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