Music genre: Bluegrass

Music concept

Sub-genre of country music. Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English traditional influences, & later by jazz. Crassly called "banjo music". Self-titled "Hillbilly Music"


The first video game about Music genre: Bluegrass was released in 1995.

Team17 Digital, sausagejohnson and Nintendo has published most of these games

Bluegrass is a modern music genre.

The term "Hillbilly Music" is actually not considered an insult. The term was used by an early band, "The Blue Grass Boys band" to describe there music. They also invented the term "Blue Grass" in 1939. Though properly, "Hillbilly Music" is a much broader term including styles other than Bluegrass. "Banjo Music" is an insult, though most people don't take it too seriously.

Originally classified as folk music, then hillbilly music, today it is considered a non-mainstream sub-genre of country/western music. It is sometimes thought of as old-time music (olde-time, the "e" in "olde" is silent but the "e" in "time" is pronounced like the e in email). However, old-time music is only vaguely comparable while tending to have a shared fan base. The style has its definitive origin between 1930-45 (like old-time). But did not come to be widely recognized until the 1950s and not officially used in studios or radio (and related media) until 1965.

The traditional instruments of Bluegrass are mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo (5-string) and bass (upright string bass. Occasionally used are other banjo types, accordion, harmonica, piano, autoharp, drums, or electric guitar. If electric versions of any instruments are used, or only some or none of the traditional 5 instruments, the style might be called "Newgrass". Steel guitar is maybe the newest Newgrass substitution. Parody performances may include a band member blowing on a moonshine jug marked with "XXX" for bass (or in rare instances, baritone harmony). Watch Hee Haw (with the knowledge that this program is based on lighthearted self-parody, even if the show creators, mostly affluent Canadians, didn't see it as such) to see other common staples of bluegrass parody. Note, much of bluegrass music you hear in videogames will be parody.

Vocal harmony is a key element of Bluegrass. So much so that instrumental Bluegrass is sometimes called something else. Note, however, most of the bluegrass music you hear in videogames will be instrumental. Vocals featuring two, three, or four parts, often with the highest voice as dissonant. Many feature "the lonesome sound" voice.

Themes are also a key element of bluegrass. Nearly always narratives of ordinary people in ordinary situations. Though there is the occasional crime committed or an innocent accused of. Loves lost, interpersonal tensions, unwanted regional changes (unwelcomed effects of 'progress' such as industrial destruction from coal mining and railroads, or even gentrification). It is sometimes associated with Appalachian activism. There is occasionally a fully Druididic style satire.

Contrasted complimentary styles.
Very often in popular entertainment and video games especially an orchestral or pastorale style will begin a musical piece then there is a transition to Bluegrass (usually introduce by a Banjo). This may be worth tagging at some point. Bluegrass might also be mixed with silly music as a duet of styles (as in Banjo-Kazooie). Duet mixing with other styles occurs also. This can sometime be in reference to the instrumental Dueling Banjos (actually titled, Feudin' Banjos) which is widely considered a Bluegrass piece despite clearly not fitting the definition.

Parent group

Music Genre: Country/Western


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