mielec suka

Mielec suka is an old Polish string instrument, belonging to folk chordophones group, resembling violin with its construction. The head is in the shape of nail, the base has two short legs leant on the top board. The four strings are attached to the casters that are embedded at the bottom.

mielec suka

The watercolor by Stanislaw Putiatycki that presents "a peasant with a violin in the vicinity of Mielec" (1840) is in the collection of the National Ethnographic Museum.

The watercolor has been done very carefully which enables a perceptive analysis of Mielec suka. Placing the fiddle while playing vertically on the leg of a sitting player indicates knee fiddle and a wide neck suggests the fingernail technique.
The instrument's design features imply that it can be considered a hybrid of already well-known violin and obsolescent knee form. Putiatycki's watercolor is the evidence that those relict forms of chordophones still functioned in folk musical practice in the mid-nineteenth century. Maria Pomianowska and Eve Dahlig called a new discovery – Mielec suka in order to distinguish it from Bilgoray suka.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

mielec suka-legend


The instruments recorded in the project come from museum of sound with more than 80 thousand object collections from the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw. Together with museum staff we have chosen 23 instruments guided by the following principles – they should be definitely folk, unusual, derived from the old times, Polish and coming from different cultural backgrounds, also exotic like e.g. Asian.

Recording a full range of tone of 23 instruments - tonal and sonic scale lasted several days. Thanks to the recordings - sound banks were created and have been used in the project in two ways. The first way was based on motion-sensitive controllers which created new practical instrumentarium for use during the workshops and animation activities. The second way was placing recorded sounds on the website for promotion of the idea of the project and gathering a great number of recipients.

All instruments were also photographed and described which enabled creating of publicly accessible compendium of information about them.