Music seems to be a natural part of the Blue Ridge region ? practically inseparable from those who call the mountains their home. For as long as Europeans have populated the Southern Highlands, they have enjoyed the music that is so much a part of their heritage. A stop at any Parkway developed area may bring an encounter with the music that is preserved and enjoyed here.
This music was brought to the mountains with the early settlers but in many cases, became uniquely American, with a blended style resulting from varied influences. The Appalachian music of the early nineteenth century was dominated by the fiddle and banjo. Many English, Irish and Germans brought fiddles with them as they settled the mountains. Fiddle tunes sometimes imitated the sound of Scottish bagpipes or, at other times, the jigs, reels, hornpipes, or old European ballads. The other primary instrument, the banjo, has roots in the African culture. The ?marriage? of these two instruments across the new American culture was the ensemble from which many musical forms trace their roots. Visitors can hear traditional fiddle music or more modern styles at a multitude of Parkway locations throughout the summer.
The Blue Ridge Music Center (Milepost 213) serves as a central place to tell the rich story of mountain music and help perpetuate its role in the culture of the region for generations to come.