v     “Any category of artistic, musical or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, content or context.”

v     A particular category of lore.  Examples within a certain genre share characteristics with other examples in that genre.

v     Used by scholars in order to study and classify materials.

 4 branches of folkloristics: ORAL, GESTURAL, CUSTOMARY, MATERIAL

 ORAL NARRATIVES (main genres)

EPICS: Epics are long narratives involving culture heroes, sung by bards in poetic verse; often used to inform or direct the culture and for entertainment.

 FOLKTALES:  Narratives that are not believed to be true, completely fictional stories, often in timeless, placeless settings (once upon a time) with one-dimensional characters (good or bad) used to entertain and inspire, enlighten.

            Sub-Genres of Folktales

Complex (multiple episodes)                            Simple (single episode)

                                Märchen (=wonder, fairy tale)                            Jocular Tale       (joke, tall tale)

                                Religious                                                                           Formula Tale (proverb, catch tale)

                                Novella                                                                                Fable

                                Trickster Tale

LEGENDS:  Prose narratives set in the present or recent past, supposedly true (believed), set in the contemporary or remembered real world with realistic characters, can be sacred or secular, used to scare, teach, inform, entertain. Local and Urban varieties.

MYTHS:  Myths are usually considered to be narrative set in the distant past (or origin) that are often directive of social norms or values. They are often considered to be sacred and may explain how things came to be (often associated with religion or rituals).

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE NARRATIVES: First-person accounts about a personal experience.  Content is not traditional; this is a unique story about an event that has occurred in the narrator's life.


FESTIVAL:  regularly recurring cultural performance, public and large scale, often linked with annual cycle.  Involve community participation, and multiple purposes and expressive forms.

RITUAL:  category of symbolic behavior, regularly performed, occasionally associated with but not necessarily dependent on religious myth.  Complex meanings (because of symbols).

FOLK ART AND FOLK CRAFT:  material things that use traditional techniques, designs, and forms and use locally available materials.

FOLK ART:  aesthetics more important

FOLK CRAFT:  function more important