Questions tagged [folk]

Folk music includes both traditional music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th century folk revival. The term originated in the 19th century but is often applied to music that is older than that. Some types of folk music are also called world music.

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How is the starting pitch chosen/remembered for music sung in Abenaki culture?

I'm learning to sing and teach to children several Abenaki songs. I was careful to be authentic in sourcing them, and am working through a book and audio recordings prepared by a Penobscot elder and ...
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Questions on Chord progression in "Cocaine Blues"

In the song "Cocaine Blues" (in the style of Townes Van Zandt) the opening chord progression (transposed to C) is C - E7 - F. That is a I - III7 - IV or a V - VII7 - I, depending on what ...
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How appropriate or inappropriate is the word "papoose" in a Native America song? [closed]

I'm researching Native American songs to teach elementary students (approx. 8-9 years old) in a US public elementary school. I found many songs that have the original lyrics presented phonetically, so ...
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How would one research standards for English tempo descriptions in BPM ca. 1900?

I am transcribing a songbook of Celtic folk tunes compiled in 1928 and generating MIDI from the transcription so that I can learn them by ear. The book is filled with tempos like: Flowing and not too ...
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Is there a standardized way to write sheet music for musical spoons?

The spoons are a percussion instrument common in folk music around the world. Often, the spoons can create lines similar to a snare drum cadence, but with the addition of different body strikes and ...
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What is this very long pipe instrument?

In at 15:25 there is a very long pipe instrument with no holes. It is supposedly a folk instrument from Argentina since the piece is Misa Criolla by Ramirez, which ...
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Where can I learn to write chord progressions like Bob Dylan?

Let me start off by saying that I have no folk background, and I am not aware of the rich tradition of folk or folk-rock. That being said, I understand that, similar to the blues tradition, there are ...
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Are there folk music families, analogous to language families?

A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestral language or parental language, called the proto-language of that family. The term "family" reflects ...
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Is it right to call this music 'modal'? Or multi-modal?

There is a bluegrass song archetype that mixes the minor/major 3rd and raised/lowered 7th making almost an extended scale. How can I describe what's going on here using music theory? Modal mixture ...
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Vocal harmonies in Grateful Dead - I Know You Rider [closed]

I'm a total beginner in singing and I'd like to learn to sing this song with two friends: I Know You Rider by the Grateful Dead. There should be three voices (Jerry, Bobby and Phil), but I'm not even ...
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The role of G in The Sound of Silence in A minor

So the chord sequence for The Sound of Silence in Am (the key I play in because I lost my capo) is roughly Am G Am C F C F C F C Am C G Am G etc. My question is why the G before Am, "within the ...
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Celtic folk music bass technique

Few days ago I joined a Celtic folk music band as a bass player. I've never play that kind of music, but I found it very different to play compared to rock music, especially with the right hand. ...
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Does it make sense to play folk music by yourself on the violin?

I played the violin as a child, and now I'm trying to pick it up again. However, most of the music and notes I have are for classical music, which is what I played back then. So for instance I have ...
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Are Mazurkas a folk or classical form of music? I am asking from an ethnomusicological perspective

I am taking a course in ethnomusicology and I am asking this question from an anthropological perspective. I have to make a presentation on a folk music form from Europe and since I have learned a few ...
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Notation for Eastern European pan flute

Years ago I composed a piece of chamber music that included an Eastern European-style pan flute (Romanian or Hungarian, I don't recall which). It was a large one, with a 3-octave range from G3 (the ...
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In a folk jam session, when asked which key my non-transposing chromatic instrument (like a violin) is in, what do I answer?

I know of transposing instruments. A transposing instrument is one where the player reads a C, plays a C, and what sounds is the name of the key of the instrument. Those instruments are often referred ...
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What are good resources for composing music in the style of sea shanties? [closed]

I've not been able to find any literature on the topic so far. If anyone could point me in the direction of some good books or other, that would be great.
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What makes two dances that share the same meter and a similar tempo different?

Common practice music employs only a small handful of time signatures, but there is a multitude of different dances. The steps are different. But is there something other than meter and tempo that ...
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Why does American traditional music (e.g. old-time fiddle, folk, bluegrass, etc.) exclude drumming?

I'm a trained percussionist who for years has appreciated traditional American folk music. I've also been frustrated for years by the complete lack of any drums in this music. I've searched the web ...
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Analysing "Dust to Dust", John Kirkpatrick

I've been trying to analyse the song "Dust to Dust" by John Kirkpatrick to perhaps get some insight into how one writes in Locrian without sounding it sounding ugly. The only thing I've noticed is ...
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Where do we draw the line between a new composition and an arrangement In folk-themed pieces?

Take for example Mozart's variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman!", or Bartok's Romanian Dances, or Komitas' Armenian Dances. What makes them "original" compositions? Does taking a melody not count ...
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Am-Dm-Am-E songs (usually powerful folk songs) what key could they be in? What diatonic blues harp or penny whistle to use?

Examples include some (best ^_^) interpretations of Katyusha, La Llorona, Bella Ciao, Cariñito etc. They often go into short C-major type sequences during emphasis so everything points to an Am scale. ...
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How do you phrase Celtic and Irish music?

Is there a hard and fast rule on how to slur notes for Celtic and Irish jigs and reels? I have listened to many people play this kind of folk music (Alasdair Fraser, Deborah Klemme, Eileen Ivers...), ...
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Analysis of Scarborough Fair

I'm attempting to figure out what is going on in terms of harmony with this song. This is the best I have managed so far (supposing a tonal center of A): Chords are: Am Em G ...
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What key contains the chord progression C, Fm, Bb? Or is it multiple keys?

The chord progressions for the song Nomadic Revery by Bonnie Prince Billy are: Verse: (C Fm Bb Fm Bb C)x2 Cmaj7 Chorus: (Bb C Fm Bb C)x2 Bridge: (Cm Eb)x3 Gm (Cm Eb)x3 Bb Cm (Cm Eb)x3 Fm Gm The ...
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8 votes
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Where does the opening solo of the Rite of Spring come from?

In Tom Service's commentary to the BBC Proms 2013 performance of the Rite of Spring, he starts off with something I had no idea of: The best bassoon solo ever? It sounds otherworldly: but it's ...
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Find the origin of folk

The origins of a specific piece of music can be difficult to find. Especially when there are multiple variations in multiple languages. Folk music is often old and translated many times. Sometimes ...
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Is there a particular word, name, classification or designation that differentiates "Slavic Sung" Vibrato?

I introduce this question with something I'll amateurishly call "Slavic sung vibrato", because I don't know of a better term. It's a sort of recognizable extendeded and pronounced vibrato that ...
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What characterizes American folk music?

It seems the American folk genre is pretty diverse, from Bob Dylan (and much earlier!) to more modern musicians like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. Specifically, I want to know if there are certain ...
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What makes a song sound "folk-y"?

Are there distinctive traits (melodies, scales, chord progressions, rhythm, techniques) that set the genre of folk music apart?
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How much of classical Arabic maqam music is improvised?

I am listening to a piece of music sung in maqam bayat (or bayati). It's Psalm 126, which is 7 verses long, but the piece takes about 10 minutes and sounds very improvisatory. This is similar to ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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How to avoid excessive bow-hair damage when playing "scratch percussion" on string instruments?

Prominently featured in Bluegrass fiddle playing, the ever-so-feared noise of a bow "squaking" over the strings can be used to produce distinctive, yet surprisingly sweet percussive accents if well ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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At the research of some folklore russian accordion tunes

The other day I was watching a video documentary about the discovering of frozen mammoths in the Siberian tundra. At some moment there was a tune in I really enjoyed. It was mainly accordion, rather ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Original underlying melodies of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies

As we all know, Liszt's 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies contain and conserve some Hungarian and Gipsy tunes (although some of them are in a somewhat modified form). I'd like to know if there's any resource ...
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What characterises Irish drumming?

A bunch of my friends are into Irish music, including irish punk/rock (like the Pogues), as well as more folky stuff. I play (kit) drums, and would like to be able join in. I've tried, but I'm not ...
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