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Folk Song Category (or Folk Song form)
Return to list of categories Folk Song

Folk songs are traditional tunes handed down orally from generation to generation. Some are as much as five or more centuries old. Usually the original composer is unknown, and the music may have changed substantially in the course of time. Most have only been written down comparatively recently, especially by late 19th century composers who published collections of folk songs from their own countries. The folk-song tended to become a symbol of nationalism in many countries, in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, although this trend was resisted in England.

Many types of music are included in folk songs., for example, lullabies, nursery rhymes, love songs, battle songs, ballads about historical events, and work songs. They all posses memorable and direct melodies, simple harmonies, and un-sophisticated words. They are usually strophic in form, that is they consist of many verses set to the same tune, sometimes with a 'chorus' interposed between each verse.

In Britain, Cecil Sharp and Vaughn-Williams were pre-eminent in writing down and publishing English folk-songs. The Scottish, Welsh and Irish songs are generally better-known then the English ones. In many continental European countries, the folk songs and associated folk-dances have formed the basis of a modern tourist industry, in which large-scale theatrical performances in brightly-coloured traditional costumes, are attended by eager bus-loads of tourists. In Austria and Switzerland, some folk songs originate from mountain farmers who 'yodelled' to send their voice over long distances. In Russia, folk song is often associated with folk dances such as the Trepak of the Cossaks. In Spain, flamenco guitarists accompany singers and dancers with their fiery and unique style.

The United States of America has inherited many folk traditions from the immigrants who settled there from all over the world. In particular, the spirituals or religious songs sung by the descendents of the African slaves, have been adopted as a feature of typical 'North American' music. In the 1960s some US songwriters started writing songs in a style blending folk elements with 'Pop' and 'Rock', and they called themselves 'folk-singers'. So in the USA the distinction between traditional folk songs, and modern rock, has become somewhat blurred.

Tunes belonging to the Folk Song category. Audio is available for 105 tunes for this category.
No.Name of WorkComposerEnsemblePeriod
1 All Through the NightVariousSoloTraditional
2 Alle Vogel Sind Schon DaVariousSoloTraditional
3 Annie LaurieVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
4 Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?VariousOrchestraTraditional
5 As I was going to Strawberry FairVariousDuetTraditional
6 Auld Lang SyneVariousSoloTraditional
7 Barbara AllenVariousString QuartetTraditional
8 Beautiful DreamerFosterChoirTraditional
9 Begone Dull CareVariousOrchestraTraditional
10 Believe me, if all those endearing young charmsVariousDuetTraditional
11 Blow Away the Morning DewVariousWind Chamber GroupsTraditional
12 Blow the Man DownVariousDuetTraditional
13 Blue Bells of ScotlandVariousDuetTraditional
14 Bobby ShaftoeVariousDuetTraditional
15 Boney was a warriorVariousSoloTraditional
16 Botany BayVariousSoloTraditional
17 British Grenadiers MarchVariousBrass BandTraditional
18 Cambells are comi'.VariousDuetTraditional
19 Camptown RacesFosterSoloTraditional
20 Cape Cod GirlsVariousSoloTraditional
21 Charlie is my DarlingVariousTrioTraditional
22 Click go the ShearsHillDuetRomantic
23 Cockles and MusselsVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
24 Come Lasses and LadsVariousSoloTraditional
25 Comin' thro' the RyeVariousSoloTraditional
26 Drink To Me Only With Thine EyesVariousDuetTraditional
27 Early One MorningVariousTrioTraditional
28 Eriskay Love LiltVariousSoloTraditional
29 For He's a Jolly Good FellowVariousSoloTraditional
30 Frère JacquesVariousWind Chamber GroupsTraditional
31 Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlenVariousRhythm ComboTraditional
32 Golden SlumbersVariousPops OrchestraTraditional
33 GreensleevesVariousDuetRenaissance
34 Here we go gathering Nuts in MayVariousSoloTraditional
35 Here's a Health unto his MajestyVariousDuetTraditional
36 Hot Cross BunsVariousSoloTraditional
37 I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown HairFosterSoloTraditional
38 I had a little Nut treeVariousDuetTraditional
39 I saw Three ShipsVariousSoloTraditional
40 Il était une BergèreVariousString QuartetTraditional
41 Jamaica farewell (Kingston Town)VariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
42 John Brown's BodyVariousDuetTraditional
43 John Peel (Do you ken John Peel)VariousDuetTraditional
44 Keel RowVariousDuetTraditional
45 Last Rose of SummerStevensonSoloTraditional
46 Lavender's BlueVariousSoloTraditional
47 Lightly Row (Hanschen klein)VariousSoloTraditional
48 Lincolnshire PoacherVariousDuetTraditional
49 Loch LomondVariousSoloTraditional
50 Londonderry Air (Oh Danny Boy)VariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
51 Marching Through GeorgiaVariousMilitary BandTraditional
52 Men of HarlechVariousOrchestraTraditional
53 Minstrel Boy (The)VariousDuetTraditional
54 My Bonnie lies over the OceanVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
55 My Old Kentucky HomeFosterSoloTraditional
56 O du lieber AugustinVariousSoloTraditional
57 Oak and the AshVariousDuetTraditional
58 Oh My Darling ClementineVariousRhythm ComboTraditional
59 Oh SusannaFosterRhythm ComboTraditional
60 Oh, No JohnVariousSoloTraditional
61 Polly OliverVariousSoloTraditional
62 Poor Old JoeFosterDuetTraditional
63 Pop Goes the WeaselVariousSoloTraditional
64 PortsmouthVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
65 Robin AdairVariousSoloTraditional
66 Robin Hood and the Curtal FriarVariousSoloTraditional
67 RockingVariousSoloTraditional
68 Scotland the BraveVariousSoloTraditional
69 Scots wha hae' wi' Wallace bledVariousSoloTraditional
70 She'll be Coming Round the Mountain When She ComesVariousTrad Jazz BandTraditional
71 Skye Boat SongVariousDuetTraditional
72 Song of the Volga BoatmenVariousSoloTraditional
73 South WindVariousDuetTraditional
74 Sur Le PontVariousSoloTraditional
75 Sweet Lass from Richmond HillVariousSoloTraditional
76 Swing Low Sweet ChariotWallisWind Chamber GroupsTraditional
77 The Ash GroveVariousSoloTraditional
78 The Dashing White SergeantVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
79 The Girl I left Behind Me.VariousDuetTraditional
80 The Magistrate's LassVariousSoloTraditional
81 The Mill WheelVariousSoloTraditional
82 The Old Folks at Home (Way down upon the Swanee River)FosterRhythm ComboTraditional
83 The Star Spangled BannerSmithOrchestraTraditional
84 The Vicar of BrayVariousDuetTraditional
85 The Water is WideVariousDuetTraditional
86 The Yellow Rose of TexasVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
87 There is a Tavern in the TownVariousDuetTraditional
88 There was a Jolly MillerVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
89 This Old ManVariousSoloTraditional
90 TiritombaVariousDuetTraditional
91 True Love (Swabian Air)VariousSoloTraditional
92 Upon Paul's SteepleVariousSoloTraditional
93 Waltzing MatildaVariousOther EnsemblesTraditional
94 We wish You a Merry ChristmasVariousDuetTraditional
95 What can the Matter be?VariousSoloTraditional
96 When Johnny Comes Marching HomeVariousBrass BandTraditional
97 Where Are You Going My Pretty Maid?VariousSoloTraditional
98 Wi' A Hundred PipersVariousSoloTraditional
99 Widdicombe FairVariousDuetTraditional
100 Wild Colonial BoyVariousDuetTraditional
101 Will Ye No Come Back AgainVariousSoloTraditional
102 Wraggle Taggle Gypsies OhVariousSoloTraditional
103 Yankee Doodle DandyVariousMilitary BandTraditional
104 Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny DoonVariousDuetTraditional
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