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Playlist: ‘Old Tyme’ Polka

Sonata Lee Jul 6, 2010

Submitted by Robert Ritzco

Wynnewood, Pa.

If it is quiet enough, I am listening to some really “olde tyme” polka music, the kind that was played before the blaring, brassy “Cleveland Style” came on the scene. This music is played by accordions, clarinets, strings and, of course, vocalists who can naturally carry a tune and speak/sing in the Eastern European languages. This music is not on an iPod or MP3 player. These catchy, melodious tunes are playing in my head, since I am also learning to play piano and trying to develop my ability to play by ear and transcribe music. If the environment is too noisy, I do not try to drown-out the din and clatter by super-imposing something on it. I just try to “turn off” the noise.

Most of this music is not readily available in the commercial markets, not even at iTunes. The master tapes, if they still exist, are nowhere to be found. This is why I am listening to what tunes I can find, not so much as a matter of learning piano, ear-training and musicianship, but more for the preservation of this music. If I can pass it on some day as a performer or teacher, that would be great.

  • World’s Greatest Polkas – Lawrence Welk and Myron Floren


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