Traditional Songs

What Makes a Song Traditional?

Children’s songs manage to do something that other songs have a difficult time achieving; they transcend time. In many cases, the same song a parent remembers from their own childhood is a song that will delight their child, and their child after that. Children’s songs can quickly fall into the category of a traditional song. Traditional songs can be from all different song genres. They may be food songs, or they could be songs about love, they can even be transport songs or patriotic songs. Regardless of their genre many traditional children songs can be dated back twenty, thirty or even one hundred years, depending on the song.

What Makes a Song Traditional?

The idea of “traditional” music is hard to define. Not every song that is 30, 40 or 50 years old is automatically traditional. So, what exactly is a traditional song? A traditional song has several elements that must be present for it to be considered traditional. The song must be relatively old, or fit in with the older traditional sounds of music from past eras. The song must be easy to remember, often using rhymes and other forms of repetition to be easily remembered. The song must also have had a measure of popularity across several decades. For example, a song that was popular in the 1960s, but never again, would not necessarily be considered traditional. A song that has had varying degrees of popularity over the course of 30 or more years will be, more often than not, considered traditional. Different cultures will also have different songs they consider traditional. American songs that are traditional will vary greatly from songs of the same category in the United Kingdom, or Brazil or China. Many American, traditional songs focus on American folklore and customs.

Famous Traditional Songs

Some of the most famous traditional songs can be categorized as nursery rhymes. For example, The Itsy Bitsy Spider is a classic song that has been sung for many decades. While it is a traditional song, it is generally thought of as a nursery rhyme because of the easy to learn music and the rhythm of the song. These songs are intended to be easy to learn for young children, and it keeps them entertained because of the rhythm or sound of it. The same can be said for Jimmy Crack Corn and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Some traditional songs are transport songs, The Wheels on the Bus is a perfect example of a traditional transport song.

Songs from Today

There are many current songs that can be considered traditional by some definition, or, at the very least, they fit in with tradition. Theme songs from today’s children’s shows may, one day, become traditional songs that are sung by children in the next generation, just as songs from the past have resurfaced to be sung by children of today. What will become of traditional songs in the future is still unknown, but it can be said that there will surely be songs that we all remember for years to come that will be sung over and over again by children and adults alike. Whether or not they will be considered traditional songs 30 years from now isn’t set in stone, but it seems likely.

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