Discovering Folk Music from France

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Discovering Folk Music from France is a blog that explores the different types of folk music that can be found in France. From the traditional to the modern, there is a wealth of music to be discovered.

What is Folk Music?

Folk music is a type of music that is passed down through oral tradition. It is music that is created by the people, for the people. Folk music is usually based on the traditions of a particular culture or region. It is often used to express the history, beliefs, and values of the people who create it.

Defining Folk Music

At its simplest, folk music is music by and for the people. It is passed down orally, through playing and singing, and is often about the daily lives of the people. It has been around for centuries, and due to its nature, has changed and evolved over time.

Folk music is typically simple in form and melody. The lyrics are often about real life, love, loss, work, and death. They tell stories of the everyday lives of the people who sing them. The songs are meant to be sung by everyone, not just professional musicians.

In Europe, folk music has been around since the Middle Ages. In France, it began to take on a more modern form in the 19th century with the arrival of Romanticism. This new wave of folk music was characterized by its use of new instrumentation like the piano and accordion, as well as its focus on emotions and personal expression.

Folk music continued to evolve in the 20th century with the arrival of new technologies like recording devices and radio. This allowed for a wider dissemination of folk music, which in turn led to new styles and genres emerging.

Today, folk music can be found all over the world. It has been influenced by many different cultures and continues to evolve as new generations discover it.

The Origins of Folk Music

Folk music is music that has been passed down orally from one generation to the next. It is music that is not written down, but instead passed on through singing and performance. Folk music has its roots in the oral traditions of cultures around the world.

Folk music often reflects the traditions and culture of a particular region or country. In France, for example, folk music is often reflective of the country’s rural regions and traditional values. French folk music often includes instruments such as the accordion, fiddle, and bagpipe.

Folk music is typically passed down from one generation to the next within a community. In some cases, folk songs may be written down and published, but it is more common for folk songs to be learned by ear. This tradition of sharing music orally ensures that folk songs remain a part of the living culture, rather than becoming stagnant and outdated.

Folk music is an important part of many cultures around the world and offers a window into the history and traditions of those cultures.

Folk Music in France

France is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and its folk music is no exception. Traditional French folk music has been around for centuries, and it is still popular today. There are many different types of folk music in France, and each has its own unique history and sound. If you’re interested in learning more about French folk music, read on.

The History of French Folk Music

The term “folk music” can be somewhat misleading when used to describe the music of France. Although there are indeed folk songs that have been passed down through the generations, most of the music that is considered “folk” in France is actually quite modern. In fact, the majority of French folk songs were composed in the 20th century by professional songwriters who were inspired by traditional folk styles. These songs were then popularized by famous performers such as Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, and Charles Trenet.

Despite its relatively recent origins, French folk music has played an important role in the country’s musical culture. Folk songs have been used as a vehicle for social and political commentary, and they have also served as a source of inspiration for many of France’s most famous pop and rock stars. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in French folk music, both among listeners and performers. This resurgence has been due in part to the efforts of contemporary Folk singers like Manu Chao and Feu! Chatterton, who have brought this unique genre to a new generation of fans.

The Different Types of French Folk Music

Folk music in France typically falls into two categories: folk music from the north and folk music from the south. The music from the north is more Celtic in origin, while the music from the south has more of a Mediterranean influence.

The music from the north of France is characterized by its use of the bagpipe, which is known as the biniou in this region. This type of folk music is often played at festivals and parties, and it tends to be lively and upbeat.

The music from the south of France is typically more restrained and melodic. It often features instruments such as the accordion and flute, and it sometimes has a Spanish or Italian influence. This type of folk music is often used for dancing, and it can be quite sentimental in tone.

The Popularity of French Folk Music Today

Though its popularity has diminished significantly in the past few decades, French folk music is still alive and well in some parts of the country. Most notably, the northern region of Brittany has kept the tradition alive, with popular songs and dances being passed down from generation to generation.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in French folk music, both in Brittany and elsewhere in France. This has been due in part to the efforts of traditional folk groups who have been performing and recording traditional songs and dances. These groups have also been teaching folk music and dance to children and young people, helping to ensure that the tradition will continue into the future.

How to Discover Folk Music from France

There are many ways to discover folk music from France. You can start by listening to folk radio stations, searching for folk music festivals online, or looking for websites that specialize in folk music from France. You can also try attending a folk music concert or workshop, or visiting a local folk music club. Whatever method you choose, make sure you take the time to explore and enjoy the many different types of folk music from France.

Finding Folk Music Festivals

One of the best ways to discover folk music from France is to attend one of the many folk music festivals held throughout the country. These festivals showcase a variety of traditional and contemporary folk bands, and offer attendees the chance to enjoy a wide range of musical styles.

Folk music festivals are usually held outdoors, and often feature camping facilities for those who wish to stay for the duration of the event. Many festivals also offer a variety of food and drink options, as well as other entertainment such as dance performances and traditional craft demonstrations.

If you’re interested in attending a folk music festival in France, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, many of these events are ticketed, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance. Secondly, most festivals take place during the summer months, so plan your trip accordingly. Finally, many french folk music festivals have an English-language website where you can find more information about the event, including schedules, ticket prices, and contact information.

Searching Online for Folk Music

The internet is a great place to start your search for folk music from France. There are many websites and online communities dedicated to French folk music, and you can often find streaming audio or video of folk concerts and festivals. You can also find online radio stations that specialize in French folk music, as well as downloadable MP3 files of folk songs.

Listening to Folk Music Radio Stations

If you’re interested in discovering folk music from France, one of the best ways to do so is by listening to folk music radio stations. There are a number of different stations that offer a variety of French folk music, and by tuning in, you’ll be able to get a sense of the different styles and traditions that exist within this genre. In addition to radio, there are also a number of websites and online streaming services that offer folk music from France, so if you’re not able to find a radio station that meets your needs, you can always explore these other options.

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