The text is based on interviews with 25 folk musicians, mostly fiddlers of an older generation in central voivodeships of Poland (Masovian and Lódz) in 2001-2003. The concepts of 'beauty' and 'neatness' were discussed during recording and filming of performance of traditional repertoire. The aim of the research was also to document the original terminology and idioms used by the fiddlers especially since the musicians comment on music in times of cultural changes. 'Neatness' refers to something familiar, connected to earlier listening experiences, understandable and evoking positive emotions. Neatness is associated also with a general order and conformity to social needs and expectations. Music should be fully united with the musician as a person. Performance of repertoire learned by ear is highly appreciated. There is a division between musicians who play by ear and those who play by notes. The performance of the latter would be less enjoyable, because it is deprived of constant interaction between the musician and his active, usually dancing audience. Admiring the performance of excellent fiddlers, the interlocutors mention 'beauty' which is a distant and rather unattainable reality. Excellence in playing the instrument is demonstrated by the knowledge of regional repertoire, readiness to repeat each melody sung by any singer or dancer, ability to transform and enliven, also visually, the musical pattern. Verbal evaluations are usually of negative character, because a good, 'neat' performance is normal, socially obvious, and needs no comments.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.