Folk Dance Music: A List of Must-Haves

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking to get your folk dance music collection started? Check out this list of must-haves! From classic tunes to modern hits, we’ve got you covered.


Folk dance music is a genre that encompasses many different styles of music from around the world. It is often heard at weddings, parties, and other celebrations. While there is no one definitive list of must-have folk dance tunes, there are some songs that are commonly played at these events. This article will provide a list of ten popular folk dance songs that are sure to get your feet moving.

“A Good Heart” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
“All Night Long” by Lionel Richie
“Baila Morena” by Zucchero
“Cotton-Eyed Joe” by Rednex
“Footloose” by Kenny Loggins
“The Gipsy Rover” by The Dubliners
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
“La Bamba” by Richie Valens
“Macarena (Bali Version)” byLos Del Rio
“[We’re Gonna] Rock Around the Clock]” by Bill Haley & His Comets

What is Folk Dance Music?

Folk dance music is a type of music that is specifically designed for dancing. This type of music is often upbeat and lively, making it perfect for dancing. Folk dance music is also often very diverse, which makes it perfect for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Characteristics of Folk Dance Music

Folk dance music is a genre of music that is often accompanied by folk dancing. This type of music is usually created by folk singers and folk musicians, and it often has a traditional or cultural feel to it. Folk dance music often has a strong beat and can be quite catchy, making it perfect for dancing. There are many different sub-genres of folk dance music, but some of the most popular include Celtic, Medieval, Renaissance, Eastern European, and Scandinavian.

Types of Folk Dance Music

Folk dance music is a type of traditional music that is usually performed by folk dancers. It can be either instrumental or vocal. The term “folk dance music” can also refer to the specific music genres that are often played at folk dances, such as square dance, contra dance, and English country dance.

Folk dance music is typically simple and repetitive, with a strong beat that is easy to follow. The melodies are often catchy and easy to remember. Many folk dances are danced in pairs or groups, so the music is usually written for these formations.

There are many different types of folk dance music from all over the world. Some of the most popular folk dances and their associated music genres include:

-Square dancing: Traditional square dance music is usually fast-paced with a 4/4 time signature and a moderate tempo. The melodies are often catchy and easy to remember, making them perfect for dancing. Some popular square dance tunes include “Red River Valley” and “Cripple Creek”.

-Contra dancing: Contra dancing is a type of community dancing that originated in New England in the 18th century. The music for contra dancing is typically fast-paced with a 2/2 or 4/4 time signature and a moderate to fast tempo. Popular contra dance tunes include “Money Musk” and “Devil’s Dream”.

-English country dancing: English country dancing originated in the 16th century and was later brought to America by British colonists. The music for English country dancing is typically in a 3/4 time signature and has a moderate tempo. Popular English country dances tunes include “Greensleeves” and “Portsmouth”.

The History of Folk Dance Music

Folk dance music is music that is meant to be danced to, either by oneself or with a partner. It is often upbeat and lively, making it perfect for both social and recreational dancing.

The history of folk dance music is long and varied, with influence from all over the world. While the specific origins of many folk dances and their associated music are unknown, they often have roots in traditional cultural dances. For example, Irish dancing and its accompanying music has origins in Celtic culture, while square dancing and Appalachian clogging both have roots in English country dancing.

Folk dance music has been enjoyed by people of all ages for centuries, and its popularity continues to this day. There are many different types of folk dance music to choose from, so there is sure to be something to suit everyone’s taste. Whether you are looking for traditional tunes or more modern takes on the genre, here is a list of must-have folk dance songs:

-The Irish Washerwoman
-The Black Nag
– moneymusk
-Mairi’s Wedding Reel
-The Lancers Quadrille
-Devil’s Dream
-The Pennsylvania Polka
-Down Yonder
-Turkey in the Straw

The Importance of Folk Dance Music

Folk dance music is an important part of any folk dancing event or party. It helps to set the mood and provide a backdrop for the dancers. Without the right music, folk dancing can seem dull and choreographed.

There are many different types of folk dance music, and the best way to find out what will work best for your event is to talk to a folk dance music expert. They can help you choose the right songs and even provide playlist suggestions.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing folk dance music:
-The tempo should be appropriate for the type of dance being performed.
-The lyrics should be appropriate for all ages.
-The instruments used should be traditional for the style of music being played.
-The musi

How to Use Folk Dance Music

Folk Dance Music can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to teach children about different cultures, it can be used to teach people about the history of their own culture, and it can be used to entertain people at parties or other events. Folk Dance Music can also be used to help people relax and unwind after a long day.

In the Classroom

Folk dance music can be a great way to get students up and moving while also teaching them about different cultures. There are many different types of folk dance music from around the world, so you can choose to focus on dances from a particular region or culture. You can also use folk dance music as a way to teach about history, as many traditional dances have been passed down through generations.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using folk dance music in the classroom. First, you’ll want to make sure that the music is appropriate for the age and ability level of your students. Some folk dances can be quite complex, so it’s important to choose music that your students will be able to follow along with. You’ll also want to consider the tempo of the music – some folk dances are very fast-paced, while others are more relaxed.

Once you’ve chosen the right music, you’ll need to teach your students the basic steps of the dance. Many folk dances are easy to learn, but some may require a bit more practice. You can find instructional videos or written descriptions of various folk dances online or in library books. Once your students have learned the steps, they’ll be ready to start dancing!

In the Dance Studio

Folk dance music is a great way to add excitement and energy to your dance classes. This type of music has a wide range of styles, including country, bluegrass, folk-rock, and traditional folk. It can be used for all types of dancing, from square dancing and line dancing to clogging and contra dancing.

There are many ways to use folk dance music in the dance studio. One popular way is to create a mix of songs that you can use for warm-ups, across the floor exercises, and combinations. Another way is to use folk songs as the basis for choreography. You can create dances that tell a story or that are based on the steps and formations of traditional folk dances.

If you want to use folk dance music in your classes but are not sure where to start, check out this list of must-haves. These songs will get your students moving and are sure to be hits in your class!


There you have it! These are just a few of the must-have folk dance tunes that should be in your music collection. With such a wide variety of folk dances to choose from, there is truly something for everyone. So get out there and start dancing!

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