Krakoviak (LKT)

This entry is part of the Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT). The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refer to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. By clicking on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation, you get the full reference.


“You had Polish dance tunes like krakowiak, oberek, na wesolo, mazur and polonez [which were] big in the ‘30s.” [Russia and Poland]. Alpert 1996a, p. 16-17

‘A krakovianke.’ ...Krakoviak, Heritz, push out the landowner!... Krakoviatska ane,/ push out the aristocrat] [Tshudnov, Volin]. Cahan 1957, p. 227 (#225), 490 (#225)

‘Krakovianke’”. [Warsaw; Braylov, Podalia; Priluk, near Poltava]. Cahan 1957, p. 490 (#226-28)

“Besides the melody I have found no Polish parallels to all of the krakoviankes.” Cahan 1957, p. 490 (#227)

‘Oykh a krakovianke.’ Also with the melody of a krakoviak” [Pinsk]. Cahan 1957, p. 490 (#229)

“A ‘kozak’ [and a freylekhs]... were folk-dances for adults and in-laws. The youth strutted its wares in waltzes, krakoviaks, etc.” [Dubno, Poland, pre-World War II]. Katshke 1966, p. 667

“Yokhim really played well, and not only on the fiddle... Sunday in Kretshme no one played a kozatsshke or a merry Polish ‘krakoviak’ better than him.” [Volhynian village, Ukraine, 1860s]. Korolenko 1901, p. 26

‘Oyfn broder shtegn’... The manner of dance of this melody (Polish krakoviak) follows...” [Galicia, 1920s-30s]. Pipe 1971a, pp. 193 (#77), 314 (#77). (Musical notation included). 

“After the wedding-feast they began to dance. The dances were varied according to generation. The young people would dance: ‘polke,’ ‘polka-mazurka,’ ‘krakoviak.’ The main dance for the young people was [the] ‘vals’...” [Podalia, c. 1909].” Tshernovetski 1946, pp. 97-114

“The Jewish folkmusic, as well as the Synagogical music, shows that strange welding of different elements... one listens to the pining tones of the Little-Russian kobzar, as he accompanies his melancholy duma, or the wanton refrain of the Polish krakowiak.” Wiener 1898, pp. 2-3