Before the Fiddle 4b : Poland


I cannot recommend this website highly enough for anyone interested in the pre-violin and folk-violin bowed instruments. The sheer variety of fiddle types is mind boggling, the website is beautifully designed and the sound recordings and videos are a delight and must surely hold clues to what might have been heard in Scotland. But don’t take it from me – spend some time there now!

By the 17th century, it is estimated that there were at least 30,000 Scots living in Poland. Krakow was one of the main cities in which they settled, and in 1576, the Scottish community in Krakow was large enough that Poland’s King Stefan Batory, assigned a district of the city for them to settle in. Given Scotland’s trading and military links with Poland from the mid-sixteenth century onwards and the great number of Scots who went there, could instruments have come to Scotland that way?