3

I'm diving into North American folklore music of the 20th century, and two of the staples are the Bluegrass and Country genres / styles.

They seem to be intimately connected though, so: How are they different? How are they related?

5

Bluegrass is a sub-genre of Country Music with characteristics that differentiate it from mainstream Country:

  • The instrumentation is purely 'string band' based: Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle and Upright Bass. There is more emphasis on an 'acoustic' sound.
  • The music is more free and the structures are more complex. Elements of other styles like Jazz or Blues are incorporated, there are more improvised instrumental solos.
  • The voices are mostly arranged in three part harmony (sometimes two or four) with a distinctive sound in the high voice, sometimes called the "high lonesome sound".
  • Some people say Bluegrass has more of a 'hillbilly' style, a label disliked by Bluegrass musicians.
  • There are distinctive playing styles on the various instruments: flatpicking on the guitar, three-finger picking on the banjo, a characteristic fiddle sound with thirds and fifths.

Here are some examples of the style

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.