Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Folk music, folk songs, and ballads are nested categories of traditional expression: folk songs are folk music that has words, and ballads are folk songs that tell stories. These genres are universal; all people make music, and almost all start with what scholars would call “folk music.” Nevertheless, this chapter suggests specific ways to find and study them in an American context. Music, songs, and ballads are created by individuals, circulate orally, are adapted by other individuals, and thus become communally re-created works of art. Finding and studying such works is a challenge, requiring us to combine aspects of historical inquiry, literary and linguistic analysis, musicological study, and ethnography. These genres have also become part of popular culture in ways that have been called “folkloresque,” one of which is the movement generally known as “the folk revival.” Virtually all Americans hear folk music in the context of these folkloresque adaptations.

Keywords: ballad, folklore, folkloresque, folk song, intertexuality, music, popular culture, revival, singing

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.