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The study of folk violin playing to shed some light on the classic practices

Poland is known for its written and unwritten music. First, the work of composers was transferred to the next generations. They were just symbols, such as tablature and notations.

In the second phase, the oral tradition is transferred to the students from teachers. It was known as the folk or traditional music. Both the eras had a lot of influence and inspiration for the next generation of dancing violinists.


So, if we study folk music, we can find a lot of information about the old instruments and the classic practices.

Extant texts and iconography is one way of finding out how the violin was used in the 16th century. While they don’t tell us a lot about the playing techniques, they can help us know how those instruments looked like and how they were held while playing.

The anatomy and physiology of the tap dancing violinists has not changed much over time. And the same is true about the violin playing.


According to the folk traditions, violin is played for providing dance accompaniment. This is what conditions the playing technique and repertoire choices.

As far as the written music is concerned, the violin has played the same role in the 16th and 17th century.

In the later 17th century, the violin was commonly used in the traditional music. The Cossack insurrection under the leadership of Bohadan Khmelnytasky, plague epidemics, and the Swedish invasion during the Great Northern War caused depopulation, and economic destruction.

All of this chaos resulted in job loss for professional bagpipers who had been making a great deal of income before. Over time, violinists took their place and got popular in the 90s.

Folk music is diverse as far as performance practice and instruments are concerned. Folk violins have different sizes, shapes, components, and construction materials.

Although the folk luthiers had a specific construction model in mind, it may find realization in many forms. The same thing happened in the 16th century as well.

It’s important to note that folk violins of today share similar construction features with its predecessors. The same is true about basy or basses as well.

Over time, the construction of bows changed as they developed with the passage of time. Different forms of bows survived till today, such as the bows with hair stuck to the stick and the ones that featured an adjustable frog.

Just like violins, old folk fiddles came with catgut strings and it was easy to keep them tight just like the modern violins. However, the sound of those violins was not as strong as that of the violins of today.


Just like the old dancing violinists, folk fiddlers hold their instruments in different ways when playing. Some players keep them to their shoulders, others to their chest, neck or breastbone.

Both forms of music featured tempo rubato, and it was realized in a different way in each practice. Good accompaniment makes dancing easier by indicating the right accents, rhythm, and meter. And this has been greatly helpful for tap dancing violinists.

But the bad one lacks these qualities.

So, this was a brief study of folk violin playing to help you know more about the classic music performance practices.


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