Country music.


Good morning students!

No matter where you are from, no matter what your native language is, you have experience with music. Music has the special ability to bring people together and sometimes to drive them apart, but there is more to music than just feel good emotions.
Music is a chance for individuals to understand one another more and respect the values that others hold.

In this WebQuest we will be talking about one of the most special genre of music: country. We will try to find out why country music seems so popular in the USA, in which places it is the most known and who are the most popular singers and groups.

But let's start from the beginning and let's watch short video about origins of the country music.

Listen carefully and try to search certain pieces of the information:
-What is the place that people naturally think of then they hear about country music?
-Where is an actual birthplace of a country music?
-When the first country sessions took place?
-How old is the country music?
-How is titled the very first country song?
-What is the tradition that Rita Forrester talks about?



1) Work in pairs.To get you all in the right mood already, you can play this nice melody quietly in the background.
(Soundtrack from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?")
Read the text and try to answer the questions:
-Who made country music so popular?
-Where is country music the most popular, except the USA?
-Do you agree or disagree with the last two sentences of Malcolm Minchin? Discuss with your partner.

"Is American country music popular anywhere besides the United States?

I’m gonna be a naysayer. Country music is not really popular elsewhere.
Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash. They and others (mostly the old guard) have had hits around the world. But that doesn’t mean Country Music was popular. It means they were.
Look at Garth Brooks. One of the worlds biggest selling acts. 170 Million! Except…. 148 million of those were in the USA. So technically, one of the worlds best selling artists. If you look at his discography he consistently has had top ten singles and albums. On the USA Country and Canada Country charts. Barely bothered charts in the rest of the world.
Very few places outside of the USA have separate Country Music charts. There’s a few places where it’s a scene, but it’s a niche. Lots of people like stuff like old country, bluegrass, alt country etc. I’m one of them. There’s not much to be said for the international penetration of Bro’ Country or Corporate Country. Especially if they’re waving certain flags. And singing about how great the USA is. It’s kind of ignorant and exclusionary.
Florida Georgia Line. Biggest selling country act of recent years. Biggest selling single, Cruise, nearly 8 million copies sold. Number One. In USA. in Canada. Got to number 75 in the UK. Their 2019 tour is going to go to Australia. And that’s the only country outside the USA or Canada. There may be a few festivals and one off events for country music, but there there’s no big tours. If the market was there, if it were popular, then the biggest bands would be touring the world. They don’t.

So American country music is appreciated and liked by people over the world. It’s just not that popular amongst the majority."
Malcolm Minchin


The Instruments

"The hillbilly music, which was originally located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, has developed into present-day country music by the adoption of other music genres and the influence of the persistent urbanization of the former rural America. According to Reebee Garofalo, scholar at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the two mainly used instruments in the hillbilly music before the 1920s were the fiddle and the banjo. (Garofalo 53) While the fiddle was brought to America by European immigrants, the banjo originated from the African culture. Later on, with the beginning of the twenties, the influence of other styles, such as jazz or blues, increased and also the musical variety broadened. Besides the classical instruments, “the influence of German and Swiss yodelers, Italian mandolin players, and Hawaiian string bands” marked the beginning of the “evolvement into a commercial enterprise” of country music. (Malone 1997 45) Moreover, instruments as the accordion, the piano and the mouth organ enriched the musical diversity and the first immigrants were even using the autoharp and the steel guitar, which are generetic only for this genre. (Wikipedia “Country Muisc”) In recent years, “drums, horns and the electric guitar” have increasingly gained importance as used instruments which scholar Rachel Rubin assumes to be “distinctly urban.” (Rubin 98) This variety of influences has ensured that this traditional music consists of all elements which are also represented by the people who settled there. Malone explaines that by “absorbing influences from other musical sources, country music eventually emerged as a force strong enough to survive, and even thrive, in an urban-industrial society” (Malone 1985 1) into which America had already turned at the beginning of the 20th century.:"

Over the years the country music evolved and created its own magical atmosphere in many interesting ways includoing use of various instruments.
Listen to these songs and make a list of used instruments.
Discuss with you partnerthe most unusual elements used to play music.




Summarise all the interesting facts you have learned during the lesson. Think about and try to list as many important aspects as possible that are meaningful in country music. How much are they different from other music genres? Discuss.

Teacher Page

Topic: Why country music is so popular in the USA?
Which place/town in the best known for this kinds of music?
Who are the most popular country singers/groups?

Tasks consist of written text and videos that contain elements of country music and a short document.
All tasks have specific questions to be answered. Tasks are mostly based on analysing, reading, writing and listening skills. Additionally the is considered aspect containing skill of cultural awarnes. Students are able to justify their arguments and choices but also able to explore new topic without any pressure, since they can work in pairs or even in groups.
Tasks are dedicated for students on intermediate level at age 14-17.