Date of Graduation
College of Creative Arts
School of Music
Though primarily associated with white Southerners, bluegrass music is actually the product of over three hundred years of black and white musical interaction that occurred in the American Southeast. This document begins by reviewing the first complete definition of bluegrass music written by Mayne Smith. It then proceeds to explore the history of cross cultural exchanges in the South, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains, that began when the first slaves were brought to the New World. In the South, these interactions created the folk music that would eventually develop into country music and later bluegrass in the twentieth century. Black musical styles also directly influenced the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe, especially through his contact with the blues musician Arnold Shultz. The banjo playing of Earl Scruggs, an essential element of bluegrass, also owes a significant debt to African-American banjo styles found in Scruggs's native region of North Carolina.
Perryman, Charles W., "Africa, Appalachia, and acculturation: The history of bluegrass music" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 298.