Jim Shumate And The Development Of Bluegrass Fiddling

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Natalya Weinstein Miller (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Sandra Ballard

Abstract: Born and raised on Chestnut Mountain in Wilkes County, North Carolina, James “Jim” Shumate (1921-2013) was a stylistic co-creator of bluegrass fiddling, synthesizing a variety of existing styles into the developing genre during his time performing with some of the top names in bluegrass during the 1940s, including Bill Monroe in 1945 and Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs in 1948. While the "big bang" of bluegrass is considered to be in 1946, many elements of the bluegrass fiddle style were present in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys prior to 1945. Jim Shumate’s innovative playing demonstrated characteristics of this emerging style, such as sliding double-stops (fingering notes on two strings at once) and syncopated, bluesy runs. Jim Shumate’s story also opens the door to looking more closely at the multicultural roots of Southern fiddling. There were many diverse types of music in the mountains prior to the radio and recording era of the 1920s including traveling medicine shows, tent revivals, religious music, and dance music played on fiddle, banjo and percussion instruments. African American musical styles of the twentieth century such ragtime, blues, jazz and swing contributed greatly to the development of bluegrass fiddling.

Additional Information

Weinstein Miller, N. (2018). "Jim Shumate And The Development Of Bluegrass Fiddling." Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
bluegrass, Jim Shumate, bluegrass fiddling, Bill Monroe, Southern fiddling

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