know they have power over their lives and aren’t willing to sit back and let their partner have all the fun. Fun is an important aspect of country music. Artists like Sheb Wooley and Ray Stevens created comedic songs that gave listeners a chance to laugh and forget about their daily hardships. Country music isn’t all about the suffering and hardship in life that many think it is. It is about life as a whole, and this always includes moments of fun and laughter. “Songwriting is fragile and yet through it all, it’s the most important step in music,” Garth Brooks once commented on the importance of lyrics to country music. “If we don’t have songwriters, there’s not going to be a music business.” Simple Melodies One of the first things listeners notice about a country music tune is how simple the melodies are. Most songs are based on three basic chords , G-C-D or G-D-A. There are variations in the order of the chords and there are others in some of the music but these are the two that are most prevalent. The tempo changes from slow and bluesy to upbeat dance music, but the chords remain the same. This similarity developed mainly due to the instruments available when country music first began being played. The simple string instruments that were available in Appalachia during the early twentieth century—particularly the American fiddle and banjo—didn’t allow for complicated combinations. This didn’t matter much, however, as the performers focus more on the lyrics. Modern songwriters continue to draw on these simple medleys. They have worked for years, so why change a good thing? Originally, country music was performed by musicians with American fiddles, banjos, guitars, and harmonicas. These instruments were readily available and traveled easily. In fact, poor Americans in rural areas could make simple instruments



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