Website on Polish folk instruments launched

17 March 2015

The website presents music instruments and sound-making tools used across Poland. The database features over 200 exhibits that come from Poland's leading collections (Warsaw, Poznań, Szydłowiec, Izabelin), dating from 1705 to 2011.

Although efforts have been taken to catalogue Polish folk instruments, our knowledge of the field is still inadequate (also because Kolberg did not document this type of heritage). The website is the first to contain such wealth of comparative material (over 1000 new photographs with descriptions provided by experts) complemented with audio recordings from Polish Radio's collections, archive resources from the Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, and audio and video materials collected by the Institute of Music and Dance. The project may boast contributions from prominent scholars (Professor Z. Przerembski and Professor B. Vogel).

The website is a valuable educational resource for everybody, yet its quality will satisfy specialists and academics. The database uses the Hornbostel and Sachs classification of music instruments (1914), whose latest version (MIMO, 2011) was translated into Polish for the first time for the purpose of the project. The instruments are classified according to European norms and their descriptions are standardised. 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 that each instrument played in folk culture. The website is meant to serve as a resource for organology research and monographic works on Polish instrumental music. The database is designed as a catalogue to which new records may be added. The website is available in Polish and English and is run by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw.