Country music is a special genre that includes a variety of instruments. Modern day country music often utilizes the same band instruments as any other music genre–drums, guitar, bass and piano. The more traditional genre of country music includes instruments such as the banjo, fiddle, string bass, and even the accordion. These instruments were used in the early days of bluegrass and folk music.
The banjo is one of the earliest instruments in the history of country music. A stringed instrument slightly resembling a guitar that is primarily plucked, not strummed, it has been used for centuries in folk and bluegrass music. Historically, the banjo was introduced to American culture by slaves brought over from West Africa. Prior to that, the earliest models of the banjo originated in the Middle East. Visually, the banjo is easy to identify, with a round base and a long stem typically hosting four strings.
One of the most versatile country music instruments is the fiddle. The fiddle and violin are one and the same instrument, but the way the instrument is played in country music is so drastically different from the classical performance of the violin that it earned an entirely different name. Fiddling in the country music genre often includes adding generous slides to notes, plucking and playing two strings at one time. It is often featured as the solo or leading instrument in a bluegrass band.
One instrument associated mostly with country music is the harmonica. This tiny instrument is played by blowing into a series of chambers constructed with reeds. These reeds vibrate as the musician inhales and exhales, creating a twangy, high-pitched sound. The harmonica was invented in the 1820s and is popular for its ease and pocket size. It was one of the first instruments recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, which is now the capital of country music recording in the United States.