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The Influence of Bob Dylan on Folk Music

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The Influence of Bob Dylan on Folk Music Essay

Many people know of Bob Dylan and his influence on folk music, but some don’t know of how his song Oxford Town represents the trends of folk music during the 1960s. These trends discussed will be based on the lyrics in the song, instrumentation included in the music, repetition in the song, and the influence of Woody Guthrie in the song including message, instrumentation, and tempo.

The lyrics in this song represent trends in folk music in many ways. The lyrics of a folk song should tell a story of some sort. The stories written about in folk music talk about social issues, which tend to be broadly interpreted and have many meanings. This song in particular tells a story of James Meredith who indeed was the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. This story related to the 1960s because this was when the civil rights movement was occurring. The instruments used in folk music tend to be acoustic instruments. The harmonica and guitar were used in Oxford Town. The use of repetition in the song helps to paint the picture of what is being said. Trends of folk music pertaining to repetition in the 1960s were very vague. In the song Oxford Town, the only repetition was the repetition of the word “Oxford Town”, so he really never refers to Ole Miss or Meredith which means the words could easily apply to any racial conflict. Woody Guthrie had a huge influence on Bob Dylan. He inspired music and politics in folk music. Guthrie was one of the first musicians to create the association between left-wing politics and folk music. Bob Dylan used instrumentation that Woody Guthrie used to, which were the harmonica and harmonica rack. Bob Dylan admired Woody Guthrie’s music and the tempo throughout all of his music. He moved to New York to spend time with Guthrie who was dying to learn everything he knew about music. Woody Guthrie was a huge influence on Bob Dylan and provided a lot of guidance when producing his own folk music. All of these terms help to show how Bob Dylan’s Oxford Town represents the trends of folk music during the 1960s.

As one can see, Bob Dylan was a central influence and representative of the development of folk music. His song Oxford Town represents the trend of folk music during the 1960s in terms of lyrics, instrumentation, the repetition of the song, and how his influencer, Woody Guthrie, played a huge part on his music. 

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