My Music: Folk

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Welcome to my music blog! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about folk music, from its history and origins to modern artists keeping the genre alive. I’ll also be sharing my personal favorite folk songs and albums, so be sure to check back often!


Folk music is a genre of music that typically uses acoustic instruments and encompasses a wide range of styles. While there is no one defining characteristic of folk music, it is often based on traditional music or on modern compositions that incorporate traditional elements. Folk music can be found all over the world, and it has been shaped by many different cultures and influences.

The Origins of Folk Music

Folk music is a genre of music that is typically passed down orally from generation to generation. It is often associated with the working class and rural areas. Folk music often includes traditional instruments such as the fiddle, accordion, and penny whistle. The term “folk music” can also be used to describe a song that has been passed down orally and is not associated with any particular artist or genre.

The British Isles

Folk music has been around for centuries and its origins can be traced back to the British Isles. In the past, folk music was usually passed down from generation to generation, and it was often used as a way to tell stories or communicate messages. Today, folk music is still popular in many parts of the world, and it has even influenced other genres of music.

There are many different types of folk music, but some of the most popular styles come from the British Isles. This includes Celtic folk music, which is popular in Ireland and Scotland, and Anglo-Saxon folk music, which is found in England and Wales. There is also a type of folk music called maritime folk music, which comes from the maritime provinces of Canada. Maritime folk music is similar to Celtic folk music in terms of its sound and instruments, but it also includes elements of French Canadian culture.

The United States

Folk music in the United States is often used to refer to music tradition that came about after settlers from Europe arrived in the country. It is a broad category of music that includes music traditions from all over the world, including England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Africa.

Some of the most popular folk songs in the United States are “The Streets of Laredo,” “The House of the Rising Sun,” and “The Wabash Cannonball.” Folk music is often passed down from generation to generation, and it continues to be an important part of American culture today.

The Characteristics of Folk Music

Folk music is a genre of music that typically uses acoustic instruments and is often based on traditional music. It is often considered to be simple and stripped down compared to other genres of music. Folk music often tells stories and is passed down through generations.


Folk music is a genre of music that is typically passed down orally within a culture, and it often has a story or message behind it. The lyrics of folk songs are usually about real-life events, and they often contain elements of the culture they come from, such as history, traditio`n, and family. Folk songs are typically shorter than other genres of music, and they are usually easy to remember.


Instrumentation in folk music is often limited to acoustic string instruments, such as banjo, acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and ukulele, as well as harmonicas. Other common instruments include the accordion, piano, concertina, washboard, spoons, and jug.


Folk music almost always has simple melodies. The tunes are easy to remember, and many people can sing or whistle the melody without knowing how to read music. The tunes are often reused for different songs, with new words (or “texts”) added. This is one reason why folk music can be passed down from generation to generation; it’s easy to remember. The melodies of folk songs also tend to be repetitive. This makes them easy to sing, and also helps the listener remember the tune. There are usually only a few different notes in a folk tune, and the melody often stays within a limited range (it doesn’t go up and down the scale too much).

Contemporary Folk Music

Folk music has been around for centuries, and it’s still as popular as ever. Thanks to the internet, contemporary folk music has a wider audience than ever before. If you’re a fan of folk music, you’ll love the selection of contemporary folk artists out there.

The Folk Revival

During the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, performers such as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Pete Seeger brought traditional folk songs to a wider audience. In the same way, contemporary folk musicians are keeping the tradition alive by performing songs that were popular in earlier decades.

Folk music has always been about two things: telling stories and singing about the human experience. The songs are usually about love, loss, heartache, and death, but they can also be funny or lighthearted. Contemporary folk musicians are carrying on this tradition by writing and performing their own songs, as well as covering traditional folk songs.

Some of the most popular contemporary folk musicians include Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, John Prine, and Emmylou Harris. These artists have all helped to shape the sound of contemporary folk music.


Folk-rock is a musical genre that developed in the United Kingdom and the United States during the mid-1960s. It combines elements of folk music and rock music, and is sometimes seen as a branch of pop music. A number of major mainstream artists have been referred to as folk rock, including Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, the Byrds, Pentangle, Richard Thompson, Michael Hurley, Donovan, Lonnie Doneganand Tom Paxton. The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney made a deliberate attempt to incorporate elements of the rapidly evolving genre into their songwriting on Rubber Soul (1965) and Revolver (1966).

New Folk

In recent years, a new wave of folk artists has emerged, bringing the genre into the 21st century. These artists are often inspired by traditional folk music, but they also incorporate other styles, such as rock, pop, and country. As a result, their music sounds fresh and original while still maintaining the warm, down-to-earth vibe that is characteristic of folk.

Some of the most popular contemporary folk artists include Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, and The Avett Brothers. If you’re looking for something new to listen to, these artists are a great place to start.

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