FOLK MUSIC ARCHIVING AND EUROPEAN PROJECTS: THE POLISH CASE
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From its very beginnings, comparative musicology (and then ethnomusicology) made use of sound recordings as the basic instrument of its research methodology, and regarded the phonographic archive as an institution essential to the very functioning of the discipline. The creation of the first European phonographic archives in Vienna (1899) and Berlin (1900) was followed by the establishment of numerous institutions which undertook the documentation of the traditional music of the world and the folk culture of European countries. In view of the variations between their profiles and the functions they fulfil, the unequal level of sophistication in the processing of data, as well as the fact that technical solutions in each case were reached on an individual basis, these archives most frequently exist in isolation from each other. It is only recently that a number of initiatives have been undertaken to create the possibility of simultaneous access to a number of collections. One of the leading examples of this is the project DISMARC (DIScovering Music ARChives), co-financed by the European Commission as part of the econtentplus programme during the years 2006-2008. As a result of Poland's participation in this project, the database of the Phonographic Collection held by the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences has now joined the collection of world heritage online. This database is the largest and most valuable collection of recordings of Polish folk music. Its oldest part includes recordings from the early twentieth century, when Polish folkloristic phonography was in the initial stages of its development, stimulated by the Polish participation in the Austrian 'Das Volkslied in Österreich' campaign, but destroyed by the tragic consequences of the Second World War. It also includes recordings made immediately after the end of the Second World War, during the years 1945-1951. The metadata of the latter collection, consisting of 420 discs with recordings of folk music from various regions of Poland (dominated by recordings from the Wielkopolska region), has been digitalised as part of the DISMARC project. As a result, the collection can be searched for performers, locations, mediums of performance and also, partially, for genres. This is illustrated by the short description of the collection's contents provided in the article.
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