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Country Part 1 Notes

by: Bridget Dixon

Country Part 1 Notes MUSI 3583 503

Bridget Dixon
OK State
GPA 3.9

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About this Document

These notes cover Quiz 1 of the Country Music chapter.
World Traditional Music
Kunzel, Stephen N
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bridget Dixon on Sunday April 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MUSI 3583 503 at Oklahoma State University taught by Kunzel, Stephen N in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see World Traditional Music in Music at Oklahoma State University.


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Date Created: 04/24/16
Country Music Traditions in America Thought to be white, but is actually very diverse Defining country music is complicated. Country has so many flavors and varieties, so many styles and stars. Traditional country takes us back to the Carter Family and their twangy mountain repertoire of old world and American folk songs, ballads, and gospel music. Country blues reminds us of Jimmie Rodgers, his blue yodels, and the African- American and minstrel show performers who influenced and taught him. Western swing gives us the dance music of Bob Wills with roots in the jazz age of the 1930s. Jazz rhythms and harmonies can actually be found in western swing, country blues, and blue grass. Bluegrass lights up audiences with Bill Monroe´s and Flatt and Scruggs´ virtuosio mandolin, fiddle, and banjo tunes. Rockabilly country gives us Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. The smooth Nashville sound of Chet Atkins reminds us of the glory days of Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and others from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Country rock brings us the Byrds, the Band, Gram Parsons, and Bob Dylan. Hard country twang reminds us of Loretta Lynn, The Louvin Brothers, and George Jones. Honky-tonk music gives us Hank Williams and Buck Owens. Outlaw country includes Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Pop country provides Carrie Underwood, Sarah Evans, and Keith Urban while hot country takes us to stadium concerts with Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, or Shania Twain, and alt- country and Americana music rock us with Uncle Tupelo, The Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, and The Drive-By Truckers. Are there commonalities among these musics that help define country music? Let's explore what the experts say. What is Country Music? Diverse in its audiences a common unifying theme in country music is its celebration of an egalitarian, rural America Country music has an accent, a characteristic sound, a symbolic aural quality called "twang" that often separates country music from other American popular musics. Twang can have a nasal vocal quality or an edgy sound made by a string instrument like a fiddle or a banjo. “Twang” - has only five letters and one syllable, but it contains six different sounds—t-ooh-wuh-a-ee-ng—that when spoken together slowly take on pitch. The word itself is musical. Twang´s ability to connect six diverse sounds in one syllable also provides a musical and cultural metaphor connecting it to America´s idealistic motto: e pluribus unum ("out of many, one"). But a "twangy" notion of a culturally unified sound is very different from the European notion of an exact musical unison based on medieval plain chant and regal church and court political power. A nasal, edgy, often harsh vibrating sound, "twang" represents an American unity that allows for personal and cultural variation and difference. The earthy, often unpolished, non-homogenized sound of twang keeps the music free of upscale pretensions, thumbs its nose at cultural snobs, roots the music deeply in the ground of a multi-hued, multicultural, and multi-voiced rural America, and provides a reverberant way for ordinary details of life to take on profound meanings. Sliding scale to measure an artist’s “twang” Where Does Country Music Come From? 3 decades ago – still known as country-western This brand was born in the 1930s and 40s when the southwestern, Hispanic-influenced music of popular western films featured singing cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Connected with earlier country music Cater Family – British ballads of the Appalachia mountains Jimmy Rogers – moderately twangy blues The 19 Century Crucible 1920s rural southerners they performed in a folksy nasal singing style often accompanied by string instruments like fiddles, guitars, banjos, and mandolins; think of the Soggy Mountain Boys in the film O Brother Where Art Thou. From these 19th century musics came the 20th century urban entertainments of vaudeville, ragtime, and burlesque shows, but they also led to rural traveling medicine shows, honky-tonk blues performances, and other rustic entertainments found in the rural South. The Great Divide Marketers in the North decided to split southern music by race to increase sales "Hillbilly" music was the label used for white music, and "race" music became the term for black music. In the 1920s, 30s, and beyond, radio broadcasts like the country music stage concert Grand Ole Opry (broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee) took over the mass music markets and transmitted to everyone without discrimination. Black and white music remained assessable to all


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