Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Polka Genres

Author Charles Keil and his wife state that “there are as many styles of polka as there are polka localities.” Nevertheless, they have divided American polka music into three major genres:

  1. Slavic with two sub-genres:
    Polish-American and
    found in eastern and midwestern America.

  2. Germanic with two sub-genres:
    German-American and
    found in midwestern and western America.

  3. Southwestern with two sub-genres:
    Mexican-American and
    found in southwestern America.

Although these genres are very different in instrumentation and tempo, they are all united by the following:

  • characteristic 2/4 time signature

  • instruments: accordion or concertina, wind instruments and drums

  • lyrics about joy, religion and culture


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