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My definition of folk music - Input Junkie
October 24th, 2012
04:25 pm

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My definition of folk music
Folk music is music which shows cultural influence of only one planet.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/557465.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:mneme
Date:October 24th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
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Er. As opposed to?
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 24th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
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The more usual sort of definition, which tends to be somewhat blurry and arbitrary.
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From:agrumer
Date:October 25th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
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Aren't all genre definitions blurry and arbitrary?
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From:mneme
Date:October 25th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, but it's not useful.

By that logic, all music is folk music.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
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Exactly. After all, we're all folk.

Edited at 2012-10-25 08:23 pm (UTC)
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From:madfilkentist
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
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I object! That rules out filk music! :)
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From:siliconshaman
Date:October 25th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
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Not really, filk music can be defined then as folk music from other planets/dimensions.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
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It can be, but I think the best definition is music that appeals to filkers. This is circular, but I think it's the only way to actually cover the range, which includes songs about history and science as well as songs with science fiction and fantasy elements.

Part of what makes filk what it is that it's music for geeks-- there's overt mental content. Being able to hear the words is privileged over the instrumental part, and the lyrics have much more factual content than in other sorts of music.
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From:metawyrd
Date:October 24th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)

hmm, a little history for you

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The term "folk music" was originally a class-based folkloric term which referred to the music of the lower classes/working classes (aka "der Volk"). Before the advent of popular music, this type of music was contrasted with other genres such as classical music--folk usually had no notation system, was informal in nature, and was rarely documented except for weirdos like 19th century song collector John Childe (where the term "Childe ballad" came from) or Library of Congress archivist Alan Lomax.


After rock music blew up in the 50s, most popular music across the world became based on folk forms (the blues in particular) so the whole difference between "folk music" and other musics became hard or even impossible to delineate. IMHO, only singer-songwriters who are interested in preserving the original "folk music" or are creating songs in these traditions tend to use the term now.


I used to write abstracts for the International Index for Music Periodicals so I know a few things. :)

Edited at 2012-10-24 11:39 pm (UTC)

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From:madfilkentist
Date:October 25th, 2012 10:09 am (UTC)

Re: hmm, a little history for you

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Actually, it's "das Volk." German genders make no sense.
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From:metawyrd
Date:October 25th, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)

Re: hmm, a little history for you

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Thank you very much. Languages are not my strong suit. :)
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From:pickledginger
Date:October 25th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
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How very .. Terracentrist of you. ;-)
From:llennhoff
Date:October 25th, 2012 03:21 am (UTC)
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So Age of Aquarius is not folk?
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From:metawyrd
Date:October 25th, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)

Age of Aquarius and folk

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Well, probably not in the strictest original sense of the term.

However, times and the lingo change, right? I only talked about the term's origins--what was "folk music" in the 19th century certainly is not "folk music" now (and would be another post entirely).

IMHO, if a musician in 2012 performed and sang a version of "Age of Aquarius" on acoustic guitar with minimal percussion and the audience for today's folk music accepted it as part of the genre, it would be 21st century folk music to me.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 03:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Age of Aquarius and folk

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I think the joke is that "Age of Aquarius" is about influences from outside Earth.
From:llennhoff
Date:October 25th, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Age of Aquarius and folk

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Correct.
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