sturgan, the cnamha. There is evidence of the fiddle being used in the 8th century. There are several collections of Irish folk music from the 18th century, but it was not until the 19th century that ballad printers became established in Dublin. Important collectors include Colm Ó Lochlainn, George Petrie, Edward Bunting, Francis O'Neill, James Goodman and many others. Though solo performance is preferred in the folk tradition, bands or at least small ensembles have been a part of Irish music since at least the mid-19th century, although this is a point of much contention among ethnomusicologists. Irish traditional music has endured more against the forces of cinema and the mass media than the indigenous folk music of most European countries.
This was because the country was not a geographical battleground in either of the two world wars. Another potential factor was that the economy was agricultural, where oral tradition thrives. From the end of the second world war until the late fifties folk music was held in low regard. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the popularity of the Fleadh Cheoil helped lead the revival of the music; the English Folk music scene encouraged and gave self-confidence to many Irish musicians. Following the success of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in the US in 1959, Irish folk music became fashionable again; the lush sentimental style of singers such as Delia Murphy was replaced by guitar-driven male groups such as The Dubliners. Irish showbands presented a mixture of pop music and folk dance tunes, though these died out during the seventies; the international success of The Chieftains and subsequent musicians and groups has made Irish folk music a global brand. Much old-time music of the USA grew out of the music of Ireland and Scotland, as a result of cultural diffusion.
By the 1970s Irish traditional music was again influencing music in the US and further afield in Australia and Europe. It has been fused with rock and roll, punk rock and other genres. Irish dance music is isometric and is built around patterns of bar-long melodic phrases akin to call and response. A common pattern is A Phrase, B Phrase, A Phrase, Partial Resolution, A Phrase, B Phrase, A Phrase, Final Resolution, though this is not universal. Many tunes have pickup notes which lead in to the beginning of the B parts. Mazurkas and hornpipes have a swing feel. Tunes are binary in form, divided into two parts, each with four to eight bars; the parts are referred to as the A-part, B-part, so on. Each part is played twice, the entire tune is played three times. Many tunes have similar ending phrases for both B parts. Additionally, hornpipes have three quavers or quarternotes at the end of each part, followed by pickup notes to lead back to the beginning of the A part of onto the B part. Many airs have an AABA form.
While airs are played singly, dance tunes are played in medleys of 2-4 tunes called sets. Irish music is modal, using ionian, aeolian and mixolydian modes, as well as hexatonic and pentatonic versions of those scales; some tunes do feature accidentals. Singers and instrumentalists embellish melodies through ornamentation, using grace notes, cuts, crans, or slides. While uilleann pipes may use their drones and chanters to provide harmonic backup, fiddlers use double stops in their playing, due to the importance placed on the melody in Irish music, harmony is kept simple or absent. Instruments are played in strict unison, always following the leading player. True counterpoint is unknown to traditional music, although a form of improvised "countermelody" is used in the accompaniments of bouzouki and guitar players. In contrast to many kinds of western folk music, there are no set chord progressions to tunes. Many guitarists use DADGAD tuning because it offers flexibility in using these approaches, as does the GDAD tuning for bouzouki.
Like all traditional music, Irish folk music has changed slowly. Most folk songs are less than 200 years old. One measure of its age is the language used. Modern Irish songs are written in Irish. Most of the oldest songs and tunes are rural in origin and come from the older Irish language tradition. Modern songs and tunes come from cities and towns, Irish songs went from the Irish language to the English language. Unaccompanied vocals are called sean nós and are considered the ultimate expression of traditional singing; this is performed solo. Sean-nós singing is ornamented and the voice is pl
Bluegrass music is a genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s in the United States Appalachian region. The genre derives its name from the Blue Grass Boys. Bluegrass has roots in traditional English and Scottish ballads and dance tunes, by traditional African-American blues and jazz; the Blue Grass Boys played a Mountain Music style that Bill learned in Asheville, North Carolina from bands like Wade Mainer's and other popular acts on radio station WWNC. It was further developed by musicians who played with him, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe characterized the genre as: "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, it has a high lonesome sound."Bluegrass features acoustic string instruments and emphasizes the offbeat. Notes are anticipated in contrast to laid back blues where notes are behind the beat, which creates the higher energy characteristic of bluegrass. In bluegrass, as in some forms of jazz, one or more instruments each takes its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment.
This is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carries the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Breakdowns are characterized by rapid tempos and unusual instrumental dexterity and sometimes by complex chord changes. There are three major subgenres of bluegrass. Traditional bluegrass has musicians playing folk songs, tunes with traditional chord progressions, using only acoustic instruments, with an example being Bill Monroe. Progressive bluegrass groups may use electric instruments and import songs from other genres rock & roll. Examples include Cadillac Bearfoot. Another subgenre, bluegrass gospel, uses Christian lyrics, soulful three- or four-part harmony singing, sometimes the playing of instrumentals. A newer development in the bluegrass world is Neo-traditional bluegrass. Bluegrass music has attracted a diverse following worldwide. Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass is traditionally played on acoustic stringed instruments.
The fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar and upright bass are joined by the resonator guitar and harmonica or Jew's harp. This instrumentation originated in rural dance bands and is the basis on which the earliest bluegrass bands were formed; the guitar is now most played with a style referred to as flatpicking, unlike the style of early bluegrass guitarists such as Lester Flatt, who used a thumb pick and finger pick. Banjo players use the three-finger picking style made popular by banjoists such as Earl Scruggs. Fiddlers play in thirds and fifths, producing a sound, characteristic to the bluegrass style. Bassists always play pizzicato adopting the "slap-style" to accentuate the beat. A bluegrass bass line is a rhythmic alternation between the root and fifth of each chord, with occasional walking bass excursions. Instrumentation has been a continuing topic of debate. Traditional bluegrass performers believe the "correct" instrumentation is that used by Bill Monroe's band, the Blue Grass Boys. Departures from the traditional instrumentation have included dobro, harmonica, autoharp, electric guitar, electric versions of other common bluegrass instruments, resulting in what has been referred to as "newgrass."
Apart from specific instrumentation, a distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts with a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice, a style described as the "high, lonesome sound." The ordering and layering of vocal harmony is called the "stack". A standard stack has the lead in the middle and a tenor at the top. Alison Krauss and Union Station provide a good example of a different harmony stack with a baritone and tenor with a high lead, an octave above the standard melody line, sung by the female vocalist. However, by employing variants to the standard trio vocal arrangement, they were following a pattern existing since the early days of the genre; the Stanley Brothers utilized a high baritone part on several of their trios recorded for Columbia records during their time with that label. Mandolin player Pee Wee Lambert sang the high baritone above Ralph Stanley's tenor, both parts above Carter's lead vocal; this trio vocal arrangement was variously used by other groups as well.
In the 1960s Flatt and Scruggs added a fifth part to the traditional quartet parts on gospel songs, the extra part being a high baritone. The use of a high lead with the tenor and baritone below it was most famously employed by the Osborne Brothers who first employed it during their time with MGM records in the latter half of the 1950s; this vocal arrangement would be the home aspect of the Osbornes' sound with Bobby's high, clear voice at the top of the vocal stack. Bluegrass tunes can be described as narratives on the everyday lives of the people whence the music came. Aside from laments about loves lost, interpersonal tensions and unwanted changes to the region (e.g. the visible effects of moun