The Rise of Nationalism Resulted in an Interest in Folklore and Folk Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The rise of nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to an increased interest in folk music and folklore. This blog will explore the history of nationalism and folk music, and how they have interacted over the years.

The rise of Nationalism

Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation’s sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. The rise of nationalism in Europe in the 1800s led to an increase in interest in folk culture and folk music.

Nationalism leads to an interest in Folklore

Folklore is the traditional art, literature, knowledge, and practice that is disseminated largely by word of mouth or by custom. Nationalism is an ideological, political, and social movement advocating the self-determination and interests of a particular nation.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as nations began to form and coalesce, there was a corresponding rise in nationalism. This led to an increased interest in folklore and folk music as people began to look to their own traditions and history for a sense of identity and pride.

Folklore encompasses everything from traditional songs and stories to customs and belief systems. It can be passed down orally or in written form, and it often has a local or regional focus. As nationalism spread, so too did the idea that each nation had its own unique folklore that was worth preserving and celebrating.

This interest in folklore led to the establishment of folk museums and other institutions dedicated to its study and preservation. It also spurred the recording and publication of traditional songs and stories, as well as the creation of new works inspired by folk traditions. Folk music became increasingly popular, with artists like Joseph Haydn, Robert Schumann, Hector Berlioz, and Frederic Chopin writing works based on folk themes. In the twentieth century, composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Bela Bartok, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich ,and Sergei Prokofiev incorporated folk elements into their music.

The rise of nationalism also had a significant impact on the way we think about folklore today. The study of folklore became formalized in academia with the establishment of university departments devoted to its investigation. And as more people became interested in understanding the roots of their own culture, they turned to folklore as a source of information and inspiration.

Folklore and Folk Music

Nationalism in the late 19th century led to an increased interest in folklore and folk music. This was because people were interested in their own cultures and wanted to learn more about them. This led to the rise of folk museums and folk music festivals.

What is Folklore?

Folklore is a type of literature that is oral in tradition. It includes fairy tales, ballads, myths, and legends. The word “folklore” comes from the two words “folk” and “lore.” Folk means people, and lore means knowledge or wisdom. Therefore, folklore is the wisdom of the people.

Folklore has been around since people started telling stories. It was passed down orally from generation to generation. The stories were often about heroes, gods, and goddesses. They were used to explain natural phenomena and teach lessons about right and wrong.

With the rise of nationalism in the 19th century, there was a renewed interest in folklore. Scholars began collecting folktales from all over Europe. They also started studying the music and customs of different folk groups.

What is Folk Music?

Folk music is the music of the people, and it has been around since people started making music. Folk music is usually passed down from one generation to the next, and it is often about the everyday lives of the people who sing it.

Folk music can be about anything, but it often tells stories about love, loss, work, and play. Folk songs can be sad, happy, or anywhere in between. They can be about any topic, and they are usually easy to sing and remember.

Folk music is usually performed on acoustic instruments, such as guitars, banjos, fiddles, and harmonicas. But anything can be a folk instrument, as long as it is played by someone who loves folk music.

The Relationship Between Folklore and Folk Music

Folklore and folk music have always been intertwined. The rise of nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to a renewed interest in the folk traditions of various countries. This in turn led to a renewed interest in folk music. Folk music was seen as a way to express the national identity of a country.

How are Folklore and Folk Music Connected?

Folklore and folk music are connected in a number of ways. Folklore is a broad term that can refer to any kind of story or song that is passed down from person to person, often within a certain culture or community. Folk music, on the other hand, is a type of music that is also passed down from generation to generation, but typically has a more specific musical style.

One of the most important ways that folklore and folk music are connected is through the oral tradition. This is the process by which stories and songs are passed down from one person to another without being written down. This tradition is especially common in cultures where literacy rates are low, but it can also be found in literate cultures as well.

The oral tradition is an important part of both folklore and folk music because it allows these stories and songs to be passed down in their original form. This means that they can change over time, depending on who is telling them and how they are being told. This changing nature is one of the things that makes both folklore and folk music so fascinating.

Another way that folklore and folk music are connected is through the use of traditional instruments. Many folk songs are written for instruments that are traditional to the culture or region where they come from. This helps to create a unique sound that can be associated with a particular place.

The connection between folklore and folk music also extends to the subjects of the stories and songs themselves. Many folk songs deal with topics such as love, loss, work, and death. These are all things that people have experienced throughout history, which is why these songs can resonate so deeply with listeners.

Finally, another way that folklore and folk music are connected is through the emotions that they evoke. Both of these genres often deal with topics that can be quite emotional, such as love or loss. This can create a strong connection between the artist and the listener, as they share in these emotions together.

The Significance of Folklore and Folk Music

The rise of nationalism in the early 1800s led to an increased interest in folklore and folk music. This was a time when people were interested in their heritage and culture. Folklore and folk music were a way for people to connect with their past.

Why is Folklore and Folk Music Important?

Folklore and folk music play an important role in the lives of people around the world. For many, these traditions are a source of identity and pride. They can also provide a sense of community and shared history.

Folklore and folk music can be used to promote understanding and respect for other cultures. They can also help us to appreciate the diversity of our own culture. By learning about other cultures through their folklore and music, we can gain a greater understanding of our own heritage.

Folklore and folk music are also an important part of the historical record. They can provide us with insight into the beliefs and customs of past generations. Folk songs, in particular, often contain important information about historical events. For example, many folk songs were created during times of war or political upheaval. These songs can give us a valuable perspective on these events.

Folklore and folk music are occasionally resurrected by popular culture. This happens when elements of these traditions are used in mainstream media. This can result in increased interest in and appreciation for these traditions.

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