Music Now: How Folk Music has Progressed Through Time


C. Kenady

For Breckenridge, The Pine Beatles are a local band that plays mostly folk music. Many folk-style instruments are used such as the banjo, cello, ukulele, fiddle, and guitar.

Ashley Snyder, Staff Reporter

When thinking of music, pop, rap, and maybe rock comes to mind. There is no single genre of music as it comes in all shapes and forms. One genre that is not talked about very much is folk music. It is a blend of acoustic “folky” instruments with a pop sensibility and usually softer and slower songs unlike pop, which is upbeat with electric sounds. The newer generation may perceive it as music from older times, when really it has progressed to a more modern theme with older-style instruments. 

  It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of folk music since it started as a communal tradition that is said to have started in many different areas. Although, it is known that by the 20th century, folk music had been brought back by factory workers who gathered in churches, living rooms, and union halls to sing together. In the 1960s, folk-rock emerged from singers such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez, and the revival offered political commentary. By the 1970s, folk music had faded into the background, but folk singers continued. Today, folk music has appeared again because of the economic recession. 

  Another factor to the swell of folk music is todo festivals, as younger audiences go with their families where they can learn about folk music. Although the acoustic strings may come as a surprise or a bore, their families will be pleased to hear what they heard at a young age.

  Fiddles and violins are used frequently in folk-style music, as are ukuleles and guitars. The acoustic chords and sounds are very significant compared to other genres such as electronic music or hip hop.

  An example of folk and acoustic-style music today could be The Lumineers, Hozier, or The Paper Kites. “Ophelia” by The Lumineers is widely known to be more on the folk-pop spectrum, a wider spectrum over the normal overall folk genre. For the older generations, Simon and Garfunkel have been seen as the face of folk music for a long time, creating a very unique style of music that is widely known in folk music. 

  No matter what is overall preferred, genres keep expanding and exploring greater and newer heights. The music that has been around for generations is staying, and each genre stems from another genre. In all, folk music is still expanding into more modern genres that appeal to the younger generation. Give a listen to some of the most popular ones, or briefly look at The Lumineers because either way, folk and acoustic music are here to stay.