The main achievement of Oskar Kolberg, the eminent Polish ethnographer and folklorist, was his voluminous ethnographic work. That is how he was perceived - as an outstanding author of ethnography. His education, however, was musical. He was also a composer. That is why the author of the article tries to answer the question about the connection between Oskar Kolberg's education and the fact that in the 'crop' of Polish folk culture 'harvested' by him, songs and melodies predominate other items. Search for this plot in the life and research activities of Oskar Kolberg seems interesting, the more so, because he never found approval as a composer. Having made some, not very successful, attempts of 'meeting the taste' of his contemporaries he eventually concentrated on ethnography and that brought him great fame and esteem in the 19th century Poland and in many other countries as well. Why didn't he gain popularity as a composer? To what extent can and should his ethnographic work be defined as a kind of artistic creativity? These are the questions the author asks in the article. He admits that no direct answer is possible to be given now. He simply presents and juxtaposes particular facts from Kolberg's life. This may not only suggest certain answers but also allows for the analysis of the mechanisms of the 19th century cultural convention. The latter could be one of the clues to understanding the musical and ethnographic production of Oskar Kolberg.