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Bluegrass music

Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music with its own roots in the Irish traditional music and Scottish traditional music of immigrants from the British Isles (particularly the Scots-Irish immigrants of Appalachia),as well as the music of African-American slaves. It was this tradition that A.P. Carter used and collected for the songs played and written by the Carter Family. Bluegrass songs are played with each melody instrument switching off playing the melody each time through, while the others revert to backup; this is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together, when indeed they are playing together rather than solo.

The bluegrass style was invented in the first half of the 20th century by mandolinist Bill Monroe and named for his band, the Blue Grass Boys, formed 1939. Monroe's 1945-48 band, which featured banjo player Earl Scruggs, singer/guitarist Lester Flatt, fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Cedric Rainwater, created the definitive sound and instrumental configuration that remains the model to this day. Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass continues to rely on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar or folk guitar, mandolin, and upright bass are sometimes joined by the dobro(also known as a resophonic guitar), and a bass guitar is occasionally substituted for the upright bass.

Besides instrumentation, the distinguishing characteristics of bluegrass include vocal harmonies featuring two, three, or four parts, often featuring a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice; an emphasis on traditional songs, often with sentimental or religious themes; and improvised instrumental solos.

Notable artists:

The following are/were also notable bluegrass artists, despite being better known for their contributions to other musical genres: Movies about bluegrass or featuring bluegrass themes: