Folk music means many different things to many different people. Awhile back, when I decided to focus my songwriting exclusively in this genre, I came up with three Principles of Folk Music. They’ve been helpful, but over the past few weeks, another “principle” has been developing in my head. Here’s a shot at putting it into words:
- Folk music emphasizes familiarity over originality. While most contemporary music strives (too hard) to be “original” and “unique,” folk music admits there is nothing new under the sun, and freely borrows from all that came before. There is still room for originality or “fresh” treatment of a familiar tune or theme — but originality is not considered the height of achievement.
Like the others, this one is not intended as “definitive,” but rather as an attempt to explain why Folk is so meaningful to me, and as a guiding principle for my own music.