essay two - Albert 1 Brittany Albert Professor Berenguel...

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Albert  1 Brittany Albert Professor Berenguel English 110 26 February 2008 Country Music vs. Folk Music Many people believe country music and folk music is the same thing, but it definitely is not. Country music is more of a combination of both ideas that were popular in the past, as well as ideas that were popular in more modern times. Folk music consisted more of work songs from the 19 th and 20 th centuries. While the definition of folk music varied throughout time and location, the definition of country music remained fairly consistent throughout the time, with only subtypes of country music varying. Folk music seemed to be popular instantaneously, while country artists had to fight for the popularity of their music. Knowing the history of both genres of music would help point out the differences of the two. The idea of folk came from Johann Gottfried Herder, a German cultural philosopher, theologian and writer. Herder characterized the concept of folk by ‘communal composition’ and ‘an aesthetic of dignity.’ Beginning in the late 19 th century, a group of people, ranging from individual composers and collectors to totalitarian regimes, who were looking to identify or create their own national music began using the term ‘folk’ as a synonym for ‘nation’. This allowed them to interpret the concept as a way to fit their needs. Although ‘folk’ initially included only peasants and rural artisans, debates as to what else was considered folk began in Europe. Bela Bartok, a Hungarian composer, pianist, and collector, included urban popular forms as folk, while Cecil Sharp, an English folksong collector, considered only music produced
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Albert  2 by artisan and laboring rural people to be of the folk genre. Sharp’s argument was that the three important components of folksongs were continuity, variation and selection, and that the defining elements were anonymous composition and oral transmission. In 1955, the International Folk Music Council held a conference in Sao Paolo, where it attempted to define folk music. The definition that was developed at that conference was ‘the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through a process of oral transmission’. This meant only music that came about within a community that was not influenced by ‘popular’ or ‘art’ music could be classified as folk music. Starting in the 1960s and continuing until present day, North Americans tend to extend the term ‘folk music’ to include music of ethnic and racial communities (Pegg). The development of folk music was different for different countries. It was influenced by historical contexts and intellectual perspectives. In Europe and America, folksong text was analyzed as literature, which remains a common idea in Germany today. Throughout the 20 th century, folksong and folk music became part of ethnomusicology, folklore and folk life studies, sociology and popular music studies. State folklore societies were founded in the early 20 th century in the United States. These societies, dedicated to collecting folksongs, contained many
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