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What Is Folk Music

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Music Gateway Team


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Folk Music

Folk music is a genre of music that has been passed down through generations and has a deep cultural significance. It is a type of music that is typically rooted in traditional music and is often associated with rural and working-class communities. It is often characterized by its simple melodies, lyrics that tell stories, and instruments that are typically found in a traditional setting.

This article will explore the history of folk music, its different forms, and its influence on other genres of music.

What is Folk music?

Folk music is a genre of music that is passed down through generations, typically through oral tradition. It often has roots in the traditional music of a particular culture and is often seen as a reflection of the traditional values, beliefs, and stories of a particular culture.

It has a strong connection to nature and may be used to tell stories, express emotions, and celebrate special occasions. It often uses traditional instruments and is usually performed in a simple, acoustic style.


Folk music is a genre of music that has been around for centuries. It has its roots in the traditional music of different cultures and regions around the world. Often, it is passed down orally from generation to generation, and it is often seen as a way to preserve the culture and history of a particular group of people.

The earliest known form of folk music dates back to the Middle Ages when minstrels and troubadours travelled around Europe singing songs about courtly love and heroic deeds. This music was often accompanied by lutes, fiddles, and other instruments.

During the Renaissance, it became more popular and began to be used for religious and political purposes. This period also saw the emergence of folk music in the Americas. Instruments such as the guitar, banjo, and harmonica were introduced to the New World, and traditional European folk tunes were adapted to fit the new musical styles.

In the 19th century, it was used to express the struggles of working-class people. Songs such as “The Red Flag” and “The Internationale” became anthems of the labour movement. During this time, it began to spread to other parts of the world, including the United States, where it was popularized by groups such as the Carter Family and the Weavers.

In the 20th century, folk music experienced a resurgence in popularity, thanks to the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. This period saw the emergence of iconic folk singers such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger. It also began to be used in popular culture, with songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” becoming anthems of the civil rights and anti-war movements.

Today, folk music is still popular in many parts of the world. It is often used to express the struggles of marginalized groups and to celebrate cultural traditions. Folk music continues to evolve, with new styles and genres emerging all the time.

Our top picks:

“The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals

“This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie

“You Are My Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” by Pete Seeger

Impact on the industry

Folk music has had a significant impact on the music industry. It has been a major influence on genres such as rock, country, and pop music. Many popular artists have been inspired by folk music, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and The Beatles. Folk music has also been used in film soundtracks and commercials. Its influence has been felt in the growth of the independent music scene, with many independent artists incorporating elements of folk music into their sound. Folk music has also been used to promote social causes, such as the civil rights movement and environmentalism.


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