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Folk Music Online

Throughout most of human prehistory and history, listening to recorded music was not possible. Music was made by common people during both their work and leisure. The work of economic production was often manual and communal. Manual labor often included singing by the workers, which served several practical purposes. It reduced the boredom of repetitive tasks, it kept the rhythm during synchronized pushes and pulls, and it set the pace of many activities such as planting, weeding, reaping, threshing, weaving, and milling. In leisure time, singing and playing musical instruments were common forms of entertainment and history-telling—even more common than today, when electrically enabled technologies and widespread literacy make other forms of entertainment and information-sharing competitive.

Opinions differed over the origins of folk music: it was said by some to be art music changed and probably debased by oral transmission, by others to reflect the character of the race that produced it.] Traditionally, the cultural transmission of folk music is through learning by ear, although notation may also be used. The competition of individual and collective theories of composition set different demarcations and relations of folk music with the music of tribal societies on the one hand and of "art" and "court" music on the other. The traditional cultures that did not rely upon written music or had less social stratification could not be readily categorized. In the proliferation of popular music genres, some traditional folk music became also referred to "World music" or "Roots music".
The American conception of "folk composition" has often drawn on Afro-American music.

The English term "folklore", to describe traditional folk music and dance, entered the vocabulary of many continental European nations, each of which had its folk-song collectors and revivalists.] The distinction between "authentic" folk and national and popular song in general has always been loose, particularly in America and Germany] - for example popular songwriters such as Stephen Foster could be termed "folk" in America.] The International Folk Music Council definition allows that the term "can also be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten, living tradition of a community. But the term does not cover a song, dance, or tune that has been taken over ready-made and remains unchanged."

The post–World War II folk revival in America and in Britain started a new genre, contemporary folk music and brought an additional meaning to the term folk music. The popularity of "contemporary folk" recordings caused the appearance of the category "Folk" in the Grammy Awards of 1959: in 1970 the term was dropped in favor of "Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording (including Traditional Blues)", while 1987 brought a distinction between "Best Traditional Folk Recording" and "Best Contemporary Folk Recording". After that they had a "Traditional music" category that subsequently evolved into others. The term "folk", by the start of the 21st century, could cover singer song-writers, such as Donovan from Scotland and American Bob Dylan, who emerged in the 1960s and much more. This completed a process to where "folk music" no longer meant only traditional folk music.


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