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what diffeetween folk and traditional?

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It really, really, REALLY depends on whom you talk to. Here's my impression:


What's now usually called traditional is what used to be called folk, generally referring to old songs that lack orchestration and whose authors are unknown. During the Great Folk Scare of the 1960s, It divided into several subsets, such as ballads, blues, and ethnic (that is, from non-English-speaking countries). Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Odetta, Tom Rush, and the (Fill-in-the-blank) Trio were popular.


Now a lot of music by known authors is called folk. Bob Dylan, formerly a folk singer himself, got that started. The word today is about style and attitude and is no longer about source.


For a song to be a folk song today, electronic processing should not be apparent, orchestration is still forbidden, chords and melodies should remind the audience of traditional music, and having a steel-string flat-top guitar up front is almost universal.


For an artist to be a folk artist today, jeans are required and cowboy wear and sixties-style hippie gear (dialed down to suit our more sedate contemporary sensibilities and never of the military/marching band variety), and are common. Folk artists rarely wear football, baseball, or basketball regalia or high heels.

Edited by Delmont

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