July 3, 2022

Collecting is the search for authentic costumes, the recording of music, songs of oral tradition, tales and legends as well as dances, with the elders, in order to save them.


In France, many collections were made from the 1900s, particularly in Brittany, Auvergne and Limousin, in Gascony including Béarn and in the Basque Country. A new wave of collecting, carried out in the 1960s to 1990s, served as a basis for the regionalist, trad' and folk movements of this period.


The collection of costumes is done by several means: From individuals or in flea markets: This process provides all the necessary information on the manufacture of the costume (pattern, nature of the fabric and colors). Photos: Old postcards or family photos are the most abundant source of information, but the photos do not provide the color or the nature of the fabric. Testimonials: They are very useful for guiding and validating research work. They are also the ones who provide the methods of maintenance and wearing of the different elements of the costume: headdress, apron, shawl, etc.


The collection of traditional music (little present in the media) is done mainly by oral transmission, the melodies are learned by ear, or by mimicry of the fingers, or even recorded, and the techniques of music theory, little used, to reinforce the evolving aspect of music.


Folk and traditional groups and associations (such as Dastum in Brittany) contribute greatly to the preservation of traditional music, but collecting practices have also been carried out in more institutional settings (conservatories, communities, university research projects).

List of famous collectors


Henry Pourrat


Yann-Fañch Kemener Claudine Mazeas Denez-Prigent

References and Bibliography



Françoise Étay and François Gasnault, “Oral music in Limousin: the three ages of collecting, from the Fortoul survey to the La Biaça portal and the Massif Project (1852-2014)”, Archives en Limousin, n°43, 2014-1.

See also

Related Articles

ethnomusicology John Lomax

External links

Dastum, collection association in Brittany Massif Central oral heritage project Music portal Dance portal Sociology portal Festivities and traditions portal