The word “Folk Music” is a descriptor for both traditional, contemporary music as well as a host of other sub-genres. Other terms to describe Folk Music are: Traditional (Trad), Mountain, ethnic, world, and roots music. The term “Folk Musician” has fallen out of favor and now they are refered to as: “Singer Songwriters”. In the most historic base of folk music, you will never be able to discern the lyricist, composer, arranger, etc. as the music in all liklihood is the result of a joint effort of the community or society. (Plus eons of new musicians tweaking various elements over time).
Under the Folk umbrella are specialty genres, some of which I have listed(ie.):
- Old-Time Music
- Cowboy Songs
- Protest Songs
- Folk punk
- Indie folk
- Freak folk
There’s also racially charged folk music and politicaly oriented folk music both have a similar bent albeit with vastly different goals.
Folk music is immutable in that it is not era-specific and musch of folk musci will transcend geographic, social, cultural, and temporal boundaries.