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