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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,colin Holt Definition of folk song (137* d) RE: Definition of folk song 04 Sep 14

This topic seems to come up on this site over and over .. which perhaps emphasises a lack of complete clarity on the subject. Like many I suspect, I've never quite understood what "Folk music" means. In fact I spent some years fearing that I was missing something.
For my own part, I've drifted through musical styles, from fumbling around on acoustic guitars, to local folk clubs, through prog rock (long songs with lots of solo's) in my early 20's, through jazz-rock, (long songs with complicated solo's) in my late 20's, then out through the other end to where I began, writing and performing songs on an acoustic guitar. Its always been about the writing for me, and I have to put some weight behind the view that a good song will last, whatever genre other people decide to put it in.

To broaden the issue for a moment, it doesn't just stop with Folk Music, what is Classical Music.? You only have to listen to Classic FM for 20 minutes (whilst cleaning out the goldfish bowl), to realise how confusing the whole concept is. Can Carl Jenkins really be considered as a writer of Classical music? well apparently so?. Doesn't he just write music.?
We are told by the discerning that classical music is "Serious Music"?
Well hang on, I can't take that, how condescending does that sound??

However, what is Folk? What is it?? It seems to me that some artists write something or perform an interpretation of something else, which allows them passage into the "Folk Circle". Music, which has "Roots in the tradition style", is a statement I have heard on many occasions, as an explanation for what Folk Music is. However, no one, as yet, has been able to explain to me what "writing in the traditional style" actually means.

In the end, does it really matter? In my humble opinion, music is what it is, and it either does it for you, or it doesn't.
Songs are what they are. They move you or they don't. There are no rules and nothing is right or wrong.
Personally, I'm moved in a similar way, and just as much by Chris Wood singing "Summerfield Avenue", as I am by the Kinks singing "Waterloo Sunset", or by Hatfield and the North singing "It didn't Matter Anyway".
Once written, good songs stay the duration. Wasn't it Joni Mitchell said "Songs are like tattoos y'know".
Just my two penneth in swift haste and with respect

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