Friday, February 17, 2017


It is a term coined to denote both traditional as well as contemporary music. The traditional music has been a part of the village life as well as its contemporary forms. All come under the purview of the folk music or the "roots music as it is otherwise known. The composers, lyricist and the artists are all unknown as the entire village or town folks gather to play this genre of music to pass their time as well as the age old tradition of singing the songs passed on to them. Therefore, there is no particular person but an entire society which is responsible for this kind of music.

English: Armenian folk musicians.
Armenian folk musicians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many specialty genres of the folk music such as:

- Radical folk
- Anti folk
- Folk punk or rogue folk
- Indie folk
- Techno-folk
- Freak folk
- Americana
Whereas the fusion genres are enumerated as:
- Folk metal
- Progressive folk
- Psychedelic folk and
- Neo folk

Traditional folk music has a lot of characteristics. Some of them are enumerated as follows:

- It is not time or era specific, rather it is culture specific. Different kind of folk has come up owing to the natural geography of the area and the prevalent customs.
- It is passed on the coming generations as a 'word of mouth' instead of being handwritten or via any other media. It is only off late that the technology has enabled us to do so and preserve the culture in various ways.
- This kind of music is a natural way of cohesion among various ethnic groups. In fact, this is how one gets to see variation in the folk music. Today, contemporary music is a unique blend of all the cultures and places that it has traveled.
- This genre of music is not anybody's intellectual property. Therefore, there is no copyright. In fact, more than an individual, it belongs to the entire society.
- This kind of music predominantly celebrates the life and its various forms. One can get to hear songs for birth, death, marriage, harvest and other daily or routine activities of life.
- The lyrics are extremely meaningful as they are mostly about life faced by the people.

Contemporary folk music:

Today, the term folk music has acquired a different term altogether in its contemporary form. It is no longer the narrative verses of people and their activities anymore such as hymns, religious music, Gregorian chants, instrumental music, dance music etc. The contemporary form of this genre is a little vague. This period in time especially the 1960s where the contemporary form reached the peak is known as the 'folk revival' period.

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