The article is devoted to various historical and cultural aspects of music traditions in the mountain regions of Poland. It is an attempt at describing the sense of ethnic distinctiveness among the inhabitants of the Tatra and Beskidy mountains, their attitude towards visitors and the role, which these visitors played, as well as the impact of their culture on artists and intellectuals. The author shows how these reciprocal relations evolved over the centuries, e.g. the conflict between magical thinking characteristic of mountain folk traditions and the missionary work of Catholic Church. He puts forward a hypothesis that the changes in the musical repertoire were brought about by the value-judgments of researchers there. This led to the elevation of the supposed 'original' stylistic elements, artificial selection and in consequence unnatural stylistic and formal unity of the Podhale music, which is in fact characterized by the assimilation of various ethnic influences, linked to subsequent stages of settlement in the region. The author also analyzes the reasons of historical changes in the instruments used by musicians there, as well as transformations of performance conditions up to present day.