American Folk Music Essay

1554 words - 6 pages

The folk genre has origins all the way back to the 19th century, which in many ways is mirrored by many popular genres in modern musical genres. To make it easy folk music is merely, “ballads and songs which are composed and conveyed vocally, without being written.” Though what we distinguish ‘folk’ today as stylistically very different to what ‘folk’ was during the 19th century, at its basic form, it still holds the same standards and concepts, describing the simpler times. Through vigorous research, it’s hard to overlook the history and development of southern folk music, and how it may help understand the significance for observing and expanding the dynamics of southern race relationships. Both southern race associations and southern composition are replications of the social construction of the rural south. In the physically separated south, black and white melodic backgrounds show the same deviations and junctions which have historically characterized black and white relations. This is not an emotional analysis; but instead it is a socially ancient examination of regional popular culture which focuses upon the collaboration between two important features of that culture; race and music.
The growth of the American folk music as a popular commodity is a process which matches the historical and cultural expansion of American society. In the formation of this commodity, two major streams, British and African, ran together over a two century period. Alan Lomax, one of folk music's foremost iconic historians, has observed that the junction of these varied elements has resulted in a cultural product which is "more British than whatever one can discover in Britain”. Southern music is a noteworthy measure of the folk customs; in many ways it is indistinguishable with American folk composition. And, its past is well recognized, what has been deserted until today is the sociological inspection of the association between this technique of prevalent culture and significant social, cultural and historical issues and conditions which gave rise to it and are expressed by it. One major reason folk was special in the African American culture is because it’s a likeness of the southern region’s culture, history and social structure at the instruction level and of the confidences, fears, politics and arrogances of its people at the early stages of segregation. The music of the English, Welsh and Scotch-Irish blended rapidly and effortlessly in the same process by which these groups mixed demographically and socially to form the essential culture. The music of northern European groups such as the French and Germans modified justly into the folk custom. It is seeming that some musical forms such as polkas from eastern Europe, the music of the Hindu, Arabic and Greek settlers, practiced the same affiliation to the musical essential that the groups themselves practiced with regard to the essential culture; a assortment more or less of choice.
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