folk music


music, usually of simple character and anonymous authorship, handed down among the common people by oral tradition.
music by known composers that has become part of the folk tradition of a country or region.

Origin of folk music

First recorded in 1885–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for folk music

folk, balladry, ethnomusicology

Examples from the Web for folk music

Historical Examples of folk music

  • It's unconscious memory, maybe; inherited memory, like folk-music.

    Song of the Lark

    Willa Cather

  • Saved from the multitudinous distractions of town life, the love of the folk-music took root in his heart and grew undisturbed.

    The Russian Opera

    Rosa Newmarch

  • The work, which does not appear to have become a repertory opera, is worth the study of those who are interested in folk-music.

    The Russian Opera

    Rosa Newmarch

  • You're finding out much quicker than I. It's all folk-music to you still; to me Strauss and the rest of the tired stuff.

    The Freelands

    John Galsworthy

  • The folk-music of no nation is more endowed with individuality and depth of emotion.

    Music: An Art and a Language

    Walter Raymond Spalding

British Dictionary definitions for folk music

folk music


music that is passed on from generation to generation by oral traditionCompare art music
any music composed in the idiom of this oral tradition
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for folk music

1889, from folk (also cf. folklore). In reference to the branch of modern popular music (originally associated with Greenwich Village in New York City) it dates from 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

folk music in Culture

folk music

A kind of music originating from the ordinary people of a region or nation and continued by oral tradition. The ballad (see also ballad) is a typical form of folk music. Music is also called “folk” when it is made by artists and composers who are inspired by, or imitate, true folk music. Composers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie are folk musicians of the second kind.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.