#1
Well, as we know folk music is usually passed down, altered etc and sometimes essentially recycled.


Bob Dylan - Girl from the North Country and Boots of Spanish Leather are obviously the same song, however one thing did occur to me


Someone has said these songs were both based heavily on Scarborough Fair - I hear it slightly, but I would never have came to that conclusion.


Is there some sort of database that shows the evolution of folk music comparing old and new?
#2
No, there's no universal database. People spend decades of their life devoted to tracing the origins of the folk songs of just a single region or country. A prevalent aspect of folk song is taking a familiar tune and putting new words to it. This is true for a lot of reasons, but a big one is that folk song is often spontaneously composed for entertainment, so it makes sense to take a melody that everyone knows and put new words to it.
#3
I know Bartok and Liszt borrowed from the dirty Gypsies folk and emulated some of their instruments through the piano to preserve the music. Hope that helps
#4
you're kinda stepping away from strictly musical knowledge into anthropology when you get involved in folk

in any case, folk's "evolution" is far from linear and spans into areas of music that weren't necessarily written or recorded, so it would be quite a task to get a hold of a lot of information (much less correct information)
modes are a social construct
#5
Quote by Hail
you're kinda stepping away from strictly musical knowledge into anthropology when you get involved in folk

in any case, folk's "evolution" is far from linear and spans into areas of music that weren't necessarily written or recorded, so it would be quite a task to get a hold of a lot of information (much less correct information)

Exactly. To really understand folk music there's a lot of cultural elements that you also have to study, like traditional and religious factors. And one of the things that makes folk music folk music is that it wasn't written down, it's almost exclusively transmitted orally and so it tends to be difficult to study. Especially now that oral knowledge is dying really quickly around the world.
#6
Someone has said these songs were both based heavily on Scarborough Fair - I hear it slightly, but I would never have came to that conclusion.
#7
Woody Guthrie opined that if you had a good melody it was silly to waste it on just one song...

Back before there were such things as copyrights and litigation.... Folk musicians of all kinds borrowed freely.
Anyone who's familiar with blues music will see the same lyrics used over and over again in all sorts of songs.
Ethnomusicologists go bananas over this sort of thing... The Library of Congress has many thousands of songs "collected" from sources all over the country.