According to the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, what
musical genre was named for the color of tobacco leaves?
Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.
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According to the CBC's
Definitely Not The Opera, the musical-genre
name blue grass was coined by Bill Monroe to
reflect the color of tobacco leaves.
However, According to the Online
Etymological Dictionary, the term was coined as an allusion to the
Bluegrass Boys, a country music band of the
1940s and 1950s, whose name derives from the blue grass found in
[Mootguy: Is the grass really blue or is it just a Kentucky state of
DNTO ain't exactly a biblical font of wisdom, at
least when it comes to bluegrass. I forwarded this question to a friend, who is
also a bluegrass enthusiast.
replied, in part:
"I personally asked
Monroe where the name "bluegrass" came from during an interview in Louisville,
Kentucky.. He said that when he named his band "The Bluegrass Boys" in 1939, it
came from his home state, Kentucky, aka "the bluegrass state," bluegrass being
a type of grass that is everywhere down there. I believe Monroe put it thus:
"It came from the state of Kentucky."
Monroe never smoked, he'd never have named it after tobacco.
Following the success of the Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys after they
joined the Opry in 39, and after Flatt and Scruggs joined at the end of WW2,
"bluegrass" came into use as a generic name for that type of music.
The bluegrass music as we know it
today didn't come together until Flatt and Scruggs joined, Bill's 39-45 stuff
is more hillbilly/country/old time. (I realize this is a fine distinction for
most folks, but those of us who know, know.) Hard to pinpoint the exact date of
the generic usage of "bluegrass music," but researchers generally put it about
the early 50s. That's when it started showing up on posters and ads for various
acts beyond Bill.
is, orthographically, one word.
I didn't think the new folks on DNTO would have
such esoteric interests. As the question came from CBC, shouldn't it be "the
colour of tobacco leaves?"? Should it be "what musical genre" or "which musical
genre" or doesn't it matter?
I think the CBC is nuts. Kentucky Blue grass is
real, and although not extremely blue, has a blueish cast. See
The grass's stems are blue-green. It
has nothing to do with tobacco. The Canadians missed on that one.
I think somebody at the CBC is smoking
and it ain't tobacco.
Not that this is all that important, but Bluegrass music came
from Kentucky. Kentucky Blue Grass is a horticultural variety of grass found in
Kentucky (and elsewhere). The name for the music was coined from Bill Monroe's
band, "The Bluegrass Boys," because they were from Kentucky. Some classical
music specialist at CBC may have gotten the facts wrong.
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