A group of cultural phenomena implemented through verbal, musical, singing, playing, dance and dramatic direct, meaning contact, communication. In particular, we speak about verbal folklore, musical folklore, dance folklore, children´s folklore and puppet theatre. Folklore production came into being in traditional environment, mostly anonymously, without mutual fixation. Some folklore genres have lost their social function and durability, other ones still develop and accept impulses from existing social environment. Thus folklore is not a closed system in any way.

The documentation of contemporary expressions of traditional folk culture emphasizes local specialities, representative and specific phenomena, however, in the case of folklore occasions it is reasonable to capture these expressions in their full spectrum and to notice all occasions on which it is possible to record musical, dance or verbal folklore, whether it plays a significant or just a supplementary role. Bearers of folk traditions – performers, authors, local experts in traditions, collectors, chroniclers and producers of musical instruments – are not less important.

Although many folklore phenomena in their original form and function have disappeared in most regions of our republic, in several locations and regions, despite their disappearance, they can continue being an important part of local traditions and regional identity, and the community consider them to be their own, representative and commonly known. Even such phenomena must be recorded.

The regional and local identity and verbal culture also features language – dialect including several traditional sayings, comparisons, nicknames and archaisms. These phenomena should be captured as well.

1.1 Verbal folklore

Verbal folklore or folk literature is divided into folk prose and folk poetry (songs). It includes lyric and epic, prosaic, rhymed and dramatic pieces. Over centuries, verbal folklore has contained very stable themes and opinions, which co-created the system of moral, ethic, aesthetic and other values. Current research have confirmed that folklore tradition must be monitored in connection with the entire development of culture and society. The direct communication between persons live in addition to literature and mass audio-visual means, such as radio, film, and television, supplementing them and mixing with them. The above mass means sometimes replace folklore genres and expressions. Folklore communication is a natural and direct communication among persons, and it is mostly used in small social groups, families etc., where certain stable inter-personal relations exist. Folklore communication and expressions keep various functions and they are used as information, entertainment and art. The still living genres include legends (local and historical, superstitious), urban legends and myths, rumours, anecdotes and humorous narrations, family stories, life narratives, and a large group of children´s folklore.

Folk literature, narration, does not live by itself: it is accompanied by its interpreter and a situation, occasion to interpret it as items of the same value. This applies to all items of folklore. Each folklore composition live fully just in its particular wording which it is given by its bearer/interpreter on a certain place, at a certain time and within certain social situations.  These are not unchangeable structures, but concrete variants.

1.1.1 Repertoire

1.1.1.1 Prose:

Wherever people meet and work, they narrate stories. “Traditional”  forms of narratives, such as fairy-tales and superstitious (demonological) stories, can hardly be recorded today, but local and historical legends have kept their vitality and continuity with the tradition. The most vital ones include humorous narrations and anecdotes/jokes. Humorous stories and jokes are very popular, they live across all social classes and among member of all generations, in cities and villages. The jokes develop from day to day, and they are accompanied by the transformation from verbal tradition to spreading by mass media. In addition to jokes, it is life stories, memorates, that make up the most living and largest group of folk oral tradition. This includes stories based on personal experience, topical news, sensations. They used to be narrated in the past as well but the collectors were not interested in them. They feature diverse themes.

1.1.1.2 Small folklore genres: These are proverbs, sayings, adages, weather lores, riddles, or incantations. They keep being part of life and wisdom.

1.1.1.3 Folk theatre: Transformation is one of the basic theatre features. Present-day folk plays contain a group of theatre expressions beginning with the most simple children´s plays (Bloody Man, About Colours etc.) and custom scenes (e.g. kermesse, vintage festival, Carnival) and door-to-door processions (carolling, St, Nicholas Day, St. Lucy Day etc.) to games with neighbours, puppet plays and amateur theatre.

1.1.1.4 Children´s folklore: Children´s groups and classes, e.g. at schools, are bearers and creators of folklore and other phenomena today, which consist in immediate verbal communication. The term “children´s folklore” covers different verbal, musical, dance and dramatic expressions that live among children and young people. Religious ideas and superstitions are among these expressions too. Our interest focusses on children´s folklore and its bearers and significant persons and occasions, as well as on folklore for children, i.e. lullabies, playing with child´s fingers, nursery rhymes etc., told by adults to children.

1.1.1.4.1 Children´s repertoire: It includes a plenty of language and non-language activities which are among children based on common understanding. These are games (traditional and new, e.g. sports ones), nursery rhymes, riddles, humorous questions, jokes and narratives.

1.1.1.4.2. Adults´ repertoire intended for children (lullabies, plays with babies, playing with child´s fingers, fairy-tales)

1.1.2 Bearers

significant interpreters – narrators, contemporaries, authors of particular verbal structures, collectors and experts in traditions of verbal folklore in a corresponding location or region

1.1.3 Occasions

different occasions on which we can encounter folk narration in a corresponding location – either in its active form as a life narration, or passively – to listen

Literature: Leščák, M.  – Sirovátka,O.: Folklór a folkloristika. O ľudovej slovesnosti [Folklore and Folkloristics. On folk literature]. Bratislava 1982. * Verbal folklore. In: Jančář, J. (ed.): Lidová kultura na Moravě. Vlastivěda moravská, nová řada, sv. 10. Strážnice – Brno 2000, pp. 248-274. * Sirovátka, O.: Folkloristické studie. Brno 2002.

1.2 Musical folklore

Speaking about this realm, we can experience both expressions related to “organized folklore movement” (folk ensembles, folk music bands – with bagpipes, with cimbalom, playing brass music, and folk music bands playing without cimbalom) and folklore musical and dance expressions associated with different special occasions – whethe these are annual customs (Carnival, kermesse, maypole falling, harvest festival) or cultural and solemn events. These, of course, can serve different functions, e.g. entertaining (balls, Carnival, kermesse), representative (pilgrimage, kermesse, festivals, official events of an institution), ceremonial (wedding, burial, blessing of a flag), and social-integrational (different dance and singing occasions or programme to listen).

1.2.1 Song, singing

The history of folk music always featured a permanent mixing of diverse influences and genres, which were transformed in folk environment and spread by means of direct communication – in a verbal way. For this reason, the repertoire of spontaneous folk singing consisted and still consists of songs and compositions of diverse nature and provenience, whose author was usually not known and which were subject to a great variability and regional differences due to the verbal tradition. In addition to this traditional folklore song material we can also find thematic songs that are passed down and safeguarded within different social groups (e.g. professional or hobby groups – miners, tramps, scouts, members of school classes, clubs, ensembles etc.). The repertoire of similar associations is termed as a “group song”. An important place in this repertoire is occupied by commonly well-known and popular folk songs from many ethnographic areas, especially from the region of Slovácko. Spontaneous songfulness in several regions is typical for contemporary author´s works presented by brass music bands. The occasions on which one can notice folk songs, whether in an active way – singing, dancing, or in a passive way – just listening to, are very varied and they can perform a lot of cultural and social functions.

1.2.1.1 Repertoire (sorts of songs which were or are typical for a location or region and which are an important part of local tradition whether in their living form, or as part of memory: e. g. some dance songs, songs related to a certain kind of occupation, carols, lullabies, children´s repertoire, folk spiritual songs, ballads)

1.2.1.2 Bearers (important interpreters – singers, musicians, contemporaries, authors of songs, collectors, experts in song traditions in a location or region)

1.2.1.3 Occasions – different occasions on which we can encounter folk songs in a corresponding location – either in an active form – singing, dancing, or passively – just listening)

1.2.2 Instrumental music

Folk instrumental music was always closely connected with singing and dancing, and for this reason the musicians gathered in various associations. Currently, the musical folklore is represented by both groups of instruments closely associated with folk traditions (e.g. small or big rural music band, two or three bagpipe players in Moravia, folk music bands playing without cimbalom, and bagpipe, cimbalom and brass music bands), and many other ensembles of different kind, beginning with spontaneous sets of instruments playing on diverse annual occasions to dance, folk-rock, and country-music bands etc. in addition to instruments play, the music bands differ in their core activity, social function, extent to which they use folklore material, way of arrangements etc. Therefore, it is more important to observe their place and function in developing ethno-cultural traditions of villages or regions.

1.2.2.1 Musical instruments (instruments related to local traditional folk music)

1.2.2.2 Producers of musical instruments (producers of musical instruments related to local traditional folk music, who work in a corresponding location)

1.2.2.3 Musicians (musicians focussed on folk repertoire, who work in a corresponding location)

1.2.2.4 Instrumental ensembles (music bands that present musical folklore – it is necessary to record all types of instrumental ensembles which involve musical folklore in their repertoire in any way: bagpipe, cimbalom and brass music bands, dance bands, accordion players, and other individual musicians, other smaller or bigger musical ensembles)

1.2.2.5 Musical occasion (events at which instrumental ensembles presenting folklore repertoire can be noticed)

Literature: Karbusický, Vladimír – Markl, Jaroslav – Pletka, Václav: Lidová a zlidovělá píseň [Folk and Popularized Song]. In: Československá vlastivěda díl III. Lidová kultura. Praha, Orbis 1968, pp. 301-350. * Kunz, Ludvík: Die Volksmusikinstrumente der Tschechoslowakei. Teil I. Lepizig, VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik Leipzig 1974 * Kurfürst, Pavel: Hudební nástroje [Musical Instruments]. Praha, TOGGA 2002. * Toncrová, Marta – Uhlíková, Lucie: Hudební folklore [Musical Instruments]. In: Jančář, J. (ed.): Lidová kultura na Moravě. Vlastivěda moravská. Země a lid. Nová řada, sv. 10. Strážnice – Brno, Ústav lidové kultury ve Strážnici – Muzejní a vlastivědná společnost v Brně 2000, pp. 275-303. * Václavek, Bedřich: Písemnictví a lidová tradice [Literature and Folk Tradition]. Olomouc 1938. * Vetterl, Karel: Lidová hudba [Folk Music]. In: Československá vlastivěda díl III. Lidová kultura. Praha, Orbis 1968, pp. 350-364.

1.3 Dance Folklore

Conducting research into dance and dancefulness, one cannot disregard that it is cultural-historical, social and psychological criteria, rather than the ethnographic perspective, that can better explain their present-day position. Many dance expressions, which were part of local tradition and they even are considered to be such a tradition again, became part of that tradition only under the influence of developing folklore movement. For this reason, one cannot ignore folklorism that could fully over-cover culture situation in a location on the one hand (e.g. transfer of dances from other locations, their integration in local repertoire), but that could connect it with traditional cultural elements on the other hand, which would have been fully closed for further transfer (e.g. organized renewal of location´s older dances which were available just in collectors´ records). The broader cultural-historical approach makes it possible to integrate even modern-style dance expressions into the research (waltz, polka, dances from the 1920s and 1930s, period dance games, several dance trends from the second half of the 20th century etc.), which however have become a basis for common quality of dancing in the last decades. Only after the quality of dancing is recorded, being approached in the social and psychological way, the importance of the role of dance expressions based on tradition can be determined in a corresponding location.

1.3.1. Dances

  1. a) dances which have their roots in the tradition, or which have been integrated into it. Dances with free internal ties (e.g. rotating dances in Moravia and Silesia – sedlcká, skočná, točená, valaská, vrtěná); dances with firm internal ties (i.e. figurative dances in all regions); popularized dances of newer layer (waltz, polka).
  2. b) dances which were part of common period repertoire (tango, waltz, the Charleston, shimmy etc.)
  3. c) dances which have been brought or spread by modern folklore movement
  4. d) dances of fashion dance trends, which are actively danced in a location

1.3.2. Interpreters

– significant persons who were and still are among “bearers” of folk dances, and initiators and maintainers of common quality of dancing (dance teachers, organizers of dance performances and dance parties, leaders of dance ensembles, etc.)

1.3.3. Occasions

– occasions on which the dance, especially the folk and folk-based dance, occur

  1. a) spontaneous occasions (dance as a form of entertainment at public, family and private celebrations)
  2. b) representative (dance as part of a ceremonial or a programme on official traditional (and present-day) occasions – kermesses, pilgrimages, carnival etc.); stage performances within folklore movement, including festivals)

1.3.4. Accompanying music

– instrumental ensembles and soloist accompanying any dance occasion

Literatura: Jelínková, Z. – Laudová, H. –Podešvová, H.: Lidový tanec [Folk Dance]. In: Československá vlastivěda, díl III. Lidová kultura. Praha, Orbis 1968, pp. 364-390. * Tanec, záznam, analýza, pojmy [Dance, Recording, Analysis, Terms] (ed. Stavělová, D.– Traxler, J. –Vejvoda, Z.) Praha 2004. * Pavlicová, M.: Marie Ježková z Dolního Němčí. Portrét současné nositelky lidového tance [Marie Ježková from Dolní Němčí. A Portrait of the Current Bearer of Folk Dance ]. Národopisná revue 1995, pp. 195-202. * Národopisná revue 11, 2001, č. 2

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