Folk music has been a part of our lives for centuries. Folk music is the oldest form of music in history. It is the traditional music that has been created by the common man of the old times and passed on through oral transmission.
The term folk refer to the traditions and the customs of the lower or uncultured class of the society. Although folk music has developed a lot over the times, however, it is still considered to be the form of music associated with the lower class.
Folk is the music that touches the heart of the common man for it has been created by the common man. It has its roots in the history up to the end of the 16th century. It was the time when most of the people in Europe were peasants. They usually used the folk music to tell the stories and tales of the old days. It has been a source to record the events of the history and also provide entertainment during work and leisure hours. Music could not be recorded at that time and all the verses of the folk music used to travel though the generations though the word of mouth.
As the Christianity started spreading in Europe, folk music also started to develop and took a path towards romanticism. Many poets and musicians of the nineteenth century used to take their inspirations from the folk music. Thomas Percy and William Wordsworth have taken their themes from the folk music. Many Elizabethan and Stuart musicians have also evolved their works from the folk themes.
The folk music soon became a much popular form of music and it started reaching the other parts of the world, e.g. Australia, Russia, Asia, Spain, China etc. It took different forms according to the culture and traditions of the region. Along came the dance to give it a more rich and cultural touch in each region. Soon it became a source to be used to convey patriotic messages to the masses. Many nationalist composers emerged around the world like Dvorak, Smetana, Grieg, Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms, Liszt, de Falla, Wagner, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Bartok and many others who drew upon folk melodies in their works.
Folk music today has become a true inspiration of the culture of a nation. It truly depicts the norms and notions of a society. Cultural fusions have also made the folk music more attractive and understandable to the masses. Many folk singers and musicians have emerged and are making their mark in music. Exchange of the cultural delegations among the nations has banished the boundaries among the countries and made the folk music reach new heights.
Artists like Dave Alvin, Miranda Stone and Steve Earle, Steve Goodman, John Prine Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby are some of the famous ones among the folk singers and song writers of recent times.
Folk music has and will always nurture the souls of the masses through their melodies and cultural dances and will spread the message of nationalism, romanticism and heroism in the world.