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Folk music appeared long time ago, thus in the term "folk music" developed in the 19th century and it became a name for musical folklore. Folk music was characterized as kind of music transmitted by word of mouth. Some specialists defined it as the lower classes music or music of unknown composer. It was put in opposition to the classical and commercial styles. During some time in the 20th century this term was utilized to depict some kind of popular music that was grounded on traditional kinds of music. Moreover, folk rock, electric folk, folk metal and progressive folk music were defined as the subgenres of folk.

The essence of the term
In the 1846 William Thoms invented a term folk lore, which described the customs, traditions and some superstitions of people. On the basis of folklore term such terms as folk song, folk music and folk dance developed. Thus the term folklore originated from the German word Volk, which meant people. Thus this term was borrowed and used for national music by Johann Gottfried Herder and some German Romantics.
Indians have had classical music and folk music. Classical music was utilized by Indians to describe the unwritten repertoire.
It was a big interest in the popular ballads at the time of William Wordsworth and Thomas Percy. Some composers borrowed some pieces of music from folk music. Even classical suits were based on folk music and folk dances. The outburst of national feelings in Europe caused the appearance of the term "folk". Therefore, nationalist composers became to appear in the East part of Europe, Scandinavia, Spain, Britain and Russia. We can underline such distinguished composers as Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms, Liszt, de Falla, Wagner, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Bart?k, Dvorak, Smetana and Grieg etc. as result, the English term "folklore" was added to vocabulary of the numbers of European nations. Moreover, every nation created its own collection, which was collected by revivalists and collectors.
Though, folk music does not have a clear definition till this time in spite of numerous works and collections. The reason is that folk music could not be differentiated by musical terms. Some specialists argue that folk music can be defines as old songs with unknown authors. Other states that it was developed with a help of oral transmission process. It also depends on the oral transmission, "popular communities" and "primitive societies". For example, old English and Scottish songs and ballads influenced on up to date inhabitants. Cecil Sharp and Béla Bartòk collected a lot of old ballads to present them to society. Folk music became an issue of the expression of the way of people's life and traditions. Folk music shows how society influenced by art music. Folk music can also be defined as a piece of 4 musical types such as tribal or primitive, art or elite, or popular. Moreover, the Revivalists argued that folk music should show the character of the entire race that created it. Folk music related with tribal community music because of controversy of collective and individual theories. Because of propagation of popular music genres, some kinds of music used to be characterized as "Roots music" and "World music". Folk music of America always depended on Afro-American music.
It was always a tendency of losing a clear distinction between national and popular songs and an authentic folk in Germany and America. Some popular songs composers were called folk. The International Folk Music Committee stated that the term "folk" could be utilized for some music kinds, which were written by different composers and absorbed by society. Therefore the American revivals argued that folk music should stay in opposition to the pop music, which was absolutely commercial. Folk music gained its popularity because of "Folk" Grammy Awards of 1959. At that time the popular folk performers such as Donovan and Bob Dylan appeared. Folk dance and folk music developed in Eastern part of Europe at the time of communist era. It was recorded a lot of albums of Red Army Choir and dance troupes from Poland and Russia were touring all over the West Europe. These facts caused broader development of folk elements such as dance and costume, some kinds of music clubs. This movement was spread all over the world and folk music groups appeared in Hungary, Hong Kong, Japan, Western Europe and Argentina

Folk music became very popular all over the world. Almost every country has its own kind stream and type of folk music and number of folk musicians and composers. Folk music is very popular nowadays. There are a lot of folk music clubs, which share national songs and traditional dances in many countries all over the world. There are such folk music festivals as Port Fairy Folk Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, and National Folk Festival in Australia. These festivals attract the distinguished international folk musicians and dancers such as Naturalismo, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Devendra Banhart, Americana and many others. At present time a lot of African, Asian, European, American and Australian folk groups and performers are well known all over the world. Folk music performers differ with their styles cloth and traditions, but all of them have their own unique cultural and national character.

On the base of folk music, the popular folk subgenres developed. As result, present country music developed on the ground of a provincial folk tradition of America. The same things happened with the Bluegrass, which was blended with jazz and blues.
Some composers became to utilize the electronic equipment in traditional folk music to enlarge its range of listeners. We can underline such electric folk performers as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Alan Stivell and Mr. Fox.
All the time folk evolved. At some period of time it mixed with rock and roll, thus in such way the "folk rock" emerged. Therefore, people can enjoy the music of folk rock performers such as The Mamas&the Papas, Simon&Garfunkel and the Byrds. In the 1970s the "contemporary folk" emerged with the help of new composers and performers such as John Prine, Chris Castle and Steve Goodman. Moreover, in the 1980s the Pogues and the Corrs propagandized folk punk or so called cowpunk.
Heavy metal and hard rock bands utilized some instruments and some concepts from folk music. On this base the folk metal and black metal evolved. A lot of genres, streams and subgenres developed on the basis of folk music. The most known subgenres of folk are: indie folk, techno-folk, industrial folk music, neofolk, anti folk, folk punk, radical folk and many other.
Thus anyway people of different classes, races, cultures, traditions and habits can find their own subgenre of folk to enjoy their national and spiritual music, because folk music live and develop at present and new subgenres continue to emerge. Thus it is not really hard to find a subgenre that will fit you the best.