Nordic folk music includes a number of traditions of Nordic countries, especially Scandinavian. The Nordic countries are Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
The many regions of the Nordic countries share certain traditions, many of which have diverged significantly. It is possible to group together Finland, Estonia, Latvia and northwest Russia as sharing cultural similarities, contrasted with Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Atlantic islands of Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Greenland's Inuit culture has its own musical traditions, influenced by Scandinavian culture. Finland shares many cultural similarities with both Baltics and the Scandinavian nations. The Saami of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia have their own unique culture, with ties to the neighboring cultures.
Main article: Sámi music
The Sami are found in Norway, Sweden, Finland and the northwest corner of Russia. The only traditional Sami instruments are drums and the flute, though modern bands use a variety of instrumentation. Joiks, unrhymed works without definite structure, are the most characteristic kind of song.
Balto-Finnic music is a category of music of Balto-Finnic people, that overlaps with both Nordic folk music of Nordic countries and Baltic folk music of Baltic states.
Finland's musical ties are primarily to the Balto-Finnic peoples of Russia and Estonia (Cronshaw, 91). Runolaulu (runo-song) is a kind of song found throughout this area. Estonia and Finland both have national epics based on interconnected forms of runo-song, Kalevipoeg and Kalevala, respectively. "Estonian runo-song has the same basic form as the Finnish variety to which it is related: the line has eight beats, the melody rarely spans more than the first five notes of a diatonic scale and its short phrases tend to use descending patterns" (Cronshaw, 16).
In recent times Nordic folk music is used in developing the background score for movies, TV shows and games. Popular TV shows like Game of Thrones and games like God of War have used Nordic folk music to give a mythic experience.