Bluegrass Music

Essay by WhoppersmasherHigh School, 11th gradeA, January 2014

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Matthew Murphy

Mr. Stapp

1st Period Junior English

14 April 2013

So, what exactly is "Bluegrass" music? The American Heritage online dictionary definition reads, "Bluegrass Music: A type of folk music that originated in the southern United States, typically played on banjos and guitars and characterized by rapid tempos and jazz like improvisation." The Colombia online encyclopedia refers the reader to a listing on "Country and Western" music before offering this slightly less vague description: "Bluegrass, exemplified by Bill Monroe, is a style of country and western music distinguished by a driving, syncopated rhythm, high-pitched vocals, and an emphasis on the banjo, mandolin, and fiddle. Both of these definitions are technically correct, but they fall far short of communicating the depth and complexity of the music and its associated sub-culture.

O Brother Where Art Thou tells the story of a road movie, with a trio of ex-cons who wend their way around the state of Mississippi during the Great Depression.

Ulysses Everett McGill is on a journey of sorts. Along the way he meets all manner of "monsters" and "sirens", and, in the end, he finds the treasure that was prophesied to be his. Ulysses is an escaped convict from a Mississippi prison. Since he couldn't get out on his own, he was forced to bring two of his fellows with him - the less-than-brilliant Delmar O'Donnell and the sour, appropriately named Pete Hogwallop Together, these three are on the way to retrieve Ulysses' stash of $1.2 million in ill-gotten gains. But their path to the money isn't an easy one. In addition to being pursued by the authorities, they encounter a variety of unsavory characters who are interested in robbing them, turning them in, or both. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, after recording a song as the "Soggy Bottom Boys",