As we usher in a new year, let’s take a look at some of the English folk music that has been helping people ring in the new year for centuries.
What is English Folk Music?
), also known as or is music traditionally played by English people. It often has influenced other genres and music from outside of England. The term “English Folk Music” can refer to guitar and piano music, as well as songs that are meant to be danced to. The instruments used in English Folk Music vary, but often include the accordion, upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, and drums.
Some of the most famous English Folk songs are “Greensleeves”, “The Leaving of Liverpool”, and “Dance to Your Daddy”. These songs have been covered by many artists over the years and have become classics.
The Origins of English Folk Music
Folk music has been a vital part of English culture for centuries. It is a huge part of our heritage and continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages across the country.
The term ‘folk music’ covers a wide range of musical styles and traditions, from traditional songs and dances to more modern, contemporary folk. Folk music oftenreflects the local area or region where it comes from, telling stories about the people, places and events that are important to them.
There is no one definitive version of any folk song – they are constantly evolving and being added to as new generations put their own spin on them. This makes folk music an amazing expression of our shared history and culture, as it changes and adapts over time.
If you’re interested in learning more about English folk music, there are plenty of resources available online and in libraries. Alternatively, why not try attending a folk festival or going to see a folk band live? You’re sure to be captivated by this rich and vibrant musical tradition!
The Instruments of English Folk Music
There is a very wide range of instruments used in English Folk music, from the well-known (fiddle, accordion) to the less familiar (crowd, melodeon). Here is a selection of some of the most commonly used:
Fiddle – The fiddle is by far the most popular instrument in English Folk music, and features prominently in virtually all folk traditions. It is a stringed instrument played with a bow, and has a distinctive, nasal sound.
Accordion – The accordion is another very popular Folk instrument, particularly in Scotland and Ireland. It is a keyboard instrument which uses bellows to produce sound, and can be played either solo or in ensemble.
Crowd – The crowd is a type of fiddle which is particularly associated with Northumbrian Folk music. It has a mellower sound than the fiddle, and is often used for slow, reflective pieces.
Melodeon – The melodeon is a small keyboard accordion which is particularly associated with Irish Folk music. It has a bright, lively sound and is often used for fast-paced dances.
Guitar – The guitar is commonly used in English Folk music as both an accompaniment instrument and a solo instrument. It has a wide range of sounds and techniques which can be used to great effect in folk tunes.
Flute – The flute is sometimes used in English Folk music, particularly in traditional Irish tunes. It has a distinctive sweet sound which works well with the other instruments in an ensemble.
The Characteristics of English Folk Music
English folk music has a number of distinctive characteristics. Most importantly, it is passed down orally from generation to generation. This means that there is no one ‘canon’ or body of work that can be considered definitive. Instead, the tradition is constantly evolving, with new songs and tunes being added all the time.
Another key characteristic of English folk music is its regional diversity. There are distinct differences between the music of the North and South of England, for example. This is partly due to the different cultures and traditions that have influenced each region over time.
English folk music also has a strong connection to the landscape. Many songs and tunes are about specific places, or make reference to local landmarks. This sense of place is particularly strong in ‘border’ areas like the North East and Cornwall, which have been shaped by their geography as well as their history.
The Popularity of English Folk Music
English folk music has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with a new generation of performers and listeners taking an interest in the genre.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this revival, including the growing popularity of Americana and roots music, as well as a general desire for music that is more organic and down-to-earth. English folk music has always had a strong tradition of being passed down from generation to generation, and this has helped to keep it alive in the modern era.
There are now a number of excellent English folk musicians performing and recording today, and the genre is enjoying a moment in the spotlight. If you’re interested in exploring English folk music, there are plenty of great resources available. Here are just a few:
-The Folklore Society: The largest society dedicated to the study and promotion of English folklore, with an extensive website featuring articles, resources, and event listings.
-The Young Tradition: A UK-based duo who were at the forefront of the English folk revival in the 1960s; their recordings are now considered classics of the genre.
-Swarbrick & Swarbrick: Another influential duo from the 1960s folk revival; their sound is rooted in traditional English ballads but with a contemporary twist.
-The Unthanks: A modern folk band from Newcastle upon Tyne whose albums have won widespread critical acclaim; their live shows are not to be missed.
The Future of English Folk Music
The future of English folk music is shrouded in uncertainty. Despite a recent resurgence in popularity, the genre faces challenges from all sides. Rising costs and a lack of venue availability make it difficult for folk musicians to make a living, while competition from other genres makes it hard for folk music to gain new fans. Nevertheless, the genre has survived for centuries and there is reason to believe that it will continue to do so in the years to come.
There are signs that the English folk music scene is beginning to adapt to the changing landscape. A new generation of musicians is embracing digital technology, using social media and streaming platforms to reach wider audiences. At the same time, traditional venues are working hard to create an environment that is welcoming to both new and old fans of folk music. If these trends continue, English folk music will be able to weather the storm and emerge stronger than ever before.
Keyword: Happy New Year: English Folk Music