The most distinctive musical instrument unique to Ukraine is the bandura, a circa 7th century invention used for folk music. Starting in the 15th century, travelling musicians (kobzars) used the bandura for epic folk tales (dumy), while the secretive, blind kobzari invented their own bandura music. The instrument grew more and more complex, adding strings and switches for changing tonalities. During Soviet domination, the bandura was repressed as was all distinctively Ukrainian culture.
Ukrainian culture has many similarities to its Carpathian neighbours, especially Poland and Romania. Early in the 20th century, Ukrainian immigrants to the United States became famous for their fiddle music, especially Pavlo Humeniuk. American musicians, especially from the Cleveland area, became especially well-known and, in many ways, preserved Ukrainian traditions more than those in the Ukraine. The Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus was especially important in this development.
The Hutsuls, a distinct group of Ukrainians, are known for their trembita, a form of horn, and their multiple varieties of the flute. Elsewhere in Ukraine, vocal polyphony is popular but has seen as a decrease in acceptance in recent years as Western pop and rock became popular.