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Where did bluegrass music originate?

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yaokhalek | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:02 AM via web

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Where did bluegrass music originate?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 22, 2012 at 1:19 AM (Answer #1)

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Bluegrass as a separate type of music originated in the Appalachin Mountains of the United States. The area was settled largely by immigrants from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany, all of whom brought the music they knew from their original homes with them.

Bluegrass music is dominated by acoustic stringed instruments. Acoustic guitar, five-string banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and upright/string bass are mosst frequently used, often with harmonica added for contrast. With many of the traditional tunes are based on jigs, reels, and other dances, harmonizations are straightforward and melodies are easy to recognize. Bluegrass musicians often take turns playing the melody or improvisations based on it while the others accompany the soloist; this is called a "breakdown."

The outstanding characteristic of vocal bluegrass music 

is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts, often with a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice (see modal frame), a style described as the "high, lonesome sound."

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