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Traditional music
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Traditional music

The phrase traditional music normally designates the indigenous music of a people, played in a social context. Traditional music is communicated from person to person orally, "by word of mouth", rather than in printed form or through recordings or broadcasting.

The term is sometimes, but not always, used interchangeably with folk music. The latter term is ambiguous, however. Many forms of traditional music have been a source of inspiration to popular musicians, who as a result have introduced new forms of music that are inspired by traditional music, but performed and commercially distributed in ways characteristic of popular music; the phenomenon has occurred, for example, in Irish traditional music. The term "folk music" thus currently designates traditional music, and also designates the genre "popular music as inspired by traditional music".

The term "traditional music" is less ambiguous; it fairly clearly designates the indigenous music of a people, rather than whatever commercial music has arisen from it.

For discussion of traditional music, see the Wikipedia article on Folk music.