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A History 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 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 This site will take you from country musics 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 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
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