Country Music History Presented By The Country Music Planet!
Country music history including the origin, beginnings, grand ole opry, singing cowboys, and much more. Learn about country music in the good ole days

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Origin / Beginnings / Grand Ole Opry / Singing Cowboy

      Welcome to Country Music Planet's History of Country Music! The Country Music Planet is the most extensive and most visited web site on Planet Earth dedicated to independent country music entertainers, and we are extremely pleased to be able to guide the visitors to our site back in time to give them a glimpse of the history of country music.

In 1998 the United States Congress passed a resolution recognizing Bristol, Tennessee, as the "Birthplace of County Music" Click here for the rest of the story..

Some that have made a lasting mark on the history of country music.

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Origin Of Country Music

   When some people hear talk of country music, they think only of singers of sad songs with stereotypically twangy accents. These misconceptions did impede country music's growth at its birth, but the stereotype did not prevent it from becoming one of the most popular music forms of the 20th century. In fact, country music is one of the best-selling genres after rock/pop. This site will take you from country music's origins in the late 19th century through all the changes and sub-genres that have developed over the past 100 years or so.
   To better understand country music, it is helpful to understand the most commonly used musical instruments in the genre. The fiddle (or violin) was the most common instrument since it was easy and inexpensive to make and not a major burden to carry around. At first it was the sole lead instrument, but later it became popular to add more accompanying instruments. The banjo, brought to the American South by slaves, became popular in the mid-1800s. The guitar did not come into the picture until the early 1900s when they became mass-produced and affordable for the everyday person. At first, the guitar was only a rhythm instrument, but picking styles later became popular. Contemporary country music often uses the electric guitar, which became popular in the '50s. Other stringed instruments include the dobro, the dulcimer, the steel guitar, the mandolin, the zither, bass guitar and the autoharp. In other types of country music you might hear the accordion (since the 1920s), the harmonica, the piano (beginning in the 1930's with the rise of Western swing), washboards (as rhythm instruments) or drums (not popular until the 1960s).
   Country music has its beginnings in music styles brought over by the first European settlers. In medieval times, storytelling was a tradition that allowed history to be recorded when few were able to read and write. When the first British settlers came to America, they brought this tradition with them, along with songs they had learned in Europe. The people who settled in the Appalachian mountains and the West did not have an easy life and their music gave them an outlet to express their hardships.
   While country music began with the ballads and songs of the British Isles, it changed in content and personality as it grew in America. The British songs were objective, often relating gruesome stories matter-of-factly. They had many themes of the supernatural, avenging spirits, loves found and lost, and violent happenings. In America, the songs became very subjective and personal, downplayed the supernatural, and, in songs of crimes, emphasized the evil acts while minimizing the gore. When the songs had to do with love gone bad, the Americanized ballad removed the violence and vulgarity altogether. The change may have been due to the rise of the Victorian Age, but it might also have been because it suited the philosophy of the Southern lifestyle better. Another characteristic of the Americanized ballad is the addition of moral statements at the ends of songs. This was in reaction to the Puritan belief that art must be functional or else it is frivolous. Ballads were often written to convey current events, but in America these ballads became more journalistic than the British ones. They became a fairly accurate way for the more isolated town-folk to hear about happenings in the rest of the world.

Origin / Beginnings / Grand Ole Opry / Singing Cowboy




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