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8 - Folk and art musics in the modern Western world

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Matthew Gelbart
Affiliation:
Boston College, Massachusetts
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Summary

This final chapter will gather various strands, suggesting how the folk and art music categories hardened in their present forms and perpetuated themselves into today's world – and how they affect our thoughts both about earlier periods of music history and about current music-making.

A final ripple: folk music and art music encounter popular music

Perhaps the last major readjustment to the concepts of folk and art music happened as these came to sit alongside a third category, “popular music.” This music was “popular” no longer in the old sense of culture shared across classes; rather, as the Industrial Revolution changed Europe forever, its definition came to be based on a new set of criteria revolving around the taint of the commercial, of politics, and of class. Alongside the relationships in Figure 6.1 (p. 204), a new schema emerged around the middle of the nineteenth century (see Figure 8.1). The modern paradigm into which we fit “folk” music and “art” music is a combination of the two frameworks (Figures 6.1 and 8.1).

Certain anti-commercial values date back to the later eighteenth century – when the supporters of both “national music” and musical “classics” set themselves up against “fashionable” music – but the fashionable music they railed against did not yet have the characteristics of “popular” music as we know it (i.e. as in Figure 8.1: associated with crafty manipulation for a mass audience).

Type
Chapter
Information
The Invention of 'Folk Music' and 'Art Music'
Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner
, pp. 256 - 277
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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