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In MUSIC 117 we examine various styles that fall under the rubric of “country music.” However, in order to understand how such musicians reflect their cultural identity through music, we must first attempt to understand what “country” music is. In this assignment you are to reflect broadly on the topic of country music based upon the lecture recording from Day 1. Your two-page essay must include the following information:
1) A brief summary of contrasting viewpoints on what country music is and what it is not.
2) A self-reflexive (e.g. your own opinion) examination of what constitutes country music. What identities or ethnicities does it comprise? What does it sound like? What are distinguishing characteristics that separate country music from other American musics?
Each assignment will receive up to fifteen points as follows:
(2) Punctuality __
(2) Physical form __
(5) Content __
(3) Appropriate style __
(3) Spelling, punctuation, grammar, and typing __
(15) total __
This table will be used in grading your assignment: you receive points for each requirement that you satisfy (or if you only partially satisfy it), making a possible total of fifteen points, which converts to 7.5% of your final grade. Without this table, your assignment will not be accepted! You must reproduce the above table at the top of your assignment. As with all assignments, please refer to the Assignments page for general standards and guidelines for writing.
Country music, commonly regarded as western and hillbilly music genre, or simply country, refers to a popular music genre that initially originated from the Southern United States back in early 1920s. The term western and country music was later on shortened to simply country music by the recording industry to replace hillbilly music, which was then regarded a derogatory label. To some scholars, country music refers to a genre or style of widely string-accompanied American popular music. It contains roots within the cowboy music of the west and folk music of the Southeast. To other generations, country music is typically vocalized, and entirely presented in a simple harmony and form. It is typified by both melancholy and romantic ballads. Usually, it is accompanied by electric guitar, violin, acoustic guitar or the banjo. Currently, country music is used to describe wide range of styles as well as subgenres.
The origins of this music genre include folk music of the Americans within the working class category because it blends easily with Irish and Celtic fiddle tunes, popular songs, cowboy songs or tunes, traditional English ballads as well as various musical traditions originating from European based immigrants.
Basing on a self-reflexive examination of what country music constitutes, I consider the music as a one-size-fits-all category that is known to embrace different musical genres like the bluegrass, fiddle-based music, Nashville as well as a fast mandolin. The musical genres entail several variables that are generally tied to religion, class and most importantly, human race. For the case of country music, it is tied to the white race because majority of the artists and audience are predominantly white.
The genre contains a historical and mythical connection to the rural Southern white culture. Additionally, the Southern white culture is a segment of country music that has established a set of traits that collectively make up a typical country singer. All these characteristics are ultimately incorporated to a single image of a white male southerner. The music sounds like a blend of Southern US musical with roots that are deeply set in Celtic tunes, gospel music, folk music and blues. However, many blacks have come out to challenge the racial notion by incorporating their efforts within this genre with the goal of proving that country music does not in any way discriminate against any given race.
Country music consists of specific distinguishing characteristics that separates it from other American music. Often, country music is made up of dance tunes and ballads with simple forms, harmonies and folk lyrics that are mostly accompanied by string instruments like steel guitars, fiddles, banjos, electric guitars as well as the harmonicas. The genre also employs the use of blues modes which have been extensively recorded in the history of its development. It displays a faster paced sound with a constant rhythm that quickly works its way in recording the American charts.
In conclusion, country music has a wide range of contrasting viewpoints on what it actually is and what it is not. Generally, from a self-reflexive point of view, country music is a blend of several musical genres. It comprises of the white ethnic group. The musical genre further has specific distinguishing characteristics that separates it from the rest of other American music.