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Folk Music of Poland
Polish folk music was collected in the 19th century by Oskar Kolberg, as part of a wave of Polish nationalist thought. With the coming of the world wars and then the Communist state, folk traditions were oppressed or subsumed into state-approved folk ensembles.

Polish dance music, especially the mazurka and polonaise, were popularised by Chopin, and they soon spread across Europe and elsewhere. These are triple time dances, while five-beat forms are more common in the northeast and duple-time dances like the polka and krakowiak come from the south.

While folk music has largely died out in Poland, especially in urban areas, the tourist destination of Podhale has retained its traditions. The regional capital, Zakopane, has been a centre for art since the late 19th century, when people like composer Karol Szymanowski 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. Duple-time dances like the krzesany, zbójnicki and ozwodna are popular. Folk songs typically focus on heroes like Janosik.

Contributed by Wikipedia
7 January 2004

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