The Best Books About Folk Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best books about folk music? Look no further! This blog post covers the top five books about folk music, including both fiction and non-fiction titles.

Introduction to Folk Music

The term “folk music” conjures up a variety of images, from pilgrim songs and protest anthems to traditional ballads and contemporary singer-songwriters. It is music that is passed down from generation to generation, often by word of mouth, and allows us to connect with our cultural heritage.

Folk music can be divided into several different subgenres, each with its own unique history and character. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular folk styles, as well as some of the best books about folk music for those who want to learn more.

Books about Folk Music
If you’re looking for a comprehensive introduction to folk music, then The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music is a great place to start. This massive volume covers everything from the origins of folk music to the present day, and includes entries on over 2,000 artists from around the world.

For those interested in a more focused approach, The Cambridge Companion to Folk Music offers in-depth essays on various aspects of the genre, including its history, traditions, and influence on popular culture. This book also includes a CD of traditional folk songs, which is a nice bonus.

If you’re specifically interested in American folk music, then Nathalie Marinelli’s American Folk Music: A Regional Encyclopedia is an essential reference. This massive work contains over 1,000 entries on every aspect of the subject, from individual songs and artists to specific regions and styles.

Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more light-hearted, then John Cohen’s There Is No Eye: Photography in the American Folk Tradition is a great choice. This coffee table book features over 200 photographs of folk musicians taken by Cohen during his travels across America in the 1960s.

A Brief History of Folk Music

Most music historians credit the beginning of the folk music revival in the United States to the work of two men: Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. In the 1940s, these two musicians popularized folk music through their performances and recordings, which were often inspired by the work of traditional folk musicians from earlier generations.

The popularity of folk music continued to grow in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks in part to the success of artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Folk music became increasingly influential in popular culture, as its simple melodies and messages of peace and love resonated with many young people during a time of social upheaval.

The folk music revival ultimately led to the rise of other genres, including country rock and protest singer-songwriter. Today, folk music is enjoyed by listeners all over the world, thanks to its ability to tell stories, evoke emotions, and bring people together.

The Origins of Folk Music

Folk music has been around for centuries, and it’s origins can be traced back to the medieval era. Since then, it has evolved and been enriched by various cultures from around the world. Today, there is a wealth of different genres and styles of folk music to enjoy.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional folk ballads or modern interpretations of folk songs, there are plenty of great books out there that explore the history and evolution of this genre. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best books about folk music.

The Evolution of Folk Music

Folk music is a genre of music that arose out of the everyday lives of people. It is music that is passed down from generation to generation, usually within a certain community. Folk music often reflects the culture of the people who create it.

The origins of folk music can be traced back to the medieval era. At that time, most music was created for religious purposes and was not meant to be enjoyed by the general public. Over time, however, people began to create their own music for entertainment purposes. This led to the development of folk music.

Folk music has evolved over time, and it continues to do so today. In the past, folk music was mostly oral tradition, meaning that it was passed down from person to person rather than being written down. Today, however, many people are able to access folk music through recordings and sheet music.

There are many different types of folk music from all over the world. Some common examples include American Folk Music, British Folk Music, and Celtic Folk Music.

The Various Types of Folk Music

Folk music is a genre of music that typically uses acoustic instruments and aims to reflect the traditional music of a people or region. Folk music encompasses a wide variety of styles, from the traditional music of a region to the work songs of sailors or cowboys. It can be divided into two broad categories: traditional folk music and contemporary folk music.

Traditional folk music is the folkloric music of a particular group of people, usually passed down orally from generation to generation. This type of folk music often has roots in the oral tradition of storytelling and usually celebrates the history, culture, and values of a particular group of people.

Contemporary folk music is a more modern style of folk music that often incorporates elements from other genres, such as pop, rock, or jazz. This type of folk music is often more reflective of the personal experiences and values of the artist, rather than the history or culture of a particular group of people.

The Popularity of Folk Music

The popularity of folk music has been on the rise in recent years, with people of all ages enjoying its simple, elegant sound. While the popularity of folk music is nothing new, the 21st century has seen a resurgence in its popularity, with more people than ever before turning to this genre for their musical needs.

There are a number of reasons for this renewed interest in folk music. One of the most significant is that folk music is seen as being more authentic than other genres, such as pop or rock. In a world where people are increasingly disconnected from one another, there is something appealing about music that is grounded in real human experience and emotions.

Another reason for the popularity of folk music is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Unlike some other genres, which may be geared towards a particular demographic, folk music appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds. This makes it an ideal choice for people who are looking for music that they can enjoy with family and friends.

If you are interested in exploring the world of folk music, there are a number of great books that can help you get started. These books will introduce you to the history and origins of this genre, as well as some of its most popular performers. Whether you are a long-time fan or just discovering this type of music for the first time, these books will give you a better understanding of what Makes Folk Music so special.

The Influence of Folk Music

Since the beginning of the 20th century, folk music has been an important part of American culture. The genre has been used to voice political and social commentary, as well as to preserve the heritage of various cultures. Folk music is often passed down through the generations, with each new generation adding their own twists and interpretations.

There are many great books about folk music, both old and new. Here are just a few of our favorites:

The Norton Anthology of American Folk Music: This classic anthology features a wide range of folk musicians, from early balladeers to more recent performers. It’s a great way to get a feel for the history and diversity of the genre.

Folk Songs of North America: This comprehensive book includes more than 1,600 traditional folk songs from all over the continent. It’s perfect for both casual listeners and serious students of folk music.

The Ballad of Shirley Collie: This is a moving novel about a young woman who joins the British Folk Revival in the 1960s. It’s a great read for anyone interested in learning more about this period in music history.

The Future of Folk Music

Folk music has been around for centuries, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. This type of music is unique in its ability to adapt to the times and change with the times while still managed to maintain its traditions. Here are some books that discuss the future of folk music and what the genre might look like in the years to come.

The Best Folk Music Books

Folk music is a genre of music that is typically passed down from generation to generation orally. Folk music often has a regional or national focus, and it can be a great way to learn about the music and culture of a particular area.

If you’re interested in learning more about folk music, there are a number of great books that can help you get started. Here are a few of the best:

-The Best Folk Music Books:
1) Folk Songs of North America, by Alan Lomax
2) The Folk songs of Britain, the United States and Australia, by Cecil J Sharp
3) Folk Music: A Regional Exploration, by John Rice
4) The Roots of Country Music, by William Ferris
5)American Folksongs for Children, by Ruth Crawford Seeger


In conclusion, the best books about folk music are a great way to learn more about the genre and its many subgenres. Whether you’re looking for a history lesson, an in-depth look at a particular artist, or just want to find some new music to listen to, these books have something for everyone.

Similar Posts