Folk music or traditional music as most people call it does not usually have a written source. It is passed on from generation to generation through repetition often by the word of mouth.
Singing songs often becomes an activity that promotes a feeling of community and togetherness. Therefore, it was perhaps with the formation of human communities that folk music also originated.
America and Folk Music
Every clan, region, country has its own distinctive tradition of folk music. American folk music, known as Americana had different kinds of music, which have now developed into the new age musical genres like jazz and blues. Well known musicians like Bob Dylan and Peter Seeger have kept the traditional root music alive through their musical compositions.
A Definition of Folk Music
The pastoral tradition has always been commonly identified with folk music. The identification perhaps comes from the fact that both discuss the past and its perfection. However, it is important to understand that there is no particular definition for folk music, which is acceptable universally.
Changing Folk Music Traditions
As there is no written account of different folk songs. More often than not, there is some alteration in the technique or the lyrics of a song by the time it has traveled from one generation to the next. In addition, perhaps because folk music is the music of the common people, the songs change along with the changing face of popular culture. Popular music along with the role that the media plays in defining popular culture is perhaps one of the most crucial factors responsible for the gradual disappearance of traditional folk music.
Attempts to Rescue Folk Music
A number of scholars anxious about what they were losing took a number of steps to rescue folk music from time to time. Such efforts started as early as the 19th century with people like Francis James Child. Bertrand Bronson is a 20th century scholar involved in this project.
It is essential to realize that the trend of folk music subsuming into popular music genres is inevitable due to the prevalent market economy. The traditional musical genres are reinvented through the use of new musical instruments, like the electric guitar. The origin of the genre of country music is a case in point.