Instruments are mainly used by shepherds or as accompaniment for some dances and songs.Mostly spread were string instruments, such as gusli (folk wing-shaped gusli date back to the 11th c.) and gudok (three-string fiddle used from 12th c, found by archeologists in old Novgorod). In Soviet times folk art was viewed in a distorted way.FOLKLORE TODAY Zhanna Bichevskaya, a famous singer renowned for her peculiar 'country folk' style, has always stood apart on the music stage.Though popular, she can't be claimed a fashionable singer.
These songs are peculiar for strict regulation and rigidity of short tonal and rhythmic formulas in every cycle; they retain the oldest non-semi-tonal and narrow scales.
As for the instruments now symbolizing Russian folk music - balalaika and bayan (accordion) - they were spread in Russia only in the 19th - 20th cc, as well as mandolin and guitar, originating in Western Europe, strange as it may seem. The worst of all were the attempts to 'update' folk art and make it serve the state cultural policy.
Reviving traditions The first collections of folk songs were published in Russia in the late 18th century. They resulted in the official image of folk art moulded under the pressure of totalitarian state.
The most complicated genre as to music is lyrical song and its highest type - drawling song - supposed to have formed in the 16th - 17th cc in Moscow Russia.
It is associated with the appearance of the famous folk multivoiced singing of polyphonic or heterophonic types with participation of solo voices.