The Anglo-American Ensemble (ETHNMUS 91 and 161Z, section 3), also known as the Bluegrass and Old-Time String Ensemble, or the L.A. BlueGrass Hoppers, or the Blue Grasshoppers, performs traditional music of America, with a focus on American folk music and bluegrass.
Bluegrass is a genre of music that is relatively young but has roots in very old traditional music cultures. Bluegrass is an Anglo-American music which was created in the first half of the 20th century and can be traced back to older genres of Celtic, English and Scottish, African-American, and country music.
Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass relies mostly on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and upright bass are sometimes joined by the resonator guitar (popularly known by the Dobro© brand name).
Besides instrumentation, a distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts, often featuring a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice. This vocal style has been characterized as the "high lonesome sound." This sound can be credited to Shape-Note music where a high-pitched harmony, that can generally be characterized as having a nasal timbre, is sung over the main melody. There is also an emphasis on traditional songs, often with sentimental or religious themes.
Students wishing to participate in this ensemble should already play one of the instruments used in old-time and bluegrass music, or have some experience singing in old-time, southern hymn, or bluegrass styles. Students should be prepared to bring their own instruments to the evening sessions, as the department does not have these instruments in its collection.
Director: Timothy Taylor
Instructor: Scott Linford
For information on the history of this ensemble, go to Ensemble History: Anglo-American Ensemble