Rafał Miśta (Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw)

The Problem of Representativeness of Historical Folklore Database – The Case of Musical Collection of Oskar Kolberg

The paper will focus on a common problem of historical folklore databases when their representativeness is unknown or poor. As an example I will use the Oskar Kolberg collection of folk tunes, matched by me with geospatial information about their locations.

The collection is the largest source of knowledge about the Polish musical folklore before 1900, though it is far from the ideals of representativeness. I would like to show how using the carthographic-statistical methods – the quantification of the inconsistencies between the observed patterns and the general biases in the dataset – can make the evaluation of the plausibility of hypotheses about past musical phenomena possible.