One of the favorite music genres listened to in America is country music. With a deep love of home and the south, the history of iconic American music is not complete without country. The folk music of the south is a blend of cultures adding a variety of instruments as well as vocal styles. Here is a brief history of country music and why it is the most popular genre among Americans.
Country Music Development
Since the 17th century, Country music has blessed the ears of the American public. Although it was developed from traditional folk music introduced by immigrants from Europe, it has always surrounded aspects of American society, particularly the south. The radiowaves brought the world the first country music stars in the Roaring Twenties although the mainstream trends added new pressure to the genre with different varieties being limited to just a few traditional styles. Bluegrass and Cajun took center stage while remaining true to their origins.
The development of commercially accepted ‘Country-Pop’ has been established within the world of mainstream music, combined with newer music styles to attract the largest audience possible. Other country music genres offer an alternative approach that sees more traditional roots being developed. This style differs a lot from country-pop by adding elements of punk while also performing with the original line-up regarding instrumentation.
A Meaning of Home
When it comes to country music, something that truly separates the style from nearly every other genre of music is the balance between lyrics and music. The instrumentation is a strong part of making a good folk song, but equally is the story behind the lyrics. Storytelling is one of the greatest appeals of country music, especially when the listener finds a personal element they can relate to. One of this genre’s main subjects is the love and warmth of home, no matter if this is real or imaginary. Endless Country songs relate home to the American South, creating a talisman for tradition and old-fashioned styles progressively lost in modern America.
Many songwriters refer to the natural beauty, strong family ties, and the rural country, projecting a sense of nostalgia to the people who feel those times have been forgotten with recent urban developments of big cities. The nostalgic feeling adds to the popularity of the music for listeners due to the removal of harsh family living that can sometimes be found in the more southern states. A sense of pride and a patriotic feeling is heard a lot in country music.
The original music of the south has helped to develop the music we all know today through the adoption of other influences and genres. In later years, styles such as blues and jazz increased the musical variety once again. The beginning of commercial country music saw the introduction of further instrumentation with influences of Swiss and German yodelers, Hawaiian string bands, and Italian mandolin players. The development of instruments was heavily influenced by the first immigrants coming to America playing things like the autoharp and steel string guitar which have now become generic for this genre. In more recent years the use of electric guitars, drums, and horns has been seen much more regularly showing increasing importance.
The Origins of Country Music
During the first decades of the 20th century, Tin Pan Alley was the most popular style of music among white middle and upper-class Americans. This traditional, Hand-made music was much rawer with a far greater oral tradition than that of Tin Pan Alley, which was centered around transcripted sheet music that had been professionally composed. This is how country music has created such rich sonic content with a blend of multicultural influence.
Folk music of the South merged European and racial influences, while at the same time incorporating the musical contributions of other ethnicities and racial groups. The country music of the United States thus appears to be a musical amalgamation of immigrant groups. In addition to their instruments, European immigrants brought their own culture and heritage with them.