An excellent book for learning about AMERICA’S MUSIC is Daniel Kingman’s American Music (see BOOKS) and I will be using it to discuss this new series I am beginning here.
One of the earliest forms of FOLK that made its way from the UK was the BALLAD. As Kingman says the BALLAD is drama by a single individual that lets the listener use his/her imagination. Examples abound especially as related to the British and Irish BALLADS.
So what is a FOLK SONG? Kingman says it is words, tunes and a way of singing. These FOLK songs tend to localize with each performer and depend on the mores of that performer. Another important aspect of FOLK songs is their THEME which usually reflects the ups and downs of life as so vividly shown with BLUES and COUNTRY. The IMAGES and elements of these STORIES may have numerous interpretations too.
Next post we will discuss how BALLADS and FOLK songs went from the ORAL to PRINT.