By: Rick Martin
If you enjoy being accompanied throughout your life by melodious sounds, you might want to consider giving bluegrass music a try. You can listen to bluegrass music in the morning when you wake up, hear a few bluegrass music tones when you have your breakfast, lend an ear to bluegrass music from your car’s radio while driving to work, at your work place and finally when you go to sleep later at night. You should especially give bluegrass music a chance whenever you feel you can make a change in your mood improving it through music therapy.
Bluegrass music is thought to be a variety of American roots music with origins from Irish, English and Scottish traditional music. This genre’s name, bluegrass to be more exact, is derived from the name of Bill Monroe's band, the Blue Grass Boys. Bluegrass music illustrates perfectly the American idea of a melting pot.
The diverse influences from all around the US have made bluegrass one of the country’s representative music types, being much appreciated especially in Europe. Animated by the traditional music of the British Isles, particularly by the one brought overseas by the Scottish-Irish immigrants of Appalachia, bluegrass has blues and jazz music as its base.
Bluegrass music is influenced by jazz and it revolves around improvised solos while the other band players revert to backing. That’s not the case with old-school music, which resorts to a homogenous melody lines played by all instruments at the same moment.
Different from all the generally accepted country music, bluegrass depends (in most cases) on acoustic stringed instruments. The most popular bluegrass instruments are the acoustic guitar, the mandolin, the banjo and let’s not forget the fiddle. Bluegrass music sometimes uses the resonator guitar as well because it has a deep impact on the listeners.
There are many disagreements on what a genuine bluegrass band should have as instrumentation and this issue is generated by the fact that the background details of the bluegrass fans who are debating are different. Some are simple listeners, while others have a more refined taste and desire to listen to certain bluegrass instruments.
Because the original bluegrass term comes from Bill Monroe’s band, many fans think that bluegrass music players should use only the instruments which were used by the Blue Grass Boys. These instruments were the mandolin (played by Monroe himself), the guitar, the fiddle, the banjo and the upright bass. Although to some this sounds pretty good, it isn’t a plausible idea for the 21st century when music borders are crossed easily and usually with success.
Bluegrass music isn’t an exception and it has suffered changes and influences of all types. The results are considered great by some less conservative fans. However there are still others who need to be pleased and because “bluegrass music can’t sing a different tune!”, bluegrass bands have adopted the old and added a wide variety of non-bluegrass instruments also, like accordions, harmonicas, pianos, drums or electric guitar which are generally acknowledged in the bluegrass community.
When discussing bluegrass music, we shouldn’t leave out the bluegrass vocals that offer the listener the distinguishing hue of this type of music. Bluegrass music has backing vocals composed of two, three or four parts, frequently with emotional or faithful themes. The bluegrass vocal approach has been labeled as the "high lonesome sound" making bluegrass music a high-pitched rhythm.
Going back to the bluegrass origins, one can realize that bluegrass music was created during the 1940s. Recording bluegrass music was limited around this period because of the World War II rationing. Since then, bluegrass has changed under the improvements of three generations of players and it is very difficult to say which one is the best.
Nowadays, there are international bluegrass contests and festivals proving this music’s congeniality. In fact bluegrass music has celebrated its 60th anniversary and a lot of successful representations for the loving fans.