country music

country music, American popular music form originating in the Southern and Western United States. Country music is directly descended from the folk songs, ballads, and popular songs of the English, Scottish, and Irish settlers of the U.S. southeastern seaboard. It also absorbed the influence of African-American music, particularly blues and gospel music. During the mid-19th century, new forms of entertainment including blackface minstrelsy added to the mixture that would become country music. Traditional instruments included banjo, fiddle, and guitar.

See B. C. Malone, Country Music USA (1968; 50th ann. ed., 2018, with T. Laird); P. Hemphill, The Nashville Sound (1971); C. Brown, Music USA: America's Country and Western Music (1985); K. Sparkman, A People and Their Music (2000); R. Carlin, Country Music (2006), Country Music: A Very Short Introduction (2019); D. Jannings, Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death, and Country Music (2008); P. Kingsbury et al., The Encyclopedia of Country Music (2012); J. R. Neal, Country Music: A Cultural and Stylistic History (2nd ed., 2018); D. Duncan and K. Burns, Country Music: An Illustrated History (2019); T. Russell, Rural Rhythm: The Story of Old-Time Country Music in 78 Records (2021).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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