Since What Is Folk and What Is Traditional continues to be discussed in email lists, newsgroups and forums, I noticed this definition posted today in the Irish Traditional Music list (where the topic doesn't die, as on Mudcat). The topic was defining "traditional" once again...
QUOTE IRTRAD-L Feb. 16, 2001
From: Deirdre Sullivan & Paul de Grae
...It may be useful to quote a definition which was adopted by the International Folk Music Council in 1954, after a great deal of debate; they use the words "folk music" where we would say "traditional music":
"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives."
So the International Folk Music Council, I think had a good conclusion that I would sum up like this:
1. Process of oral tradition
2. Present linked to past
3. Creative variation
4. Preserved by a community
not the final word Alice