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Word Count: 876
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 musics 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 rockpop 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 1930s 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
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