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music, usually of simple character and anonymous authorship, handed down among the common people by oral tradition.
music by known composers that has become part of the folk tradition of a country or region.
music that is passed on from generation to generation by oral tradition Compare art music
any music composed in the idiom of this oral tradition

1889, from folk (also cf. folklore). In reference to the branch of modern popular music (originally associated with Greenwich Village in New York City) it dates from 1958.

A kind of music originating from the ordinary people of a region or nation and continued by oral tradition. The ballad is a typical form of folk music. Music is also called “folk” when it is made by artists and composers who are inspired by, or imitate, true folk music. Composers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie are folk musicians of the second kind.


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  • Folkmoot

    [fohk-moot] /ˈfoʊkˌmut/ noun 1. (formerly, in England) a general assembly of the people of a shire, town, etc. /ˈfəʊkˌmuːt/ noun 1. (in early medieval England) an assembly of the people of a district, town, or shire

  • Folknik

    [fohk-nik] /ˈfoʊk nɪk/ noun, Slang. 1. a devotee or performer of folk music. noun A folk-music devotee or enthusiast (1960s+) Related Terms -nik

  • Folkright

    [fohk-rahyt] /ˈfoʊkˌraɪt/ noun 1. a law or right of the people as opposed to that of the privileged classes.

  • Folk-rock

    noun 1. a style of music combining characteristics of rock-‘n’-roll and folk music, often exemplified by protest songs to a rock-‘n’-roll beat, and at its height of popularity in the late 1960s. noun 1. a style of rock music influenced by folk, including traditional material arranged for electric instruments

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