Polish traditional folk music 31/08/2018
The long tradition of Polish folk music stretches all the back to the 10th century. There, the first hints of a distinct, Polish style of music began, starting off as a series of religious songs where the melody rose above all.
Since then, though, Polish folk music has had a whole millennium to evolve. Through the intermingling of the Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews that moved in and out of Poland over a thousand years, Polish folk music has turned into something unlike any other style of music in the world – and with a few trademark forms no one should miss.
No style of music is more distinctly Polish that the Krakowiak, a fast, syncopated style of Polish folk music that first grew out of Kraków. It is quick, heavily syncopated music, leaping and bounding across its notes with such a fervor that it’s a struggle not to lift your feet along with every beat.
The Kujawiak, by contrast, is a smooth, flowing dance, performed with a calm and quiet dignity. Unlike the Krakowiak, dancers hearing these songs don’t stamp or jump; instead, they spin in graceful, twirling circles to the gorgeous melodies of a graceful, waltz-like triple meter.
The fastest of Poland’s traditional styles of dance and music is the Oberek, a fast, bouncing, polka-like dance that bounds and spins with every note. With rapid steps and turns, Oberek dances spin, twirl and leap along to the music.
The Mazurka and the Polonaise
Two styles of music popularized by Poland’s most famous composer, Frederic Chopin, have their roots in Polish folk music. The Polonaise, whose name is taken from the French word for “Polish”, is a rapid, sixteenth-note based style of dance that spread through Europe during the 17th century and became one of the most popular forms of dance in its royal courts.
The Mazurka, is a style of Polish folk music in 3/4 time, with strong, surprising accents leaping at you on the second or third beat.
Listening To Polish Folk Music
Music, though, isn’t meant to be read about – it’s meant to be heard. And that’s why any visitor to Poland would be missing out on an incredible experience if they didn’t see the Polish Folk Music Concerts held by Cracow Concerts.
Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:00 PM, at 45 Florianska St. in Kraków, Poland’s greatest traditional songs can be heard. Dancers, in traditional outfits, spin and twirl, and traditional Polish meals are served.
It’s an incredible experience that any visitor to Poland should never miss; a way to take a real taste of Poland’s vibrant culture.