Russian Folk Music: A Genre Worth Discovering

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of world music, you definitely need to check out Russian folk music. It’s a genre that’s full of beautiful melodies and intriguing lyrics, and it’s definitely worth discovering.

So what are you waiting for? Start exploring Russian folk music today!

What is Russian Folk Music?

Russian folk music is a genre that deserves to be discovered by a wider international audience. Though it has been around for centuries, Russian folk music has only recently begun to gain popularity outside of its native country.

So what is Russian folk music? Put simply, it is the traditional music of the Russian people. It is characterized by its use of folk instruments, such as the balalaika and accordion, and often features lively dancing. Russian folk music is often divided into two categories: village music and urban music. Village music is more traditional and typically features simple melodies and lyrics that reflect the everyday life of rural Russians. Urban music, on the other hand, is more modern and often incorporates elements of Western pop music.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional Folk or modern pop, Russian Folk Music is a genre that has something for everyone. If you’re looking for a new type of Music to explore, make sure to give Russian Folk Music a listen!

The History of Russian Folk Music

Russian folk music is a genre that many people are not familiar with, but it is definitely worth discovering. This type of music has a rich history dating back centuries, and it has been influenced by a variety of different cultures.

The roots of Russian folk music can be traced back to the music of the Slavic peoples who inhabited the region before the Mongols invaded in the 13th century. After the Mongols were driven out, Russian folk music began to develop its own unique sound and style. This was influenced by the music of other cultures that came into contact with Russia, such as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic countries, and Western Europe.

By the 18th century, Russian folk music had become quite popular throughout the country. It was during this time that many of the famous folk songs that are still sung today were composed. Russian folk music continued to develop in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it remains an important part of Russian culture today.

The Different Types of Russian Folk Music

Russian folk music is a genre that has been relatively unknown in the West. It is often mistaken for being part of Eastern European folk music, but it is actually quite distinct. Russian folk music has its origins in the music of the Eastern Slavic peoples, who are the ancestors of modern Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. This music was passed down through the generations by way of oral tradition, and it has been preserved in various forms to the present day.

There are three main types of Russian folk music: village music, urban music, and court music. Village music is the oldest and most traditional type of Russian folk music. It is characterized by simple melodies and lyrics thatreflect the daily life and work of rural peasants. Urban music arose in the cities during the 18th century, and it was influenced by Western European musical traditions. Court music was created for use in the royal courts, and it is more formal than either village or urban music.

Russian folk music has been influenced by a number of different genres over time, including classical music, Gypsy music, Jewish music, and Mongolian music. As a result, Russian folk music is extremely diverse, and there are many different regional styles. Some of the most well-known regional styles include Udmurt folk music, Bashkirian folk music, Tatar folk music, Yakutian folk medicine songs, and Komi Zyrian folksongs.

The Instruments Used in Russian Folk Music

Russian folk music often features a blend of traditional Russian instruments with those that were adopted from other cultures. The most common instruments used in Russian folk music include the balalaika, bayan, gusli, kalinka, kokle, spoons, and zhaleika.

The balalaika is a three-stringed instrument that is typically plucked or strummed. It has a triangular body and a long neck. The bayan is a type of chromatic button accordion that was developed in the 19th century. It has between two and five rows of buttons and can be played solo or in an ensemble.

Gusli are ancient stringed instruments that were mentioned in Russian folktales as early as the 12th century. They can have anywhere from 5 to 18 strings and are typically played with a bow. Kalinka is a type of wooden flute that is often used in Russian folk music. It has six holes and a range of two octaves.

Kokle is a type of zither that originated in Latvia. It has between 30 and 36 strings and is played with the fingers or with small hammers. Spoons are used as percussion instruments in some Russian folk music ensembles. They are played by striking them together or against another object, such as a table top or knee.

Zhaleika is a type of single-reed horn made from birch bark or wood. It has four to six finger holes and two thumb holes, and it can be played solo or in an ensemble.

The Popularity of Russian Folk Music Today

Although Russian folk music may not be as mainstream as other genres, it is definitely enjoying a resurgence in popularity in recent years. This can be attributed to a renewed interest in traditional and world music, as well as the increasing accessibility of Russian folk music through online streaming platforms and social media.

Russian folk music is truly unique, blending elements of Eastern European and Asian musical traditions. It is often characterized by its plaintive melodies, haunting vocal harmonies, and use of traditional instruments such as the balalaika and accordion.

If you’re looking for something new to discover, or simply want to enjoy some beautiful and moving music, give Russian folk music a try – you might just be surprised by how much you like it!

Why Russian Folk Music is Worth Discovering

Russian folk music is a genre that often gets overlooked. But it is a genre that is worth discovering, as it is rich in history and culture.

The roots of Russian folk music can be traced back to the 10th century, when the first Slavic state, Kievan Rus, was founded. Russian folk music has undergone many changes over the centuries, but it has always been an important part of the country’s culture.

Today, there are many different styles of Russian folk music, from the traditional to the modern. But all of these styles share a commonality: they are all based on the folk music of Russia’s past.

If you are looking for a genre of music that is rich in history and culture, then Russian folk music is definitely worth discovering.

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