History of Folk Music

Folk music derived from the German word Volk which means the people. The music had its root in the 19th century, but most time it applied to music earlier than that. Some variety of folk music is also referred to as World music because they combine both the traditional music with the folk. Folk music was used derivatively to refer to music of the uncultured class of people. The classification differentiates the favorite European concert music of the elite and the folk.

From the 20th century, a new form of a favorite type of folk music evolved from traditional folk music. The unique style of folk music and the period is referred to as the second folk revival. The second folk revival is a combination of the folk metal, folk rock among others. The widely known contemporary folk music is different from the traditional folk music, though the same English name and sometimes share the same venues and performers some unique blend the two types together.

Woody Guthrie

As the theme improved from the standard folk music, it started to be more about telling stories no matter what the musicality and instrumentation was . The music popularly is often mentioned with folklore because of its oral mode of transmission. There is a substantial nationalist aspect to the music, and it’s hugely associated with the culture of the nation other than the artistic high brows of other genres.

Some of musicians early one were Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives and Jimmie Rogers. Of them all, Woody Guthrie is popularly credited as the first important contributor to this type of music. Some of his firsts works were focused on the difficulties of the working class around the Dust Bowl Midwest. His music was very much associated with far-left political spectrum mostly the communist and socialist. Until his death in 2014 Pete Seeger’s music was focused on the difficulties of protest music, and he was very much regarded as a Communist because of his association with the far left. Seeger was often recorded to say the world folk during is many performances and this made him turn concerts into a sing-along.

By 1965 Dylan change the tradition of folk music and started the use electric instruments. His use of apparatus marked a significant transition into popular method electro-acoustic instruments. Though not entirely accepted at the time, the use electro-acoustic instruments continues today. Although there are a lot of musicians during this time who was also victorious in the genre they did not achieve the same fame as Dylan did. Donovan, one of the first famous folk musicians from England was known as London Dylan. Jody Collins was a very powerful protester even though she did not get the same commercial success.  She was one of the musicians who followed Dylan into electrics with her recordings of Beatles songs. Peter, Mary and Paul remix of Dylan work that includes Blowing in the Win, and Don’t Think Twice also brought further recognition for Dylan, and this made the genre more popular and new mainstream.

Entering the 70s folk music continued to be the primary genre with electronic acts and acoustic, the most influential which were The Mamas; Garfunkel and Simon, The Papas; Arlo Guthrie and  John Denver, even though realistically they had each taken the genre through a different direction they foreshadowing the subgenre development come. The Papas and The Mamas were very much influenced by pop music by a lot their predecessors. Arlo Guthrie, however, continued the traditional folk sound left by his father in the 30s and Denver music was strictly country sound.

The 1980’s and beyond saw the development of a new genre base on several musical elements, or we can say the combination of multiple genres. The punk Folk genre was the most successful commercially of all the various sub-genres during this time. It combines the folk instrument with the oral storytelling. The  Murphys often classified as Celtic Punk, represent other development from folk to folk punk to Celt Punk.

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