What Are The Characteristics Of Folk Songs?


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Joe McHugh answered
There are no definitive rules for folk songs but there are certain characteristics present in songs that people would label as folk songs.

A folk song is usually some sort of story from the past, there is no real definition of the past, but they tend to refer to events at least 50 years old. By creating a song out of an event it makes it easier to remember, most folk songs are of difficult or troubled times but there are some that celebrate or commemorate times of happiness. There is a certain pace to a folksong, it's not fast or racy and concentrates of the story telling aspect. Traditional instruments are generally used such as acoustic guitars and flutes.

    Folk songs are never likely to be amongst the most popular in any sales chart, but they have a long life span and tend to be enjoyed by different generations. They also tend to be more popular when performed live than in recorded mode. Throughout the world there are different types of folk songs celebrating past achievements and incidents for groups of people- mainly about surviving hard times.

    Throughout South America, across Africa and in various other parts of the world folk songs are a constant reminder to the past despite people now living in a fast developing modern world that can easily lose track of culture from the past.

    The timeless appeal of folk songs tends to make them most popular within an older age group, perhaps people who weren't originally very keen on the songs or music but as they mature the songs grow on them and retain a strange appeal that wasn't always present. That appeal ensures that they are passed down the generations- almost in the genes!

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