During his journeys to collect folk songs, Leoš Janáček paid special attention to the documentation of musical instruments, and especially his drawings and descriptions of dulcimers provided relatively accurate information on the construction and tuning of such instruments in the given period. Today we are reaping the benefits of his work, as with the rise of interest in folklore, replicas of historical instruments are being built and the documentation Janáček produced for dulcimers is one of the most widely used sources of information. Also, the first recorded date of a field recording being made of dulcimer playing in Southeast Moravia comes from 1889, and it was Leoš Janáček that made it (he subsequently used his knowledge in the 1901 study On Musical Aspects of Moravian National Songs). Janáček spent his holidays in 1893 in the Vsetín region, where he listened to the music (mainly Slovak songs and dances) of the dulcimer player Jan Míčka in Polanka near Vsetín. In 1906, he recorded the dulcimer player Ignác Kotek from Lubno while collecting Lachian Dances. A small dulcimer, which was then owned by Kotek and whose description was created by Janáček, is now stored at the Leoš Janáček Museum in Hukvaldy. In the book On Folk Songs and Folk Music, Janáček describes his encounters with dulcimers in the Vsetín region, in Velká nad Veličkou, Blatnička and other Moravian towns and villages. He reports on the usual compositions of folk music bands, describes how local dulcimer players came to play their instruments, or who their teachers were, and also attaches a drawing of a small dulcimer and sheet music records, written according to the analyzed playing of the investigated respondents.
The performance Dulcimer, dulcimer… is thus dedicated to this instrument – from “Kotek’s” small dulcimer, through Kotek’s still continuing band and other selected musical ensembles from the above-mentioned localities, all the way up to the dulcimer as a contemporary concert instrument and the possibility of performing, e.g. selected parts of Janáček´s cycle On an Overgrown Path.
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