Folk music includes both traditional music and the genre that evolved
from it during the 20th century folk revival. The term originated in
the 19th century, but is often applied to music older than that. Some
types of folk music are also called world music. Traditional folk
music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally,
music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long
period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical
Starting in the mid-20th century, a new form of popular folk music
evolved from traditional folk music. This process and period is called
the (second) folk revival and reached a zenith 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 the
term folk music has typically not been applied to the new music
created during those revivals. This type of folk music also includes
fusion genres such as folk rock, folk metal and others. While
contemporary folk music is a genre generally distinct from traditional
folk music, in English it shares the same name, and it often shares
the same performers and venues as traditional folk music.
1 Traditional folk music
1.3 Subject matter
Folk song transformations and variations
1.5 Regional forms
1.6 Early folk music, fieldwork and scholarship
1.6.1 19th-century Europe
1.6.2 North America
1.7 National and regional forms
Folk music of China
Traditional folk music
Traditional folk music of Sri Lanka
126.96.36.199 Celtic traditional music
188.8.131.52 Central and Eastern Europe
184.108.40.206 Balkan music
220.127.116.11 Nordic folk music
1.7.5 Latin and South America
1.7.6 North America
18.104.22.168 United States
Folk music revivals
2.1 First British folk revival
Contemporary folk music
5 See also
6 Notes and references
8 Further reading
9 External links
Traditional folk music
Main article: Traditional folk music
Traditional folk music
Individual nations or regions
See Folk instruments
A consistent definition of traditional folk music is elusive. The
terms folk music, folk song, and folk dance are comparatively recent
expressions. They are extensions of the term folklore, which was
coined in 1846 by the English antiquarian
William Thoms to describe
"the traditions, customs, and superstitions of the uncultured
classes". The term further derives from the German expression Volk,
in the sense of "the people as a whole" as applied to popular and
national music by
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder and the German Romantics
over half a century earlier.
Traditional folk music
Traditional folk music also includes
most indigenous music.
However, despite the assembly of an enormous body of work over some
two centuries, there is still no certain definition of what folk music
(or folklore, or the folk) is. Some do not even agree that the
Music should be used.
Folk music may tend to have certain
characteristics but it cannot clearly be differentiated in purely
musical terms. One meaning often given is that of "old songs, with no
known composers", another is that of music that has been submitted
to an evolutionary "process of oral transmission.... the fashioning
and re-fashioning of the music by the community that give it its folk
Such definitions depend upon "(cultural) processes rather than
abstract musical types...", upon "continuity and oral
transmission...seen as characterizing one side of a cultural
dichotomy, the other side of which is found not only in the lower
layers of feudal, capitalist and some oriental societies but also in
'primitive' societies and in parts of 'popular cultures'". One
widely used definition is simply "
Folk music is what the people
For Scholes, as well as for
Cecil Sharp and Béla Bartók,
there was a sense of the music of the country as distinct from that of
Folk music was already, "...seen as the authentic expression
of a way of life now past or about to disappear (or in some cases, to
be preserved or somehow revived)", particularly in "a community
uninfluenced by art music" and by commercial and printed song.
Lloyd rejected this in favour of a simple distinction of economic
class yet for him true folk music was, in Charles Seeger's words,
"associated with a lower class" in culturally and socially
stratified societies. In these terms folk music may be seen as part of
a "schema comprising four musical types: 'primitive' or 'tribal';
'elite' or 'art'; 'folk'; and 'popular'".
Music in this genre is also often called traditional music. Although
the term is usually only descriptive, in some cases people use it as
the name of a genre. For example, the
Grammy Award previously used the
terms "traditional music" and "traditional folk" for folk music that
is not contemporary folk music.
From a historical perspective, traditional folk music had these
It was transmitted through an oral tradition. Before the 20th century,
ordinary farm workers and factory workers were usually illiterate.
They acquired songs by memorizing them. Primarily, this was not
mediated by books, recorded or transmitted media. Singers may extend
their repertoire using broadsheets, or song books, but these secondary
enhancements are of the same character as the primary songs
experienced in the flesh.
The music was often related to national culture. It was culturally
particular; from a particular region or culture. In the context of an
immigrant group, folk music acquires an extra dimension for social
cohesion. It is particularly conspicuous in immigrant societies, where
Greek Australians, Somali Americans, Punjabi Canadians, and others
strive to emphasize their differences from the mainstream. They learn
songs and dances that originate in the countries their grandparents
They commemorate historical and personal events. On certain days of
the year, such as Easter, May Day, and Christmas, particular songs
celebrate the yearly cycle. Weddings, birthdays, and funerals may also
be noted with songs, dances and special costumes. Religious festivals
often have a folk music component.
Choral music at these events brings
children and non-professional singers to participate in a public
arena, giving an emotional bonding that is unrelated to the aesthetic
qualities of the music.
The songs have been performed, by custom, over a long period of time,
usually several generations.
As a side-effect, the following characteristics are sometimes present:
There is no copyright on the songs. Hundreds of folk songs from the
19th century have known authors but have continued in oral tradition
to the point where they are considered traditional for purposes of
music publishing. This has become much less frequent since the 1940s.
Today, almost every folk song that is recorded is credited with an
Fusion of cultures: Because cultures interact and change over time,
traditional songs evolving over time may incorporate and reflect
influences from disparate cultures. The relevant factors may include
instrumentation, tunings, voicings, phrasing, subject matter, and even
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In folk music, a tune is a short instrumental piece, a melody, often
with repeating sections, and usually played a number of times. A
collection of tunes with structural similarities is known as a
tune-family. America's Musical Landscape says "the most common form
for tunes in folk music is AABB, also known as binary form".[citation
In some traditions, tunes may be strung together in medleys or "sets".
Indians always distinguished between classical and folk music, though
in the past even classical Indian music used to rely on the unwritten
transmission of repertoire.
Throughout most of human prehistory and history, listening to recorded
music was not possible.
Music was made by common people during both
their work and leisure, as well as during religious activities. The
work of economic production was often manual and communal. Manual
labor often included singing by the workers, which served several
practical purposes. It reduced the boredom of repetitive tasks, it
kept the rhythm during synchronized pushes and pulls, and it set the
pace of many activities such as planting, weeding, reaping, threshing,
weaving, and milling. In leisure time, singing and playing musical
instruments were common forms of entertainment and
history-telling—even more common than today, when electrically
enabled technologies and widespread literacy make other forms of
entertainment and information-sharing competitive.
Some believe that folk music originated as art music that was changed
and probably debased by oral transmission, while reflecting the
character of the society that produced it. In many societies,
especially preliterate ones, the cultural transmission of folk music
requires learning by ear, although notation has evolved in some
cultures. Different cultures may have different notions concerning a
division between "folk" music on the one hand and of "art" and "court"
music on the other. In the proliferation of popular music genres, some
traditional folk music became also referred to "World music" or "Roots
The English term "folklore", to describe traditional folk music and
dance, entered the vocabulary of many continental European nations,
each of which had its folk-song collectors and revivalists. The
distinction between "authentic" folk and national and popular song in
general has always been loose, particularly in America and Germany
– for example popular songwriters such as
Stephen Foster could be
termed "folk" in America. The International Folk
definition allows that the term can also apply to music that, "...has
originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been
absorbed into the unwritten, living tradition of a community. But the
term does not cover a song, dance, or tune that has been taken over
ready-made and remains unchanged."
World War II
World War II folk revival in America and in Britain started
a new genre, contemporary folk music, and brought an additional
meaning to the term "folk music": newly composed songs, fixed in form
and by known authors, which imitated some form of traditional music.
The popularity of "contemporary folk" recordings caused the appearance
of the category "Folk" in the Grammy Awards of 1959: in 1970 the term
was dropped in favor of "Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording
(including Traditional Blues)", while 1987 brought a distinction
between "Best Traditional Folk Recording" and "Best Contemporary Folk
Recording". After that, they had a "Traditional music" category that
subsequently evolved into others. The term "folk", by the start of the
21st century, could cover singer songwriters, such as
Scotland and American Bob Dylan, who emerged in the 1960s and much
more. This completed a process to where "folk music" no longer meant
only traditional folk music.
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Armenian traditional musicians
Assyrians playing zurna and Davul, the typically used instruments for
their folk music and dance.
Traditional folk music
Traditional folk music often includes sung words, although folk
instrumental music occurs commonly in dance music traditions.
Narrative verse looms large in the traditional folk music of many
cultures. This encompasses such forms as traditional epic poetry, much
of which was meant originally for oral performance, sometimes
accompanied by instruments. Many epic poems of various cultures were
pieced together from shorter pieces of traditional narrative verse,
which explains their episodic structure, repetitive elements, and
their frequent in medias res plot developments. Other forms of
traditional narrative verse relate the outcomes of battles or describe
tragedies or natural disasters.
Sometimes, as in the triumphant
Song of Deborah
Song of Deborah found in the Biblical
Book of Judges, these songs celebrate victory. Laments for lost
battles and wars, and the lives lost in them, are equally prominent in
many traditions; these laments keep alive the cause for which the
battle was fought. The narratives of traditional songs often also
remember folk heroes such as John Henry or Robin Hood. Some
traditional song narratives recall supernatural events or mysterious
Hymns and other forms of religious music are often of traditional and
unknown origin. Western musical notation was originally created to
preserve the lines of Gregorian chant, which before its invention was
taught as an oral tradition in monastic communities. Traditional songs
Green grow the rushes, O present religious lore in a mnemonic
form, as do Western
Christmas carols and similar traditional songs.
Work songs frequently feature call and response structures and are
designed to enable the laborers who sing them to coordinate their
efforts in accordance with the rhythms of the songs. They are
frequently, but not invariably, composed. In the American armed
forces, a lively oral tradition preserves jody calls ("Duckworth
chants") which are sung while soldiers are on the march. Professional
sailors made similar use of a large body of sea shanties. Love poetry,
often of a tragic or regretful nature, prominently figures in many
folk traditions. Nursery rhymes and nonsense verse used to amuse or
quiet children also are frequent subjects of traditional songs.
Folk song transformations and variations
See also: List of folk music traditions
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Korean traditional musicians
Naxi traditional musicians
Music transmitted by word of mouth through a community, in time,
develops many variants, because this kind of transmission cannot
produce word-for-word and note-for-note accuracy. Indeed, many
traditional singers are quite creative and deliberately modify the
material they learn.
For example, the words of "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day" (Roud
975) are known from a broadside in the Bodleian Library. The date
is almost certainly before 1900, and it seems to be Irish. In 1958 the
song was recorded in
Canada (My Name is Pat and I'm Proud of That).
Jeannie Robertson from Aberdeen, made the next
recorded version in 1961. She has changed it to make reference to
"Jock Stewart", one of her relatives, and there are no Irish
references. In 1976 Scottish artist
Archie Fisher deliberately altered
the song to remove the reference to a dog being shot. In 1985 The
Pogues took it full circle by restoring all the Irish
Because variants proliferate naturally, it is naïve to believe that
there is such a thing as the single "authentic" version of a ballad
such as "Barbara Allen". Field researchers in traditional song (see
below) have encountered countless versions of this ballad throughout
the English-speaking world, and these versions often differ greatly
from each other. None can reliably claim to be the original, and it is
possible that the "original" version ceased to be sung centuries ago.
Many versions can lay an equal claim to authenticity.
The influential folklorist
Cecil Sharp felt that these competing
variants of a traditional song would undergo a process of improvement
akin to biological natural selection: only those new variants that
were the most appealing to ordinary singers would be picked up by
others and transmitted onward in time. Thus, over time we would expect
each traditional song to become aesthetically ever more
appealing — it would be collectively composed to perfection, as
it were, by the community.
Literary interest in the popular ballad form dates back at least to
Thomas Percy and William Wordsworth. English Elizabethan and Stuart
composers had often evolved their music from folk themes, the
classical suite was based upon stylised folk-dances, and Joseph
Haydn's use of folk melodies is noted. But the emergence of the term
"folk" coincided with an "outburst of national feeling all over
Europe" that was particularly strong at the edges of Europe, where
national identity was most asserted. Nationalist composers emerged in
Central Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain and Britain: the music of
Dvořák, Smetana, Grieg, Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms, Liszt, de Falla,
Wagner, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Bartók, and many others drew upon
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The Steinegger brothers, traditional pipers of Grundlsee, Styria, 1880
While the loss of traditional folk music in the face of the rise of
popular music is a worldwide phenomenon, it is not one occurring at a
uniform rate throughout the world. The process is most advanced "where
industrialization and commercialisation of culture are most
advanced" but also occurs more gradually even in settings of lower
technological advancement. However, the loss of traditional music is
slowed in nations or regions where traditional folk music is a badge
of cultural or national identity, for instance in the case of
Bangladesh, Hungary, India, Ireland, Pakistan, Scotland, Latvia,
Turkey, Portugal, Brittany, Galicia, Greece and Crete. Tourism revenue
can provide a potent incentive to preserve local cultural
distinctives. Local government often sponsors and promotes
performances during tourist seasons, and revives lost
Early folk music, fieldwork and scholarship
Much of what is known about folk music prior to the development of
audio recording technology in the 19th century comes from fieldwork
and writings of scholars, collectors and proponents.
Starting in the 19th century, academics and amateur scholars, taking
note of the musical traditions being lost, initiated various efforts
to preserve the music of the people. One such effort was the
Francis James Child
Francis James Child in the late 19th century of the
texts of over three hundred ballads in the English and Scots
traditions (called the Child Ballads), some of which predated the 16th
Contemporaneously with Child, the Reverend
Sabine Baring-Gould and
Cecil Sharp worked to preserve a great body of English rural
traditional song, music and dance, under the aegis of what became and
English Folk Dance and Song Society
English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). Sharp
campaigned with some success to have English traditional songs (in his
own heavily edited and expurgated versions) to be taught to school
children in hopes of reviving and prolonging the popularity of those
songs. Throughout the 1960s and early to mid-1970s, American scholar
Bertrand Harris Bronson published an exhaustive four-volume collection
of the then-known variations of both the texts and tunes associated
with what came to be known as the Child Canon. He also advanced some
significant theories concerning the workings of oral-aural
Similar activity was also under way in other countries. One of the
most extensive was perhaps the work done in
Riga by Krisjanis Barons,
who between the years 1894 and 1915 published six volumes that
included the texts of 217,996 Latvian folk songs, the Latvju dainas.
Norway the work of collectors such as
Ludvig Mathias Lindeman was
extensively used by
Edvard Grieg in his Lyric Pieces for piano and in
other works, which became immensely popular.[original research?]
Around this time, composers of classical music developed a strong
interest in collecting traditional songs, and a number of outstanding
composers carried out their own field work on traditional music. These
Percy Grainger and
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams in
Béla Bartók in Hungary. These composers, like many of their
predecessors, both made arrangements of folk songs and incorporated
traditional material into original classical compositions. The Latviju
dainas are extensively used in the classical choral works of Andrejs
Jurāns, Jānis Cimze, and Emilis Melngailis.
Locations in Southern and Central
Appalachia visited by the British
Cecil Sharp in 1916 (blue), 1917 (green), and 1918 (red).
Sharp sought "old world" English and Scottish ballads passed down to
the region's inhabitants from their British ancestors. He collected
hundreds of such ballads, the most productive areas being the Blue
Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the Cumberland Mountains of
The advent of audio recording technology provided folklorists with a
revolutionary tool to preserve vanishing musical forms. The earliest
American folk music
American folk music scholars were with the American
(AFS), which emerged in the late 1800s. Their studies expanded to
include Native American music, but still treated folk music as a
historical item preserved in isolated societies as well. In North
America, during the 1930s and 1940s, the
Library of Congress
Library of Congress worked
through the offices of traditional music collectors Robert Winslow
Alan Lomax and others to capture as much North American field
material as possible. Lomax was the first prominent scholar to study
American folk music
American folk music such as that of cowboys and southern
blacks. His first major published work was in 1911, Cowboy Songs and
Other Frontier Ballads. and was arguably the most prominent US
folk music scholar of his time, notably during the beginnings of the
folk music revival in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Cecil Sharp also
worked in America, recording the traditional songs of the Appalachian
Mountains in 1916–1918 in collaboration with
Maud Karpeles and Olive
Dame Campbell and is considered the first major scholar covering
American folk music. Campbell and Sharp are represented under
other names by actors in the modern movie Songcatcher.
One strong theme amongst folk scholars in the early decades of the
20th century was regionalism, the analysis of the diversity of folk
music (and related cultures) based on regions of the US rather than
based on a given song's historical roots. Later, a dynamic of class
and circumstances was added to this. The most prominent
regionalists were literary figures with a particular interest in
Carl Sandburg often traveled the U.S. as a writer and a
poet. He also collected songs in his travels and, in 1927, published
them in a book American Songbag. "In his collections of folk songs,
Sandburg added a class dynamic to popular understandings of American
folk music. This was the final element of the foundation upon which
the early folk music revivalists constructed their own view of
Americanism. Sandburg's working class Americans joined with the
ethnically, racially, and regionally diverse citizens that other
scholars, public intellectuals, and folklorists celebrated their own
definitions of the American folk, definitions that the folk
revivalists used in constructing their own understanding of American
folk music, and an overarching American identity".
Prior to the 1930s, the study of folk music was primarily the province
of scholars and collectors. The 1930s saw the beginnings of larger
scale themes, commonalities, themes and linkages in folk music
developing in the populace and practitioners as well, often related to
the Great Depression. Regionalism and cultural pluralism grew as
influences and themes. During this time folk music began to become
enmeshed with political and social activism themes and movements.
Two related developments were the U.S. Communist Party's interest in
folk music as a way to reach and influence Americans, and
politically active prominent folk musicians and scholars seeing
communism as a possible better system, through the lens of the Great
Woody Guthrie exemplifies songwriters and artists with
such an outlook.
Folk music festivals proliferated during the 1930s. President
Franklin Roosevelt was a fan of folk music, hosted folk concerts at
the White House, and often patronized folk festivals. One
prominent festival was Sarah Gertrude Knott's National Folk Festival,
established in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934. Under the sponsorship
of the Washington Post, the festival was held in Washington, DC at
Constitution Hall from 1937–1942. The folk music movement,
festivals, and the wartime effort were seen as forces for social goods
such as democracy, cultural pluralism, and the removal of culture and
American folk music
American folk music revivalists of the 1930s approached folk music
in different ways. Three primary schools of thought emerged:
"Traditionalists" (e.g. Sarah Gertrude Knott and John Lomax)
emphasized the preservation of songs as artifacts of deceased
cultures. "Functional" folklorists (e.g. Botkin and Alan Lomax)
maintained that songs only retain relevance when utilized by those
cultures which retain the traditions which birthed those songs.
"Left-wing" folk revivalists (e.g.
Charles Seeger and Lawrence
Gellert) emphasized music's role "in 'people's' struggles for social
and political rights". By the end of the 1930s these and others
American folk music
American folk music into a social movement.
Sometimes folk musicians became scholars and advocates themselves. For
Jean Ritchie (born in 1922) was the youngest child of a large
Viper, Kentucky that had preserved many of the old
Appalachian traditional songs. Ritchie, living in a time when the
Appalachians had opened up to outside influence, was university
educated and ultimately moved to New York City, where she made a
number of classic recordings of the family repertoire and published an
important compilation of these songs. (See also Hedy West)[why?]
In January 2012, the
American Folklife Center
American Folklife Center at the Library of
Congress, with the Association for Cultural Equity, announced that
they would release Lomax's vast archive of 1946 and later recording in
digital form. Lomax spent the last 20 years of his life working on an
interactive multimedia educational computer project he called the
Global Jukebox, which included 5,000 hours of sound recordings,
400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, and 5,000 photographs. As
of March 2012, this has been accomplished. Approximately 17,400 of
Lomax's recordings from 1946 and later have been made available free
online. This material from Alan Lomax’s independent archive,
begun in 1946, which has been digitized and offered by the Association
for Cultural Equity, is "distinct from the thousands of earlier
recordings on acetate and aluminum discs he made from 1933 to 1942
under the auspices of the Library of Congress. This earlier
collection—which includes the famous Jelly Roll Morton, Woody
Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Muddy Waters sessions, as well as Lomax’s
prodigious collections made in
Haiti and Eastern Kentucky
(1937) — is the provenance of the American Folklife Center"
at the library of Congress.
National and regional forms
Music of Africa
The African lamellophone, thumb piano or mbira
Africa is a vast continent and its regions and nations have distinct
musical traditions. The music of North
Africa for the most part has a
different history from Sub-Saharan African music traditions.
The music and dance forms of the African diaspora, including African
American music and many Caribbean genres like soca, calypso and Zouk;
Latin American music
Latin American music genres like the samba, Cuban rumba, salsa;
and other clave (rhythm)-based genres, were founded to varying degrees
on the music of African slaves, which has in turn influenced African
See also: Indian folk music, Iranian folk music, and Filipino folk
Paban Das Baul, baul singer at Nine Lives concert, 2009.
Many Asian civilizations distinguish between art/court/classical
styles and "folk" music, though cultures that do not depend greatly
upon notation and have much anonymous art music must distinguish the
two in different ways from those suggested by western scholars. For
example, the late
Alam Lohar is a good example of a classical South
Asian folk singer of great repute. Khunung
Eshei/Khuland Eshei is an ancient folk song of Meiteis of Manipur
who have maintained it for thousands of years.
Folk music of China
Music of China § Folk music, Shijing, and
Archaeological discoveries date Chinese folk music back 7000 years; it
is largely based on the pentatonic scale.
Han traditional weddings and funerals usually include a form of oboe
called a suona and apercussive ensembles called a chuigushou.
Ensembles consisting of mouth organs (sheng), shawms (suona), flutes
(dizi) and percussion instruments (especially yunluo gongs) are
popular in northern villages; their music is descended from the
imperial temple music of Beijing, Xi'an,
Wutai shan and Tianjin. Xi'an
drum music, consisting of wind and percussive instruments, is popular
around Xi'an, and has received some commercial popularity outside of
China. Another important instrument is the sheng, pipes, an ancient
instrument that is ancestor of all Western free reed instruments, such
as the accordion. Parades led by Western-type brass bands are common,
often competing in volume with a shawm/chuigushou band.
Fujian and Taiwan, Nanyin or Nanguan is a genre of
traditional ballads. They are sung by a woman accompanied by a xiao
and a pipa, as well as other traditional instruments. The music is
generally sorrowful and typically deals with a love-stricken women.
Further south, in Shantou, Hakka and Chaozhou, erxian and zheng
ensembles are popular.
Sizhu ensembles use flutes and bowed or plucked
string instruments to make harmonious and melodious music that has
become popular in the West among some listeners. These are popular in
Nanjing and Hangzhou, as well as elsewhere along the southern Yangtze
Sizhu has been secularized in cities but remains spiritual in
Sizhu (silk and bamboo music from Jiangnan) is a
style of instrumental music, often played by amateur musicians in tea
houses in Shanghai; it has become widely known outside of its place of
Music or Cantonese
Music is instrumental music from
Guangzhou and surrounding areas. It is based on Yueju (Cantonese
Opera) music, together with new compositions from the 1920s onwards.
Many pieces have influences from jazz and Western music, using
syncopation and triple time. This music tells stories, myths and
Traditional folk music
Traditional folk music of Sri Lanka
Music of Sri Lanka
The genre of Sri Lankan music is known as Oriental music.[citation
needed] The art, music and dances of
Sri Lanka derives from the
elements of nature, and have been enjoyed and developed in the
Buddhist environment. The music is of several types and uses only
a few types of instruments. The folk songs and poems were used in
social gatherings to work together. The Indian influenced classical
music has grown to be unique. The traditional drama,
music and songs are typically Sri Lankan. The temple paintings and
carvings used birds, elephants, wild animals, flowers and trees, and
the Traditional 18 Dances display the dancing of birds and animals.
Mayura Wannama – The dance of the peacock
Hanuma Wannama – The dance of the monkey
Gajaga Wannama – The dance of the elephant
Musical types include:
Local drama music includes Kolam, Nadagam and Noorthy types. Kolam
music is based on low country tunes primarily to accompany mask dance
in exorcism rituals. It is considered less developed/evolved, true to
the folk tradition and a preserving of a more ancient artform. It is
limited to approximately 3–4 notes and is used by the ordinary
people for pleasure and entertainment.
Nadagam music is a more developed form of drama influenced from South
Indian street drama which was introduced by some south Indian Artists.
Phillippu Singho from Negombo in 1824 Performed “Harishchandra
Nadagama” in Hnguranketha which was originally written in Telingu
language. Later “Maname”, “Sanda kinduru” and few others were
introduced. Don Bastian of
Dehiwala introduced Noorthy firstly by
looking at Indian dramas and then John De Silva developed it as did
Ramayanaya in 1886.
Sinhala light music is currently the most popular type of music in Sri
Lanka and enriched with the influence of folk music, kolam music,
nadagam music, noorthy music, film music, classical music, western
music, and others. Some artists visited
India to learn music and later
started introducing light music. Ananda Samarakone was the pioneer of
this and also composed the national anthem.
The classical Sinhalese Orchestra consists of five categories of
instruments, but among the percussion instruments, the drum is
essential for dance. The vibrant beat of the rhythm of the drums
form the basic of the dance. The dancers feet bounce off the floor and
they leap and swirl in patterns that reflect the complex rhythms of
the drum beat. This drum beat may seem simple on the first hearing but
it takes a long time to master the intricate rhythms and variations,
which the drummer sometimes can bring to a crescendo of intensity.
There are six common types of drums falling within 3 styles
(one-faced, two-faced, and flat-faced):
The typical Sinhala
Dance is identified as the Kandyan dance and the
Gatabera drum is indispensable to this dance.
Yak-bera is the demon drum or the, drum used in low country dance in
which the dancers wear masks and perform devil dancing, which has
become a highly developed form of art.
The Dawula is a barrel-shaped drum, and it was used as a companion
drum in the past, to keep strict time with the beat.
Thammattama is flat, two-faced drum. The drummer strikes the drum
on the two surfaces on top with sticks, unlike the others where you
drum on the sides. This is a companion drum to the afore mentioned
A small double headed hand drum, used to accompany songs. It is mostly
heard in the poetry dances (vannam).
The Rabana is a flat faced circular drum and comes in several sizes.
The large Rabana has to be placed on the floor like a circular
short-legged table and several people (especially the womenfolk) can
sit around it and beat on it with both hands. This is used in
festivals such as the
Sinhalese New Year
Sinhalese New Year and ceremonies such as
weddings. The resounding beat of the Rabana symbolizes the joyous
moods of the occasion. The small Rabana is a form of mobile drum beat,
since the player carries it wherever he goes.
Other instruments include:
The "Thalampata" – 2 small cymbals joined together by a string.
The wind section, is dominated by an instrument akin to the clarinet.
This is not normally used for the dances. This is important to note
because the Sinhalese dance is not set to music as the western world
knows it; rhythm is king.
The flutes of metal such as silver & brass produce shrill music to
accompany Kandyan Dances, while the plaintive strains of music of the
reed flute may pierce the air in devil-dancing. The conch-shell
(Hakgediya) is another form of a natural instrument, and the player
blows it to announce the opening of ceremonies of grandeur.
Ravanahatha (ravanhatta, rawanhattha, ravanastron or ravana hasta
veena) is a bowed fiddle popular in Western India. It is believed to
have originated among the Hela civilisation of
Sri Lanka in the time
of King Ravana. The bowl is made of cut coconut shell, the mouth of
which is covered with goat hide. A dandi, made of bamboo, is attached
to this shell. The principal strings are two: one of steel and the
other of a set of horsehair. The long bow has jingle bells
Australian folk music
Australian folk music and Indigenous Australian music
Folk song traditions were taken to
Australia by early settlers from
Ireland and gained particular foothold in the
rural outback. The rhyming songs, poems and tales written in the form
of bush ballads often relate to the itinerant and rebellious spirit of
Australia in The Bush, and the authors and performers are often
referred to as bush bards. The 19th century was the golden age of
bush ballads. Several collectors have catalogued the songs including
John Meredith whose recording in the 1950s became the basis of the
collection in the National Library of Australia.
The songs tell personal stories of life in the wide open country of
Australia. Typical subjects include mining, raising and droving
cattle, sheep shearing, wanderings, war stories, the 1891 Australian
shearers' strike, class conflicts between the landless working class
and the squatters (landowners), and outlaws such as Ned Kelly, as well
as love interests and more modern fare such as trucking. The most
famous bush ballad is "Waltzing Matilda", which has been called "the
unofficial national anthem of Australia".
Indigenous Australian music
Indigenous Australian music includes the music of Australian
Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, who are collectively called
Indigenous Australians; it incorporates a variety of distinctive
traditional music styles practiced by Indigenous Australian peoples,
as well as a range of contemporary musical styles of and fusion with
European traditions as interpreted and performed by indigenous
Music has formed an integral part of the social,
cultural and ceremonial observances of these peoples, down through the
millennia of their individual and collective histories to the present
day. The traditional forms include many aspects of performance and
musical instrumentation unique to particular regions or Indigenous
Australian groups. Equal elements of musical tradition are common
through much of the Australian continent, and even beyond. The culture
Torres Strait Islanders
Torres Strait Islanders is related to that of adjacent parts of
New Guinea and so their music is also related.
Music is a vital part
of Indigenous Australians' cultural maintenance.
Folk music of England, French folk music, Greek folk music,
Italian folk music, and Turkish folk music
Battlefield Band performing in
Freiburg in 2012
Celtic traditional music
Folk music of
Folk music of Scotland
Celtic music is a term used by artists, record companies, music stores
and music magazines to describe a broad grouping of musical genres
that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic peoples.
These traditions include Irish, Scottish, Manx, Cornish, Welsh, and
Breton traditions. Asturian and Galician music is often included,
though there is no significant research showing that this has any
close musical relationship. Brittany's
Folk revival began in the 1950s
with the "bagadoù" and the "kan-ha-diskan" before growing to world
fame through Alan Stivell's work since the mid-1960s.
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (although its members
were all Irish-born, the group became famous while based in New York's
Greenwich Village), The Dubliners, Clannad, Planxty, The Chieftains,
The Pogues, The Corrs, The Irish Rovers, and a variety of other folk
bands have done much over the past few decades to revitalise and
re-popularise Irish traditional music. These bands were rooted, to a
greater or lesser extent, in a tradition of Irish music and benefited
from the efforts of artists such as
Seamus Ennis and Peter
In Scotland, The Corries, Silly Wizard, Capercaillie, Runrig, Jackie
Leven, Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart, Alasdair Roberts, Dick Gaughan,
Wolfstone, Boys of the Lough, and The Silencers have kept Scottish
folk vibrant and fresh by mixing traditional Scottish and Gaelic folk
songs with more contemporary genres. These artists have also been
commercially successful in continental Europe and North America. There
is an emerging wealth of talent in the Scottish traditional music
scene, with bands such as Mànran, Skipinnish, Barluath and Breabach
and solo artists such as Patsy Reid,
Robyn Stapleton and Mischa
MacPherson gaining many successes in recent years.
Central and Eastern Europe
Music of Belarus, Hungarian folk music,
Music of Moldova,
Russian traditional music,
Music of Ukraine, Bard (Soviet Union),
Music of Slovenia, and Czech folklore
During the Communist era national folk dancing in the
Eastern Bloc was
actively promoted by the state.
Dance troupes from
Russia and Poland
toured non-communist Europe from about 1937 to 1990. The Red Army
Choir recorded many albums. Eastern Europe is also the origin of the
Ľubomír Párička playing bagpipes, Czech Republic
The polka is a central European dance and also a genre of dance music
familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the
middle of the 19th century in Bohemia.
Polka is still a popular genre
of folk music in many European countries and is performed by folk
artists in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Netherlands,
Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Italy,
Russia and Slovakia. Local varieties of this dance
are also found in the Nordic countries, United Kingdom, Republic of
Latin America (especially Mexico), and in the United States.
German Volkslieder perpetuated by Liederhandschriften manuscripts like
Carmina Burana date back to medieval
Minnesang and Meistersinger
traditions. Those folk songs revived in the late 18th century period
of German Romanticism, first promoted by
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder and
other advocates of the Enlightenment, later compiled by Achim von
Clemens Brentano (Des Knaben Wunderhorn) as well as by
Volksmusik and folk dances genre, especially in the Alpine regions
of Bavaria, Austria,
Switzerland (Kuhreihen) and South Tyrol, up to
today has clinged on rustic communities against the backdrop of
industrialisation—Low German shanties or the Wienerlied
(Schrammelmusik) being notable exceptions. Slovene folk music in Upper
Styria also originated from the Alpine traditions.
Volksmusik is not to be confused with commercial
Volkstümliche Musik variations, strongly related to German Schlager
The Hungarian group
Muzsikás played numerous American tours and
participated in the Hollywood movie The English Patient while the
Márta Sebestyén worked with the band Deep Forest. The
Hungarian táncház movement, started in the 1970s, involves strong
cooperation between musicology experts and enthusiastic
amateurs. However, traditional Hungarian folk music
and folk culture barely survived in some rural areas of Hungary, and
it has also begun to disappear among the ethnic Hungarians in
Transylvania. The táncház movement revived broader folk traditions
of music, dance, and costume together and created a new kind of music
club. The movement spread to ethnic Hungarian communities elsewhere in
Music of Southeastern Europe and Romani music
The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices
The Balkan folk music was influenced by the mingling of Balkan ethnic
groups in the period of Ottoman Empire. It comprises the music of
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania,
Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, some of the historical states
of Yugoslavia or the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and
geographical regions such as Thrace. Some music is characterised by
A notable act is The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices, which won a
Grammy Award in 1989.
An important part of the whole Balkan folk music is the music of the
local Romani ethnic minority.
Nordic folk music
See also: Nordic folk music, Traditional Nordic dance music, Joik,
Nyckelharpa, and Kantele
Nordic folk music includes a number of traditions in Northern
European, especially Scandinavian, countries. The
Nordic countries are
generally taken to include Iceland, Norway, Finland,
Denmark. Sometimes it is taken to include
Greenland and historically
Baltic countries of Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania.
The many regions of the
Nordic countries share certain traditions,
many of which have diverged significantly. It is possible to group
together the Baltic states (or, sometimes, only Estonia) and parts of
Russia as sharing cultural similarities, contrasted with
Denmark and the Atlantic islands of,
Iceland and the
Faroe Islands. Greenland's Inuit culture has its own musical
traditions, influenced by Scandinavian culture.
Finland shares many
cultural similarities with both the Baltic nations and the
Scandinavian nations. The Saami of Sweden, Norway,
Finland and Russia
have their own unique culture, with ties to the neighboring cultures.
Swedish folk music is a genre of music based largely on folkloric
collection work that began in the early 19th century in Sweden.
The primary instrument of
Swedish folk music is the fiddle. Another
common instrument, unique to Swedish traditions, is the nyckelharpa.
Most Swedish instrumental folk music is dance music; the signature
music and dance form within
Swedish folk music is the polska. Vocal
and instrumental traditions in
Sweden have tended to share tunes
historically, though they have been performed separately.
Beginning with the folk music revival of the 1970s, vocalists and
instrumentalists have also begun to perform together in folk music
Latin and South America
See also: Andean music, Cueca, and Nueva canción
Folk music on the Americas consists on the encounter and union of
three main musical types: European traditional music, traditional
music of the American natives and tribal African music that arrived
among the slaves, main differences consist on the particular type of
each of these main slopes.
Particular case of Latin and South American music points to Andean
music among other native musical styles (such as Caribbean, pampean
and selvatic), Iberean music (Spain and Portugal) and generally
speaking African tribal music, that fused together evolving in
differentiated musical forms along South and Central America.
Andean music comes from the general area inhabited by Quechuas,
Aymaras and other peoples that roughly in the area of the Inca Empire
prior to European contact. It includes folklore music of parts of
Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia,
Peru and Venezuela.
Andean music is popular to different degrees across Latin America,
having its core public in rural areas and among indigenous
Nueva Canción movement of the 1970s revived the
Latin America and bought it to places where it was
unknown or forgotten.
Nueva canción (Spanish for 'new song') is a movement and genre within
Latin American and Iberian music of folk music, folk-inspired music
and socially committed music. It some respects its development and
role is similar to the second folk music revival. This includes
evolution of this new genre from traditional folk music, essentially
contemporary folk music except that that English genre term is not
commonly applied to it. Nueva cancion is recognized as having played a
powerful role in the social upheavals in Portugal, Spain and Latin
America during the 1970s and 1980s.
Nueva cancion first surfaced during the 1960s as "The Chilean New
Song" in Chile. The musical style emerged shortly afterwards in Spain
and other areas of
Latin America where it came to be known under
Nueva canción renewed traditional Latin American folk
music, and was soon associated with revolutionary movements, the Latin
American New Left, Liberation Theology, hippie and human rights
movements due to political lyrics. It would gain great popularity
throughout Latin America, and is regarded as a precursor to Rock en
Cueca is a family of musical styles and associated dances from Chile,
Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina.
Trova and Son are styles of traditional
Cuban music originating in the
province of Oriente that includes influences from Spanish song and
dance such as
Bolero and contradanza as well as
Afro-Cuban rhythm and
Moda de viola is the name designed to Brazilian folk music. Is often
performed with a 6-string nylon acoustic guitar, but the most
traditional instrument is the viola caipira. The songs basically
detailed the hardness of life of those who work in the country. The
themes are usually associated with the land, animals, folklore,
impossible love and separation. Although there are some upbeat songs,
most of them are nostalgic and melancholic.
French-Canadian lumberjacks playing the fiddle, with sticks for
percussion, in a lumber camp in 1943.
Main article: music of Canadian cultures
See also: Canadian folk music,
Music of Canada, and French-Canadian
Canada's traditional folk music is particularly diverse. Even
prior to liberalizing its immigration laws in the 1960s,
ethnically diverse with dozens of different Indigenous and European
groups present. In terms of music, academics do not speak of a
Canadian tradition, but rather ethnic traditions (
Irish-Canadian music, Blackfoot music, Innu music, Inuit music, Métis
fiddle, etc.) and later in Eastern
Canada regional traditions
(Newfoundland music, Cape Breton fiddling, Quebecois music, etc.)
Traditional folk music
Traditional folk music of European origin has been present in Canada
since the arrival of the first French and British settlers in the 16th
and 17th centuries....They fished the coastal waters and farmed the
shores of what became Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince
Edward Island, and the St Lawrence River valley of Quebec.
The fur trade and its voyageurs brought this farther north and west
into Canada; later lumbering operations and lumberjacks continued this
Agrarian settlement in eastern and southern Ontario and western Quebec
in the early 19th century established a favorable milieu for the
survival of many Anglo-Canadian folksongs and broadside ballads from
Great Britain and the US. Despite massive industrialization, folk
music traditions have persisted in many areas until today. In the
north of Ontario, a large Franco-Ontarian population kept folk music
of French origin alive.
Acadian communities in the Atlantic provinces contributed
their song variants to the huge corpus of folk music of French origin
centred in the province of Quebec. A rich source of Anglo-Canadian
folk music can be found in the Atlantic region, especially
Newfoundland. Completing this mosaic of musical folklore is the Gaelic
music of Scottish settlements, particularly in Cape Breton, and the
hundreds of Irish songs whose presence in eastern
Canada dates from
the Irish famine of the 1840s, which forced the large migrations of
Irish to North America.
"Knowledge of the history of Canada", wrote Isabelle Mills in 1974,
"is essential in understanding the mosaic of Canadian folk song. Part
of this mosaic is supplied by the folk songs of
Canada brought by
European and Anglo-Saxon settlers to the new land." She describes
how the French colony at Québec brought French immigrants, followed
before long by waves of immigrants from Great Britain, Germany, and
other European countries, all bringing music from their homelands,
some of which survives into the present day. Ethnographer and
Marius Barbeau estimated that well over ten thousand French
folk songs and their variants had been collected in Canada. Many of
the older ones had by then died out in France.
Music as professionalized paid entertainment grew relatively slowly in
Canada, especially remote rural areas, through the 19th and early 20th
centuries. While in urban music clubs of the dance hall/vaudeville
variety became popular, followed by jazz, rural
Canada remained mostly
a land of traditional music. Yet when American radio networks began
Canada in the 1920s and 1930s, the audience for
Canadian traditional music progressively declined in favour of
American Nashville-style country music and urban styles like jazz. The
Americanization of Canadian music led the
Canadian Radio League to
lobby for a national public broadcaster in the 1930s, eventually
leading to the creation of the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
in 1936. The CBC promoted Canadian music, including traditional music,
on its radio and later television services, but the mid-century craze
for all things "modern" led to the decline of folk music relative to
rock and pop.
Canada was however influenced by the folk music revival
of the 1960s, when local venues such as the Montreal Folk Workshop,
and other folk clubs and coffee houses across the country, became
crucibles for emerging songwriters and performers as well as for
interchange with artists visiting from abroad.
See also: American folk music
American traditional music is also called roots music. Roots music is
a broad category of music including bluegrass, country music, gospel,
old time music, jug bands, Appalachian folk, blues,
Cajun and Native
American music. The music is considered American either because it is
native to the
United States or because it developed there, out of
foreign origins, to such a degree that it struck musicologists as
something distinctly new. It is considered "roots music" because it
served as the basis of music later developed in the United States,
including rock and roll, contemporary folk music, rhythm and blues,
and jazz. Some of these genres are considered to be traditional folk
Cajun music, an emblematic music of Louisiana, is rooted in the
ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada.
Cajun music is
often mentioned in tandem with the Creole-based, Cajun-influenced
zydeco form, both of
Acadiana origin. These French Louisiana sounds
American popular music
American popular music for many decades, especially
country music, and have influenced pop culture through mass media,
such as television commercials.
Appalachian music is the traditional music of the region of Appalachia
in the Eastern United States. It derives from various European and
African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish
traditional music (especially fiddle music), hymns, and
African-American blues. First recorded in the 1920s, Appalachian
musicians were a key influence on the early development of Old-time
music, country music, and bluegrass, and were an important part of the
American folk music
American folk music revival. Instruments typically used to perform
Appalachian music include the banjo, American fiddle, fretted
dulcimer, and guitar. Early recorded Appalachian musicians include
Fiddlin' John Carson, Henry Whitter, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the Carter
Family, Clarence Ashley, Frank Proffitt, and Dock Boggs, all of whom
were initially recorded in the 1920s and 1930s. Several Appalachian
musicians obtained renown during the folk revival of the 1950s and
1960s, including Jean Ritchie, Roscoe Holcomb, Ola Belle Reed, Lily
May Ledford, and Doc Watson. Country and bluegrass artists such as
Loretta Lynn, Roy Acuff, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Chet Atkins, and
Don Reno were heavily influenced by traditional Appalachian music.
Artists such as Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia, and Bruce
Springsteen have performed Appalachian songs or rewritten versions of
Carter Family was a traditional
American folk music
American folk music group that
recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on
bluegrass, country, Southern Gospel, pop and rock musicians. They were
the first vocal group to become country music stars; a beginning of
the divergence of country music from traditional folk music. Their
recordings of such songs as "Wabash Cannonball" (1932), "Will the
Circle Be Unbroken" (1935), "Wildwood Flower" (1928), and "Keep On the
Sunny Side" (1928) made them country standards.
Oklahoma and southern US plains: Before recorded history American
Indians in this area used songs and instrumentation; music and dance
remain the core of ceremonial and social activities. "Stomp dance"
remains at its core, a call and response form; instrumentation is
provided by rattles or shackles worn on the legs of women. "Other
southeastern nations have their own complexes of sacred and social
songs, including those for animal dances and friendship dances, and
songs that accompany stickball games. Central to the music of the
Plains Indians is the drum, which has been called the
heartbeat of Plains Indian music. Most of that genre can be traced
back to activities of hunting and warfare, upon which plains culture
was based." The drum is central to the music of the southern
plains Indians. During the reservation period, they used music to
relieve boredom. Neighbors gathered, exchanged and created songs and
dances; this is a part of the roots of the modern intertribal powwow.
Another common instrument is the courting flute.
American folk music
American folk music in the area has roots in slavery and
emancipation. Sacred music—a capella and
instrumentally-accompanied—is at the heart of the tradition. Early
spirituals framed Christian beliefs within native practices and were
heavily influenced by the music and rhythms of Africa." Spirituals
are prominent, and often use a call and response pattern. "Gospel
developed after the Civil War (1861–65). It relied on biblical text
for much of its direction, and the use of metaphors and imagery was
common. Gospel is a "joyful noise", sometimes accompanied by
instrumentation and almost always punctuated by hand clapping, toe
tapping, and body movement." "Shape-note or sacred harp singing
developed in the early 19th century as a way for itinerant singing
instructors to teach church songs in rural communities. They taught
using song books in which musical notations of tones were represented
by geometric shapes that were designed to associate a shape with its
pitch. Sacred harp singing became popular in many
communities, regardless of ethnicity." Later the blues tradition
developed, with roots in and parallels to sacred music. Then jazz
developed, born from a blend of "blend of ragtime, gospel, and
Anglo-Scots-Irish music traditions gained a place in
the Land Run of 1889. Because of its size and portability, the fiddle
was the core of early
Oklahoma Anglo music, but other instruments such
as the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and steel guitar were added later.
Oklahoma music traditions trace their roots to the British
Isles, including cowboy ballads, western swing, and contemporary
country and western." Mexican immigrants began to reach Oklahoma
in the 1870s, bringing beautiful canciones and corridos love songs,
waltzes, and ballads along with them. Like American Indian
communities, each rite of passage in Hispanic communities is
accompanied by traditional music. The acoustic guitar, string bass,
and violin provide the basic instrumentation for Mexican music, with
maracas, flute, horns, or sometimes accordion filling out the
sound. Other Europeans (such as Bohemians and Germans) settled in
the late 19th century. Their social activities centered on community
halls, "where local musicians played polkas and waltzes on the
accordion, piano, and brass instruments". Later, Asians
contributed to the musical mix. "Ancient music and dance traditions
from the temples and courts of China, India, and Indonesia are
preserved in Asian communities throughout the state, and popular song
genres are continually layered on to these classical music forms"
Barbara Allen is a traditional American folk ballad that derives from
a much older English song of the same name.
Problems listening to the files? See media help.
Folk music revivals
Main article: Roots revival
"It’s self-perpetuating, regenerative. It’s what you’d call a
perennial American song. I don’t think it needs a revival,
resuscitation. It lives and flourishes. It really just needs people
who are 18 years old to get exposed to it. But it will go on with or
without them. The folk song is more powerful than anything on the
radio, than anything that’s released...It’s that distillation of
the voices that goes on for a long, long time, and that’s what makes
Folk music revival" refers to either a period of renewed interest in
traditional folk music, or to an event or period which transforms it;
the latter usually includes a social activism component. A prominent
example of the former is the
British folk revival
British folk revival of approximately
1890–1920. The most prominent and influential example of the latter
(to the extent that it is usually called "the folk music revival") is
the folk revival of the mid 20th century, centered in the
English-speaking world which gave birth to contemporary folk
music. See the "
Contemporary folk music" article for a description
of this revival.
One earlier revival influenced western classical music. Such composers
as Percy Grainger,
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók, made
field recordings or transcriptions of folk singers and musicians.
Isaac Albéniz (1860–1909) produced piano works reflect
his Spanish heritage, including the Suite
Enrique Granados (1867–1918) composed zarzuela, Spanish light opera,
and Danzas Españolas – Spanish Dances. Manuel de Falla
(1876–1946) became interested in the cante jondo of Andalusian
flamenco, the influence of which can be strongly felt in many of his
works, which include
Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Siete
canciones populares españolas ("Seven Spanish Folksongs", for voice
and piano). Composers such as
Fernando Sor and Francisco Tarrega
established the guitar as Spain's national instrument. Modern Spanish
folk artists abound (Mil i Maria, Russian Red, et al.) modernizing
while respecting the traditions of their forebears.
Flamenco grew in popularity through the 20th century, as did northern
styles such as the
Celtic music of Galicia. French classical
Bizet to Ravel, also drew upon Spanish themes, and
distinctive Spanish genres became universally recognized.
Folk music revivals or roots revivals also encompass a range of
phenomena around the world where there is a renewed interest in
traditional music. This is often by the young, often in the
traditional music of their own country, and often included new
incorporation of social awareness, causes, and evolutions of new music
in the same style. Nueva canción, a similar evolution of a new form
of socially committed music occurred in several Spanish speaking
First British folk revival
British folk revival
British folk revival was a roots revival which occurred
approximately 1890–1920 and was marked by heightened interest in
traditional music and its preservation. It arose from earlier
developments, perhaps combined with changes in the nature of British
identity, led to a much more intensive and academic attempt to record
what was seen as a vanishing tradition, and is now usually referred to
as the first English or British folk revival.
Contemporary folk music
Main article: Contemporary folk
Main article: List of folk festivals
It is sometimes claimed that the earliest folk festival was the
Dance and Folk Festival, 1928, in Asheville, North Carolina,
founded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The
National Folk Festival (USA)
National Folk Festival (USA) is
an itinerant folk festival in the United States. Since 1934, it has
been run by the
National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and
has been presented in 26 communities around the nation. After leaving
some of these communities, the National Folk Festival has spun off
several locally run folk festivals in its wake including the Lowell
Folk Festival, the Richmond Folk Festival, the American Folk Festival
and, most recently, the Montana Folk Festival.
Newport Folk Festival
Newport Folk Festival is an annual folk festival held near
Newport, Rhode Island. It ran most year from 1959 to 1970, and 1985 to
the present, with an attendance of approximately 10,000 persons.
Philadelphia Folk Festival
Philadelphia Folk Festival began in 1962. It is sponsored
by the non-profit Philadelphia Folksong Society. The event hosts
contemporary and traditional artists in genres including World/Fusion,
Celtic, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock, Country, Klezmer, and Dance. It
is held annually on the third weekend in August. The event now hosts
approximately 12,000 visitors, presenting bands on 6 stages.
Feast of the Hunters' Moon
Feast of the Hunters' Moon in Indiana draws approximately 60,000
visitors per year.
Sidmouth Festival began in 1954, and
Cambridge Folk Festival began in
Cambridge Folk Festival in Cambridge,
England is noted for
having a very wide definition of who can be invited as folk musicians.
The "club tents" allow attendees to discover large numbers of unknown
artists, who, for ten or 15 minutes each, present their work to the
festival audience.
The National Folk Festival is Australia’s premier folk festival
event and is attended by over 50,000 people. the Woodford Folk
Festival, National Folk Festival and
Port Fairy Folk Festival are
amongst Australia's largest major annual events, attracting top
international folk performers as well as many local artists.
Stan Rogers is a lasting fixture of the Canadian folk festival
Summerfolk, held annually in Owen Sound, Ontario, where the main stage
and amphitheater are dedicated as the "Stan Rogers Memorial Canopy".
The festival is firmly fixed in tradition, with Rogers' song "The Mary
Ellen Carter" being sung by all involved, including the audience and a
medley of acts at the festival. The Canmore Folk
Music Festival is
Alberta's longest running folk music festival.
Urkult Näsåker, Ångermanland held August each year is purportedly
Sweden's largest world-music festival.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Traditional music.
Anthology of American Folk Music
List of classical and art music traditions
List of folk festivals
Roud Folk Song Index
The Voice of the People anthology of UK folk songs
Notes and references
^ Ruehl, Kim. "Folk Music". About.com definition. Retrieved August 18,
^ a b c d The Never-Ending Revival by Michael F. Scully University of
Illinois Press Urbana and Chicago 2008 ISBN 978-0-252-03333-9
^ a b c d e f g Percy Scholes, The Oxford Companion to Music, OUP
1977, article "Folk Song".
^ A.L.Lloyd, Folk Song in England, Panther Arts, 1969, p. 13.
^ Middleton, Richard, Studying Popular Music, Philadelphia: Open
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Folk Alliance International Prominent folk music organization
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Library, University of Colorado Boulder
Free scores of
Folk music in the Choral Public Domain Library
Free scores (songs) at www.traditional-songs.com
The short film "To Hear Your
Banjo Play (1947)" is available for free
download at the Internet Archive
England project, World and Traditional Music
section at the British Library Sound Archive
The Folk File: A Folkie's Dictionary by Bill Markwick (1945-2017) -
musical definitions and short biographies for American and U.K. Folk
musicians and groups. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
Industrial folk song
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Lists of traditions
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Rhyme (Nursery rhyme)
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