History And Definition Of Folk Music In English

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History And Definition Of Folk Music In English

History –

  • Folk music is a musical genre that includes traditional folk music and contemporary styles that developed from the East during the folk revival of the 20th century.
  • Some types of folk music can be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: music transmitted orally, music about cultural or national identity, music that changes between generations (folk process), music associated with a people, folklore, or long-standing practice. Music by.
  • It is contrasted with the commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond this.
  • From the middle of the 20th century, a new form of popular folk music developed from traditional folk music. This process and period is called the (Second) Folk Revival and reached its peak in the 1960s.
  • This form of music is sometimes called contemporary folk music or folk revival music to distinguish it from earlier folk forms. Smaller, similar revivals have occurred elsewhere in the world at other times, but folk music The term is not usually applied to new music created during those revivals.


  • The terms folk music, folk song and folk dance are relatively recent expressions. They are extensions of the term folklore, which was coined in 1846 by the English antiquarian William Thomas to describe “the traditions, customs and superstitions of the uncultured classes”.
  • The term is further derived from the German expression Volk, meaning “the people as a whole” as applied to popular and national music half a century earlier by Johann Gottfried Herder and the German Romantics.
  • Lloyd rejected it in favor of a simple distinction of economic class, yet for him, in the words of Charles Seeger, true folk music was “belonging to the lower class” in culturally and socially stratified societies.
  • In these words, folk music can be seen as “part of a scheme containing four musical types: ‘primitive’ or ‘tribal’; ‘elite’ or ‘art’; ‘folk’; and ‘popular’.”
  • This style of music is often referred to as traditional music. Although the term is usually only descriptive, in some cases people use it as the name of a genre.


Historically, traditional folk music had the following characteristics:

  • It was transmitted through an oral tradition. Before the 20th century, the common people were generally illiterate; He achieved the songs by memorizing them. Primarily, it was not mediated by books or recorded or broadcast media.
  • They recount historical and personal events. On certain days of the year, special songs celebrate the annual cycle, including holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and May Day.
  • Birthdays, weddings and funerals may also be noted with song, dance and special costumes. Religious festivals often have a component of folk music.
  • Choral music at these events brings children and non-professional singers to participate in a public sphere, providing an emotional bond that is not related to the aesthetic qualities of the music.
  • Songs have been performed, customarily, over a long period of time, usually over several generations.


  • In folk music, a tune is a short instrumental piece, a melody, often consisting of repeated sections, and usually played several times.
  • A collection of tunes with structural similarity is known as a tune-family. The Musical Landscape of America states, “The most common form for melodies in folk music is AABB, also known as binary form.”

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