Folk music - traditional, special, home

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Folk music - traditional, special, home

Folk music is a modern, popular variant of the traditional folk music of German-speaking countries. Although it is often marketed as folk music, it is different from traditional folk music. Folk music is often performed commercially by prominent singers and focuses on newly created sentimental and happy feel-good compositions.

Folk music is sometimes instrumental, but is usually performed by one or, especially, two singers. It is very popular with an adult audience in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, but also in South Tyrol (Italy), Alsace (France), the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), Slovenia, Silesia (Poland) and northern Croatia .

Peculiarities of folk music

Closely related to the German hit genre, many titles emphasize a connection to their homeland. It is therefore not uncommon for the titles to be written in regional dialects (e.g. Bavarian, Saxon, Low German or Rhenish) or in colloquial language. Folk songs celebrate local and regional lifestyles and traditions, especially dances.

Brass and Alpine musical instruments such as alphorns, zithers, acoustic guitars, violas and harmonicas are often used. In contrast, most commercial productions today use drum machines and synthesizers. Yodeling is also common.

Folk Music: The Story

Since the early 1960s, folk music has been conceived for commercial reasons as a counterweight to youth rock and pop music. The adjective folk refers to the borrowing of German folklore elements. It represents virtually all types of light dance and popular music of the 19th and early 20th centuries - from waltz to swing music.

The great popularity of this genre of music led to the development of popular record charts. In the course of this, various radio and television programs were created with popular presenters such as Carolin Reiber and Maria Hellwig.

Folk music in the 1970s was influenced by both flower power songs and popular classical pieces. It increasingly mixed with percussion music, which was promoted by successful singers like Heino and served as a model for performers like Die Flippers, Andy Borg and Kristina Bach.

Its spread was further encouraged by extensive television broadcasting of some of the most popular programs. These include programs such as Musikantenstadl (since 1981), Grand Prix of Folk Music (1986-2010) and Funny Musicians with Marianne & Michael. In addition to folk music, these programs also broadcast big bands , country and even samba music.

Hits on air

Following the example of the immensely popular Musikantenstadl, folk music has been strongly represented on public television stations at numerous peak times since the early 1990s. Programs ran in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, including ARD, ZDF, ORF and Swiss television, as well as on several regional television stations and local radio stations.

Commercial broadcasters tend to hold back these days because folk music is no longer particularly popular with the commercially sought-after younger target groups up to 49 years of age. However, there are still several television channels that focus on the genre.

Similar to pop music, popular music is often disparaged by a younger or more sophisticated audience as a massively commercialized product. They further believe that it was created for the older members of society and conveys idyllic, reactionary, irrational ideas.

Those who hold these views sometimes sarcastically mock the term "folk music" by replacing the "-tümlich" suffix with "-dümmlich", transforming it into "folk-dümmlich music". Sociological surveys confirm a prevailing conservative attitude among the target group, who often believe that performances of folk music are a means of relieving stress and escaping everyday life.

In this perception, folk music differs somewhat from its ancestor, traditional folk music. This is still played by many local groups and orchestras in various areas.

The market for folk music is the largest part of the music business in German-speaking countries. Due to the old age of the main target group, copyright infringements have not yet been widespread.