Ten Things you Need to Know About Bluegrass Music
If you love the mountains and also love music than there is a good chance that you love Bluegrass music. If you haven't yet discovered bluegrass music you are in for a treat this week as we share ten things everyone should know about this wonderful type of music. The mountains in and around Asheville are home to many great bands and plenty of them are bluegrass bands. Asheville is a mecca for live music and once we can have crowds again Asheville will be one of the first to have a toe tapping good time. Until then, enjoy these ten fun facts about bluegrass music.
1.The roots of Bluegrass
Bluegrass music can be traced back to the 1940s, beginning in the United States of America in the Appalachian region. Although this style of music began in the United States, it still owes its roots to the United Kingdom, mostly English, Scottish, and Irish dance tunes. It also got some of its inspiration from the traditional African-American jazz and blues. The style of music was later on developed by the guys who played with Monroe in his band.
2.What makes it unique
Bluegrass usually fingers acoustic stringed instruments and puts more emphasis on the off-beat timing. With blues music, the notes usually fall behind the beat. However, unlike blues music, the notes in bluegrass music are anticipated.
3. It isn't boring
A lot of folks have a misconception that bluegrass is "old people's music" and that it is boring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are loads of contemporaty bands like Munford Sons who are bringing bluegrass to a wider and younger audience. Here is another great band named Nickel Creek who have an interesting take on bluegrass music. Asheville is a great place to discover what is new in Bluegrass scene.
4. Isn't it just country music
This is an easy mistake to make, but Bluegrass has a very consistent sound centered around string instrument. The sound is characterized by quick plucking of the strings in tones that are high-pitched. Country music on the other hand has a variety of instruments, many electric and more emphasis on the drums.
5. Why is it called Bluegrass?
The term “bluegrass” comes from the name of one of the original bands, sorta. Bluegrass music was popularized by the Monroe brothers; Charlie & Bill. When Bill broke off to form his own band, he named it “Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys.” He named it that because he was a native of Kentucky, also known as the Bluegrass State. (Credit: Crafthouse Cinema)
6. The classic Bluegrass sound
The classic bluegrass sound that many of us are familiar with is widely attributed to Bill Monroe who was a popular artist of the 1940s. He was joined by Lester Flatt the inventor of the five string banjo. It was there sound that we have come to know as Bluegrass. Click the video for a listen.
7. Elvis was influenced
Even the "King of Rock and Roll" was influenced by Bluegrass music. One particularly interesting piece was Elvis' played Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" in an upbeat and decidedly rock and roll style that only Elivis could play.
8.Unique vocal styles
Apart from specific instrumentation, a distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts, often with a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice. This is often achieved in what is called a "stack" with a baritone being the bottom of the stack.
9.Music of the people
Most Bluegrass lyrics are accounts of themes related to people's lives. The music has a unique way to telling the stories about people, places and events that are most often associated with the mountains and Appalachia.
10. Live music
Asheville is home to several live music venues, street performers and festivals. There is almost always some Bluegrass music being played somewhere in the city or local area, making Asheville a Bluegrass fan's heaven. Don't believe us? Come vis us and find out all about our vibrant music scene.
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