Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Appalachian Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nathaniel Olson

Committee Members

Lee Bidgood, Roy Andrade


“Mash” is a term used to describe one of the most recent major style shifts in the iconic American string band music known as bluegrass. Beginning in the 1990s, the bluegrass sound began to evolve, and ‘mash’ worked its way into the genre as a descriptor of a certain sound. Though a handful of scholars have discussed the social stigmas of the style, no one yet has investigated the simple musical question about mash: what is it?

The purpose of this thesis is to define mash in its musical form through a combination of transcription methods and extensive analysis. Through this research, a recurring set of musical phenomena is identified in the repertoire, related to rhythms, melody, and modality. This study shows the relationship between the downbeat and this music, and identifies and articulates the musical characteristics that define mash as a unique style of bluegrass.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.