List of folk song collections

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This is a list of folk song collections including pioneer and notable work in collecting folk songs.

Many such collections were made in the 19th century. The earlier ones are often considered to be parts of the National Romanticist interests in folklore. The monumental efforts of single enthusiasts laid the foundation for the modern academic investigations of epic folk songs. The comments made by various collectors also indicate that they respected and were inspired by the work done by their counterparts. Child's comments show that he indeed could read and understand ballads in Scandinavian languages.

The following table lists comparable pioneering works from different countries or language areas, and corresponding modern scholarly collections or classifications. The 'pioneers' are not necessarily the first collectors, but they were each the first to gain widespread recognition, and to provide classification or at least useful enumeration.

Country/region Title Collector Modern classification
China Anthology of Yuefu Poetry (translated) Guo Maoqian Traditional, with some elaboration
Denmark Danmarks gamle Folkeviser (DgF) started by S. H. Grundtvig 1853. The original classification is essentially retained but expanded.
England Various Cecil Sharp The founding father of the Folk Song Revival in England
Faroe Islands Færøiske kveder V.U. Hammershaimb Føroya kvæði. Corpus carminum Færoensium (CCF)
Finland/Karelia Suomen kansan vanhat runot Christfried Ganander, Elias Lönnrot and others The original classification is still in use
France Chants et chansons populaires de la France Théophile Marion Dumersan The original classification is still in use.
Germany Deutscher Liederhort Ludwig Erk, Franz Magnus Böhme Deutsche Volkslieder mit ihren Melodien. Balladen (DVM)
Great Britain, and American variants Child Ballads Francis James Child The original classification is still in use.
Great Britain, Ireland and North America Roud Folk Song Index Steve Roud A database of songs in folk song collections, field recordings and folk song publications.
Iceland Íslenzk fornkvæði Jón Sigurdsson, Svend Grundtvig The original classification is still in use.
Ireland Songs of the People Sam Henry The collection was published in book form in 1990.
Italy:Lombardy Canti popolari Lombardi Giulio Ricordi and Leopoldo Pullè The original classification is still in use.
Italy:Piedmont Canti popolari del Piemonte Costantino Nigra The original classification is still in use.
Italy:Sicily Canti popolari siciliani Giuseppe Pitrè The original classification is still in use.
Norway Utsyn yver gamall norsk folkevisedikting (1912)[1] Leiv Heggstad Ådel Gjøstein Blom (no), Norske mellomalderballadar (NMB) incomplete; Visearkivet Oslo CD-ROM uses TSB
Sweden Svenska folk-visor från forntiden Erik Gustaf Geijer and Arvid August Afzelius Sveriges Medeltida Ballader (SMB).

See also[edit]


  • Marcello Sorce Keller, "The Problem of Classification in Folksong Research: a Short History", Folklore, XCV(1984), no. 1, 100- 104.

External links[edit]