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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
blt BS: What isn't Folk? (102* d) RE: BS: What isn't Folk? 22 Aug 01

Well, I wanted to say something about the a comment someone wrote about music genres that appear to have no "tradition" behind them, such as hip-hop. Actually, hip-hop does have a tradition, which includes work chants, blues, and jazz (especially improvisation), as well as rock and roll. I personally believe that all music forms we currently hear emerge from some sort of previous tradition or structure/images/rhythms/scales/plot lines/political perspectives. I think of folk as being distinct from other genres because of the issue of tradition--the folk tradition itself is distinct. Lines may be blurred because two (or more) genres can share some aspects--jazz and folk both use improvisation, both pass melodies down from one musician to another--but the melody and chording is different, the instruments are often different, the performance style is different. I don't think I would mistake a folk song for a jazz riff, but that is not to say that a jazz tune couldn't move in a folk direction or vice versa. It seems that we need a new way to imagine this whole discussion because the descriptions I've read so far seem to require a clear and discrete definition of what folk music is or isn't, as if the reality is that clear and that discrete. IMO, folk music has a depth and quality that isn't necessarily willing to fit into a category. Or, it may fit one definition for a while then slide off in another direction. Folk has a life, it resembles the inter-relatedness of family and friends more than it resembles a stack of dictionaries, if that makes any sense.


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