Polish folk musical instruments – launch of a new website

13 March 2015

The Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw is holding the official launch of its new website www.instruments.edu.pl dedicated to Polish folk instruments on 17 March 2015 at midday at the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw.

The website presents music instruments and sound-making tools used all over Poland from the 18th to the 21st century. Its is a valuable educational resource for everybody, yet its quality will satisfy specialists and academics.

No existing website contains such wealth of comparative material: brand new photographs with descriptions provided by experts, audio and video recordings, and information on instruments' construction.

The database features 250 unique exhibits that come from Poland's leading collections: Museum of Folk Musical Instruments in Szydłowiec, the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, the Musical Instrument Museum and the Ethnographic Museum in Poznań (departments of the National Museum in Poznań), as well as the Jadwiga and Marian Sobieski Collection.

On the website you will find almost 1000 high quality photos. Some instruments have even been captured using 360 degree imaging. The database is easily searchable thanks to useful filters: you may search by instrument type, time of construction, region, collection, or maker. The website also contains overviews of the musical traditions of different Polish regions, and information on the role each instrument played in folk culture. The database works as a catalogue to which new records may be added.

The multimedia resources available on www.instruments.edu.pl come from the "Sources of Polish Folk Music" collection of Polish Radio and the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT), archives of the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ISPAN), Muzyka Odnaleziona Music Lost&Found Foundation, and materials collected by IMiT's as part of its two folk revival programmes: Masters of Tradition School and the Master School of Folk Instrument Makers.

All instruments in the database have been classified based on the latest version of the Hornbostel and Sachs classification of music instruments, courtesy of Musical Instrument Museums Online. For this purpose, the classification has been translated into Polish for the first time.

The website is available in Polish and English.

The Institute of Music and Dance has invited acclaimed experts in musicology to join the project: Professor Zbigniew Przerembski (University of Wrocław, Department of Musicology) and Professor Beniamin Vogel (professor emeritus). The young generation of experts in instrumentology is represented by Joanna Gul (University of Wrocław, Department of Musicology). The project is curated by musicologist Agata Mierzejewska. Photographs have been made by Waldemar Kielichowski. The website has been developed by Studio Robot.

The project was implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw in the Oskar Kolberg Year (2014) and financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland as a key project of the celebrations.

Come and meet the website's creators on 17 March at midday at the the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw and listen to live music played on traditional instruments.

We are looking forward to see you there!