A Generalized Overview of Folk Music
When I think about the word folk, I think about ‘people’. Folk music can also be translated as the music for the people. Just like folk literature, folk music(traditional folk music) lives in the tradition of a particular group of people. Folk music is a very old genre of music and it has been around as long as people could sing them.
Most of the time, folk music is more likely to be participatory rather than presentational , the call-response mechanism of delivery is mainly used. It is also common to hear chants and single-syllable lyrics in some folk songs. Folk music is associated with activities such as rituals, cultural activities, folk religion.
Folk songs represent the musical expressions of the common people.These songs are not composed in that they are not the works of skilled, tutored musicians. It is more accurate to say that they have been created rather than composed.These songs are ordinarily the product of an unknown person or group of persons. The credits often read: Anonymous, American Folk Song, Traditional.The words of lyrics of folk songs are usually colloquial in nature to reflect the speech patterns and expressions of a particular people or region.
Traditional folk artist are mostly unknown composers because of the long history of folk music. Folk music tends to change as it is passed down as it is learned orally rather than in written form.
Modern folk music in contrast to some traditional folk music can be learnt in written form ,as there are written lyrics accompanied with them.
A great part of American folksong is influenced by African Americans. Some of these influences are more positive than others. On one hand, “distinctly African rhythms” are present in American traditional music: rhythms that are “beyond comparison with any other music in the world”. Genres like Rap music evolved from an African-American inner-city folk tradition.
Instruments common to modern folk music include: rattles, trumpets, bag pipes, banjo, xylophone , violin, bass, clarinet. It is also common to hear chants alongside the instruments.
Modern black folk artists include Odessa, Pete Seeger,Elizabeth cotton,Tracy Chapman etc.
Example of modern black folk music