Folk or traditional music?

Folk music, in the most basic sense of the term, is music by and for the common people. Apart from instrumental music that forms a part of folk or traditional music, especially dance music traditions, much of this music is vocal music, since the instrument that makes such music is usually handy. As such, most traditional music has meaningful lyrics.

Narrative verse looms large in the traditional music of many cultures. This encompasses such forms as traditional epic poetry, much of which was meant originally for oral performance, sometimes accompanied by instruments. Many epic poems of various cultures were pieced together from shorter pieces of traditional narrative verse, which explains their episodic structure and often their in medias res plot developments.

In the chapters about each country we also have tried to look op this traditional origin for local popular music. The differs per region. For instance the Nordic dance music tradition differs from the Balkan folk music is a type of folk music distinct from others in Europe. the latter is influenced by the Ottoman Empire and shows complex rhythm while Nordic dance music knows easier rhythms but focusses more on the fiddle and vocals.

What we did find was that the gypsy Roma culture played an important role in laying the foundations for European pop. Typically nomadic, the Roma people have long acted as wandering entertainers and tradesmen. In all the places Roma live—in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and northwest India— they have become known as musicians. The wide distances travelled have introduced a multitude of influences, starting with Indian roots and adding Greek, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Slavic, Romanian, German, French, Spanish and Celtic touches. Their musical influence can be traced throughout Europe. The mixture with rock 'roll was the step to pop.