Playing Traditional Folk Music in Rural America
Keywords:folk music, community, emotional expression, socializing
In the United States, folk musicians are commonly perceived as a liberal, progressive and politically active collective who perform music that was popular during the second wave folk revival of the 1960s. Most studies of folk musicians have focused on this culture, possibly because many aspects of the revival period remain prominent in modern coffeehouse and folk festival settings. Seldom examined is the traditional folk community, which possesses a distinctive set of norms and a small but devoted following. In the present study, musicians were asked to describe their motivations for playing traditional folk music. Interviewees reported that playing music served quasi-social, socializing and cultural functions, with emotional expression and social connection emerging as common reasons for becoming involved with the traditional folk music community.
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