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What is a Folksong, Essay Example

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A precise definition of a folksong can be relatively complex. In general terms it covers an array of music styles and in general is a narrative song which uses traditional melodies to define a specific topic.  These are often themed and will cover stories from work, war, social studies and popular opinions.  Many folk songs do not have original composers because they were handed down over the generations.  A good example being the traditional English folksong of “green sleeves” which some attributed to Henry V111 as a possible composer?  But reality is that it is more likely to be Elizabethan in origin and influenced by Italian Romanesque style.

Folksong is a kind of traditional music that songs of common people. The “folk” means people or nation. The folksong is not only created by people, but also created for people. The songs are learned people to people and generation to generation trough by listening, instead of by reading the notes. People make it for communication, not for profit. Folksong is usually easy to learn, but the melodies and words may change over time. The folksong “Barbara Allen” is an example, which can performed with different lyrics instruments.

A folk song I am familiar with is that of  the Chinese folksong “Ai Yue”  a song suitable for a funeral and performs by suona horn and wind instruments. The song is also performed at weddings but evokes a different kind of emotion. It is also ritualistic in the fact that it can be performed at a person’s death. I have seen the performers who are farmers in the same village as my Grandfather.  This type of music and instrument is learned at schools from a young age and is traditional music. Few people have the skills or knowledge to perform this type of music and as such it is culturally significant. The folksong is mostly associated with the common or working class people in China.

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