Folk music can have a number of different meanings, including:
- Traditional music: The original meaning of the term "folk music" was synonymous with the term "Traditional music", also often including World Music and Roots music; the term "Traditional music" was given its more specific meaning to distinguish it from the other definitions that "Folk music" is now considered to encompass.
- Folk music can also describe a particular kind of popular music which is based on traditional music. In contemporary times, this kind of folk music is often performed by professional musicians. Related genres include Folk rock, Indie folk, Neofolk, Progressive folk, pop folk, turbofolk, and chalga music.
- In American culture, folk music refers to the American folk music revival, music exemplified by such musicians as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez, who popularized, encouraged and revolutionized in many ways the lyrical style in the 1950s and 1960s.