Folk music and song, the music all other genres draw upon, has roots in local, ethnic traditions. Experts have vied for years over a satisfactory definition of folk music. Authentic, real and simple are the qualities ascribed to folk song and music, from ancient ballads and songs handed down from generation to generation to contemporary songs and tunes built on musical traditions with history. Folk music was the music people could use for dancing, for storytelling, for entertainment. It is not commercial pop music, it is not avant garde, and it is not high culture.
Folk songs and ballads were sung unaccompanied, often with an intricately decorated singing style. Folk music for dancing or accompaniment to the songs is generally associated with instruments such as guitar, banjo, violin, bass, mandolin, flute, mouth organ. Folk can span from traditional fiddle and accordion dance music, to all kinds of world music, from ancient ballads to new songs. The 1960s folk movement revived interest in the old songs and tunes, and gave rise to the folksinger or singer-songwriter. Folk has fostered other styles, like oldtime, bluegrass, jazz, rock, indie rock, punk and many others.