Polish Folk Music
24 Apr 2015 | From Grzegorz of Poland
Artists from Poland, including famous composers like Chopin or Lutosławski and traditional, regionalised folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music scene, which even recognises its own music genres, such as poezja śpiewana (sung poetry).
Polish folk music was collected in the 19th century by Oskar Kolberg, as part of a wave of Polish national revival. With the coming of the world wars and then the Communist state, folk traditions were oppressed or subsumed into state-approved folk ensembles. While folk music lost popularity in Poland, especially in urban areas, the tourist destination of Podhale has retained its traditions lively. The regional capital, Zakopane, has been a center for art since the late 19th century, when people like composer Karol Szymanowski, who discovered Goral folk music there, made the area chic among Europe's intellectuals.
Local ensembles use string instruments like violins and a cello to play a distinctive scale called the Lydian mode. The distinctive singing style used in this scale is called lidyzowanie. The lead violin (prym) are accompanied by several second violins (sekund) and a three-stringed cello (bazy). Duple-time dances like the krzesany, zbójnicki (Brigand's Dances) and ozwodna are popular. Folk songs typically focus on heroes like Juraj Jánošík.