ethnomusicologist, ethnographer, collector of folk and workers’ songs, music journalist; b. 23rd July 1914 in Droniowice (near Lubliniec), d. 5th April 2004 in Katowice. He studied music education, composition and music theory at the Higher School of Music in Katowice. He also graduated in law from the Higher School of Economics in Katowice and the philosophy and history department of Jagiellonian University in Krakow. In 1962 he obtained a PhD, in 1975 – a habilitation at the Adam Mickeiwicz University in Poznań, and was promoted to full professor in 1991.
He fought the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939, and later was part of the anti-Nazi resistance movement in Upper Silesia. From 1941 until the end of the war he was kept in Nazi prisons in Bytom, Katowice, Opole, and Racibórz. After the war he joined the academia: in 1951-75 he was a lecturer at the Higher School of Music in Katowice, in 1974-1980 he ran classes at the University of Wrocław, and in 1980-1999 at the University of Katowice's campus in Cieszyn, where he was the head of the Department of Music Theory and Musical Folklore Studies. In 1933 he began collecting folk songs in Upper Silesia. From the 1950s he conducted fieldwork across Poland, focusing on Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, and Zagłębie Dąbrowskie. He collected about 12 000 melodies and folk songs, as well as texts, fables, anecdotes, proverbs, and material heritage records. He also studied urban folklore and working class culture, focusing mostly on steelworkers and miners. In 1950-1955 he participated in the musical folklore fieldwork project implemented on a national scale in Poland. From 1961 he collaborated with the international centre for workers' songs in Budapest.
He was a journalist and music critic, and published over 2 000 articles and about 160 academic papers. In 1947-69 he worked for "Trybuna Robotnicza" ("Workers' Tribune") weekly and hosted a programme on Polish Television called Z teki folklorystycznej Adolfa Dygacza (Adolf Dygacz’s Folkloristic Files). He was an advisor for Polish Radio and the Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble; he also worked as an instructor in the Union of Silesian Singing and Instrumental Societies.
He was a member of the Committee on Ethnological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), the Ethnographic Commission of PAN's branch is Kraków, and the Literary History Commission of PAN's branch in Katowice. He was also a member of such cultural institutions as Polish Composers' Union (he headed the union's branch in Katowice), Polish Teachers' Union, Polish Ethnographic Society, Wrocław Scientific Society, Opole Society of Friends of Learning, and Katowice Social and Cultural Society (heading the historical section). He received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1959), Silver Cross of Merit, and the title of Distinguished Culture Activist ("Zasłużony Działacz Kultury"). He also was granted awards by the Radio and Television Committee (1972), Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Technology (1983), and the Polish Radio in Katowice (Stanisław Ligoń Award; 1989).
updated: January 2015 (ab)