Music Research Paper about The Origins of Country Music

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Music Research Paper: The Origins of Country Music

Music plays a great role in our lives as it evokes feelings and emotions that make life brighter. Our musical tastes can change and will depend on our character traits, situations, moods, or be effected by a certain event. Country is a unique musical style. It is a synthesis of cowboy and Anglo-Celtic ballads, Irish motifs, folklore, and blues. In addition to the basic instruments, musicians use harmonicas, mandolins, flutes, percussion, and keyboard instruments. These instruments help to achieve an original sound and create a special emotional coloring that creates truly unforgettable feelings of joy, fun, calmness, soulfulness, or romance.

Country Music: How It All Begun


Country music has a plain melody, which allows the infinitive number of combinations of the similar themes. It is about traditions of the Old-time Southeastern America, which became the base for the modern country music styles. The first thing which comes to minds when talking about the country music is a movie about a cowboy. However, the birth of this style was accompanied by another condition.

In fact, the history of the country music started in Nashville in a next way: “One Saturday night in 1927, DeFord Bailey stepped up to the microphone during a country music radio show in Nashville, put a harmonica to his lips and began imitating the sounds of rushing locomotives” (Glanton). However, Atlanta also has a right to be called a birthplace of the country music, because of the main elements of that time – radio, record studio, live touring, songwriting and song publishing – which gave the life to the commercial country music, were concentrated in Atlanta (Peterson).

Historical Overview

DeFord Bailey was the first Afro American to start “The Grand Ole Opry,” the show of symphonic music, and he received recognition as a show’s biggest talent and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame (Glanton). In fact, black people helped a lot in the creation of the country music and still have fun clubs today. The fiddle was the leading musical instrument for the dancing music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and a fiddle played by a black person in a tavern for white people and on the plantation for slaves was great entertainment.

Country music is one of the first styles of music in modern America. It took its development in the South-East of the United States and represented a hybrid of British folk music, Afro-American blues and church music. The commonly used instruments were acoustic guitar, autoharp, mandolin, fiddle and banjo (Errey).

The distinguishing feature of country music from the other genres is that here the music is appropriate to the lyrics. The meaningful storytelling is the same important as the music cover. Moreover, people will love the song in which the story reminds them their own experience.

The topic which one can hear in nearly each country song is the meaning of home, which can be real or imaginative (Culture and GmbH). Now it refers to be a symbol of traditional “domestic paradise” which does not really exist anymore in a fast-pacing life of progressive America. In the centre of attention, there is always the beauty of nature, rural area and warm family surrounding, in contrary to the imperfections of always hurrying modern urban life.

Main Themes

Country music is always a nostalgy for the earlier life which was harder, but more simple. The main idea is the idealization of home, as a place for raising children and building a family without poverty, violence and divorce (Culture and GmbH). The songs describe the life on the farms, the agrarian area where ideal home can be created, which represent the whole nation.

However, such a traditional music did not become traditional in the very beginning. It appeared in the 1920s and rose to the national level in the late twenties- early thirties. Hillbilly, how the country music was called, was firstly accepted by rural and newly urban whites in the South and Midwest (“Country Music As An American Culture”). Later, at the end of the thirties, this music changed from the local to national level.

The early country was similar to the folk tales. The live concerts and songs with the instrumental music differed between the regions and were telling about the history and culture of the specific geographical locations. This specific made this genre a very personal type of music.

In the 1930s the most popular movies in Hollywood were Westerns. The actors who wanted to get the reward should show up in the role of a “kindly singing cowboy” (“The Evolution Of Country Music”), which created the romantic vision of the wild west in the imagination of Americans for a long time. At this historical period, the country music was closely tied to cinematography. Famous country genre songs were usually ballads telling their own stories about the cowboy heroes.

In the 1940s, when rock’n’roll came to the popularity, country music had to adapt to the faster rhythms to be able to compete in the commercial society, and the new country style is known as “Honky Tonk” appeared. Unfortunately, as a result, it did not resist the competition with rock-n-roll, and this style of music became less popular than previous country genre. Nevertheless, the impressive detail was that a lot of rock-n-roll artists of the future generations took inspiration from the country music.

In the 1950s the genre was reinvented in the idea of uniqueness instead of competition with modern genres. In the 1960s the musicians came to conclusions that the country music genre is too commercialized. That provoked the trials to bring back more feelings, humanity and passion to the country style (“The Evolution Of Country Music”).

New Styles of Country Music

After the 1960s more new styles of country music were created, like outlaw country, country rock, folk rock, country pop. Country music has changed a lot since the beginning date, but it is not going to go away quickly. It is something that is going to continue and become more and more popular. Now the country is more rock based, and the themes changed for parties, summer sunshine and broken hearts or hopeless love (Barletta). Country music is around one hundred years old now, and it came through evolution from the slow ballads to the mix of new styles, where you can not recognize country anymore.


Country music is one of the first styles of music in modern America, development in the South-East of the United States on the mix of British folk music, Afro-American blues and church music. The melody was plain and commonly used instruments were acoustic guitar, autoharp, mandolin, fiddle and banjo. The first thing coming to mind when talking about the country music is a movie about a cowboy. However, the first country music was created and further supported by Afro-Americans and became famous in the western movies ten years later. Trying to stay competitive in the music market, country music was transformed in many new country styles in its history, which sometimes hardly remind the original country music. Nevertheless, country music is very promising nowadays, and it is believed to remain its popularity in the future.

Works Cited

Barletta, Natalie. “WHAT IS COUNTRY MUSIC TODAY?.” Southern News 2014. Web. 4 Jan. 2018.
“Country Music As An American Culture.” N.p., 2018. Web. 3 Jan. 2018.
Culture, Country, and GRIN GmbH. “GRIN – Country Music As Reflection On The American Culture.” N.p., 2005. Web. 3 Jan. 2018.
Errey, Matt. “History Of Country Music | English Club.” N.p., 2018. Web. 3 Jan. 2018.
Glanton, Dahleen. “African-Americans In The Rural South Helped Create The Genre, But The Industry Has Failed To Recognize Their Contributions.” Chicago Tribune (1998): n. pag. Web. 3 Jan. 2018.
“The Evolution Of Country Music.” The Grizzly Rose. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Jan. 2018.
Peterson, Richard A. “Peterson, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Origins Of Country Music.” Web. 3 Jan. 2018.

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