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Traditional Music
Traditional Music

Learn English with this music English lesson

Date: Dec 24 2012

Themes: Family, Music

Grammar: First Conditional


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Thanks to the Internet, anyone can hear music from anywhere at any time now. But for most people, there is a certain kind of music that reminds them of home. It’s often the traditional music of their parents and grandparents.

Traditional music is usually folk music, played by common people on acoustic instruments without amplification for many, many years. Some types of traditional music are also well-known art forms now, such as Spain’s Flamenco.

To sing or listen to the songs of your ancestors can make you feel all sorts of things. Listen to Mason and Vanessa talk about the traditional music of their cultures.





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Mason:  I happened to hear on the radio, and I don’t know why they were playing it, one of the songs from “Fiddler on the Roof” the other day. I was raised Jewish, so there’s something about the music of that culture and kind of time period that just gets to me, in a weird way.

Vanessa:  How does it get to you? Do you feel a connection to your heritage? It is the old-fashioned sound that reminds you of maybe your grandparents?

Mason:  It’s kind of a nostalgic thing. There are surely parts of the world where that music, kind of a Klezmer-y feel is more normal, but to me that only happened on special Jewish occasions like Bar Mitzvahs, or weddings, or High Holy Days or things like that. So it always puts me into an “Oh! Something Jewish is happening!” kind of mode, which was always a special occasion for me.

Vanessa:  I see. Now, I grew up listening to Irish music in my house all the time. So to me it sounds normal.

Mason:  And you mean U2?

Vanessa:  U2, but also more traditional Irish folk music.

Mason:  Ok.

Vanessa:  So sometimes I’ll be driving and stop at a light, and be blasting some really old-fashioned fiddle music, and I’ll get some funny looks if my windows are down.

Mason:  Why is it that a lot of the cultural music feels…I almost want to call it outdated?

Vanessa:  Maybe people don’t want to change too much because it makes them feel connected to their heritage, so they don’t want to update it.


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Mason recently heard a song on the radio that reminded him of traditional Jewish music. Hearing music like that reminds him of special occasions when he heard it growing up.

Irish music has the same effect on Vanessa, although it just reminds her of her heritage in general. She heard traditional Irish music every day growing up.

Mason doesn’t know what traditional Irish music sounds like. He imagines it sounds like U2. Vanessa says she’s talking about folk music. Mason thinks that sounds outdated, but Vanessa thinks that’s the point. Some things shouldn’t change.

Tell us about traditional music from your culture. Do you like to hear it? How does it make you feel?



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I love all kind of music but the most I listen to are pop, rock and heavy rock, just like Metallica, which are my favourite music band.

Travelling abroad I like listen to the local music because it makes me part of that country. For exemple two days ago I was in Bali (Indonesia) ad I appreciated very much the music and dance of that Island. 

03:43 AM May 14 2013 |


United States

I grew up during decade of the 1960’s, during that time soul music from Motown (Detroit-Motor City) was very popular.  Music from groups such as: The Temptations, Miracles, Supremes, Four Tops, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Al Green, Jackson Five and others filled the air.

When a new record was released, we would go to our local record shop and buy the 45 rpm record(s).  Some people were into jazz, their musicians were: Wes Montgomery, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and others.

Some people were into Country Music, (I mean, real Country Music.)  A lot of today’s Country Music isn’t really Country Music but a mixture of Rock, Folk, and Pop.  Some of the classic country musicians are: Glen Campbell, Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Reba Mclintyre and others.

Then, there was the invasion from England of Rock groups which took the country by storm, groups such as: The Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and others.

During the 60’s, this was a very turbulent decade politically, socially, economically, morally, religously, racially, militarily and many other areas. What was happening was reflected in the lyrics of the songs.  No other decade (in recent history) in American History has impacted American society as much. 

If you’d like more details of the 60’s in America, here’a a link: http://www.the60sofficialsite.com/

A lot of the music I mentioned is posted in my “Relaxation Lounge” on my profile page.

Even though the 60’s was turbulent, it was the most exciting decade of my life. Many “Baby Boomers” are nostalgic about the sixties, it’s interesting American cultural history.

05:28 AM Dec 27 2012 |



i like folk music of my own country and of some other countries too. i think its a pure form of music and harmony. real music without amplification and mixing is just great to listen. i experienced it many times live with acoustic instruments and with great singers. traditional folk music is the soul any culture and heritage. pakistani folk has great varity in its own with its supreem tunes and languages. its very soothning for mind and soul. we use to arrange folk music nights on many ocassions like wedding parties, on dinners and get togathers. its go great on bonfires in winter’s cold and froasty nights.

08:28 AM Dec 26 2012 |


yuminagaSuper Member!


I like music  such as Jazz ,Ballad  but something to listen to Trandional music is fun  instance acoustic music, they really  can remind you of your heritage.

11:25 PM Dec 24 2012 |


MasbararSuper Member!


I like our traditional musics,specially the Azerbaijan’s songs.They are very sentimental.The meaning of the traditional songs is always meaningful than modern ones.

10:40 PM Dec 24 2012 |

Sajjad Monti

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

traditional music is great, but I’m less interesting in it, because I think it’s a little outdated and aged people likes it more than youth

08:13 PM Dec 24 2012 |



United States

When Christmas time comes I love to listen the traditional music from my country called “Gaitas Zulianas”, they remind me the wonderful christmas time from my country and family. The gaitas are not old fashioned music! they are really update every year with new singers or themes! I definitely love them! and also dance them!! Viva Venezuela! =)

06:38 PM Dec 24 2012 |

konstantin cherta s dva

Russian Federation

When I was 17-18 years old I was really into traditional music of my country, and not only of my country, I also enjoyed Irish folk and traditional music of other nations. But time passed and my music interests changed radically – now when I listen to traditional music I don’t feel those emotions I felt years ago. Traditional music is nice, good, but still and all I don’t feel exciting about it anymore, it doesn’t touches me. I mostly listen to electronic music now.



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

 i like rap music i prefer to live in now i never connected to my heritage by listen to classic music

04:22 PM Dec 24 2012 |




i perfer hear homayon shajarian and aghili i like them 

03:30 PM Dec 24 2012 |

javid moazami

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I like music and i listen to music evry where.music is sound of my life.esspecially traditional music. this kind of music it’s simple and nice. iranian traditional music is Ear-catching and Contented Pleasant Relaxing. other traditional musics are nice too. they are identity and symbol nations.

susan koh


I am a chinese. Ilike to listen our tradtional music which plays on diferent kinds of acoustic instruments. But I like other races and other countries traditional music too. It brings you to a special and historical atmoshere, and sometimes I feel that it is commuicating with our Mother Nature, god or something else. 



I do not know. Recently started listening to foreign popular music. No one among us do not listen to  gangnam style.:) It’s very funy and move song. Even though I listen to traditional music, folk music, but selectively.My mom every time listen traditional music.

12:47 PM Dec 24 2012 |




Argentina is a multicultural country .   After the first and second world war , people from all over the world   had crossed the ocean to start a new life  in a   generous  land that received them with open hands. Hard working immigrants ,not only brought with them their idioms ,food, custom, clothes,    they also brought along   musical instruments as well. We have large communities  :  italian, spanish,jewish, greek ,russian, irish,arab …you name it !! each of them   get together  wearing traditional dresses  to listen and  dance  their own folk music  ,the idea is to preserve  the tradition and the idiom  with  what their ancestors arrived at this country.  




We in Algeria have several types of traditoinal music .Each town has its own style.

08:56 AM Dec 24 2012 |




I like my country’s traditional music. Because Azerbaijan has great traditional music culture and everybody like it when hear any song as a first…

08:43 AM Dec 24 2012 |



i like traditional music.when ı heard ı cry because remind me my grandparents(unfortunatlely they passed away)(thay raised us because my parents divorced when ı was 6 years old)

06:07 AM Dec 24 2012 |



When I was a child, my mom used to listen a local radio channel. This radio channel used to play folk music, especially regional ones. I grew up listening to this channel. This regional folk music reminds me my mom and my childhood to me. 

I agree Vanessa, some things shouldn’t change. Our cultural and historical connections should remain.

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