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What’s The Difference Between Bluegrass and Country Music?

Musical genres are often deceiving to foreign listeners but never to the natives. Though Bluegrass and Country music have been found similar to each other, they are vaguely different across thin lines. If you have heard both but never got around to differentiate them, let’s explore how they are actually different.

Musical genres

Instruments used

One of the biggest indicators depicting a vague difference in different musical genres is the instruments used, which is one major difference these both also have.

  • Bluegrass music uses manual instruments like acoustic guitars, acoustic bass guitars, fiddle, mandolin for plucking sound, banjo for sustaining notes, and loud resonating guitars.
  • On the other hand, Country music depends on electric and high-pitched instruments like electric bass guitars, pedal steel guitars, and drums.

Thus, the next time you visit a concert to get to hear a song, you can probably guess its type by the sound of the instruments themselves!

Musical specifications

The choice of instruments differentiates and elucidates the possible difference between the type and specifications of the music’s pitch, frequency, and notes. Along with the difference in musical notes, the Bluegrass instruments are mostly stringed, offering a similar tone, whereas the Country music is a mix of many, having some in the foreground and the rest for background or chorus.

Even though they are performing in a band, Bluegrass singers have solo performances to highlight instrumental solo pieces, whereas it isn’t common practice in Country music songs.

The setting of the songs

Country music might generally have pop music with dancing zeal revolving around a story or the main plot. The songs sung in a collective group have chorus parts and try to portray a theoretical scene. In contrast, the Bluegrass music is somewhat blue and depicts the retro setting without a pop song’s zeal. One can say it rather resembles the jazz culture with traditional acoustics. The singers don’t have a collective structure and instead focus on highlighting the instruments separately.

Evolution of the genre

Historically, Country music evolved around the 1920s with a twang and electric effect. The songs, as discussed, have ringing metallic music, whereas the Bluegrass type had low and comparatively traditional acoustics. Bluegrass came up around the 1940s, quite later, after Country music became popularised. But due to the earlier discussed sharp differences, it got an easy recognition as a subset.

To amaze you more, the Bluegrass singers often dress up in folk clothes, whereas the Country Singers have a trendy look with hats, boots, and chequered shirts.

Bluegrass and Country


Though many listeners often claim Bluegrass and Country American music are quite similar, they have many fine differences perceptible only by the keen listeners. To sum up, the instruments used are different, which ultimately changes the musical pitch and chords, which portray varied musical sets and backgrounds.

Even more, these genres have regional differences, which also bring about a change in their lyrical and musical formation. Thus, country music being old may be prevalent around the region, but Bluegrass music, which emerged later as its subset, is still broadly different from it.



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