What’s the Difference Between Folk and Country Music?

Folk music is more acoustic and based on traditional melodies, while country music has a more modern sound and typically includes elements of rock and blues.

Of course, that’s a broad comparison of the two genres. Read more to find out some more of the differences between them.

Definition Of Folk Music

Folk music is a genre that typically includes songs that are passed down from generation to generation. These songs often tell stories about the singer’s life, love, and loss. Folk music is played on instruments like guitars, banjos, or just about any available instrument.

With a rich history, the genre has evolved and therefore sprouted numerous subgenres in slight but different directions. Needless to say, the evolution of the genre never stops.

Some popular folk songs are:

  • “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
  • “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary
  • “There But For Fortune” by Joan Baez, Phil Ochs

Definition Of Country Music

Country music is a genre that began in the southern United States. It is a mix of traditional folk music, blues, and gospel.

Country music often tells stories about the singer’s life, love, and loss – much similar to folk. Since it originated from folk music, country music is often mellow with tales of life incorporated.

It is typically played on instruments like guitars, banjos, fiddles, and harmonicas, but with the evolution of the genre, more electronic instruments have been implemented.

Here is a shortlist of some of the popular country songs:

  • “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
  • “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver
  • “You Are My Sunshine” by Willie Nelson

What Sets Them Apart?

Folk and Country music are often similar in sound and subject matter. The main difference is that country music is more modern sounding, while folk music has a more traditional sound.

You can notice the difference in sound by listening to the instruments that are used. Folk music is typically played on acoustic instruments like guitars and banjos, while country music has hints of other instruments like electric guitars and drums.

Final Thoughts

Both folk and country music are great genres that tell the stories of the singer’s life and related topics. Whichever genre you prefer, both genres play a crucial role in the development of music throughout history and have some trademark songs that most people in the world can instantly recognize.