Polifonia Song Contest 2024

Bells, organs and folk melodies – a cross-section of the rich European musical heritage landscape, made available in a samples & MIDI files by Polifonia (2021-2024). Polifonia, a European project that aims to increase the discoverability of European musical heritage from the 1500s to the 1950s, in collaboration with RE:VIVE now presents: the ‘Creating the soundtrack of our history’ sample pack. Discover 100 files and get inspired to create the ultimate ‘soundtrack of our history’ in the Polifonia Song Contest.

The Song Contest

April 8 – May 6

Are you the type of musician that is inspired by old sounds, such as cheerful Irish folk melodies, the majestic resonance of pipe organ concerts, and the timeless chimes echoing from century-old Italian bell towers? Then ‘Polifonia Song Contest’ is your challenge!

In collaboration with RE:VIVE – a Dutch project supporting the reuse of audiovisual heritage in new musical contexts – the musical heritage project Polifonia presents a Sample+MIDI pack to encourage you to create the ultimate ‘soundtrack of our history’. 

Create a track between 2.5 and 5 minutes that contains 2 or more of these sample/MIDI files. A jury with a professional as well as amateur background in music will judge the songs before May 11. 

Are you ready to hit that “douze point” and win €500? Then download the sample pack now from the RE:VIVE website and submit your song before May 6.

Discover the sample pack

Ireland: Folk melody MIDI files of Ceol Rince na hÉireann collection (Galway University)

This sample pack contains 30 traditional Irish folk MIDIs. They belong to the Ceol Rince na hÉireann collection created by ethnomusicologist Breandán Breathnach. Breathnach wrote on Irish music and collected, identified and indexed a corpus of over 5,000 unique traditional Irish melodies.Irish melodies frequently incorporate dance rhythms such as jigs, reels, hornpipes, and airs, reflecting the integral connection between music and dance in Irish culture. Traditional Irish tunes sound cheerful and are typically performed on instruments such as the fiddle, tin whistle, flute, uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), harp and bodhrán (Irish drum). 

For Polifonia the Ceol Rince na hÉireann corpus of 1,195 monophonic Irish traditional dance tunes in MIDI format is used to explore pattern-based similarities between melodies.


Ireland folk

Italy: Bell recordings of bell towers in the Liguria region (Istituto Centrale Catalogo Documentazione)

The churches and church bells in Italy are not only places of worship but also important cultural landmarks that contribute to the region’s rich history and identity. The practice of Bell casting is a profession that has been practiced for generations in ‘bell foundry families’ and the principle of casting bells in Europe has remained essentially the same since the Middle ages. This pack contains 33 recordings of such traditional bells from 5 churches of the Liguria region in Italy. You will notice that the samples are long, because with well-cast bells, a “ringing” sound should reverberate for a long time.

In Polifonia, as part of the BELLS pilot, information about this historical bell heritage is made available through a web application.


Italy bell

The Netherlands: Pipe Organ concert audio samples of the Muziekopnamen Zendgemachtigden collection (Netherlands Institute Sound & Vision) 

The Muziekopnamen Zendgemachtigden (MOZ) collection contains recordings of concerts intended for broadcast on Dutch public TV and Radio stations. Most of the collections contain classical music performances based on the works of top composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert. The organ is the third most frequently used instrument in the entire collection. In this sample pack, 14 fragments have been selected from pipe organ concerts from the 1950s..

In Polifonia, the MOZ metadata will be made available in the web portal. Also, the pilot ORGANS will make all information on Dutch pipe organs available through a knowledge graph.

Netherland organ

Good to know

  • use at least 2 samples from the pack. You are allowed to use any other instruments/vocals, etc.
  • your song lasts between 2.5 and 5 minutes
  • both instrumental songs and songs with vocals are accepted
  • you may only submit 1 song per person for this contest
  • we expect you to rely on your own creativity and composition skills and not let an AI do the work :–)
  • you upload your song on a publicly accessible platform (Soundcloud, etc)


Click here to Read the full terms & conditions

Jury Panel

Valentina Presutti computer scientist & coordinator Polifonia

Antònia Folguera digital arts and culture festival curator (Sónar, Eufònic) & Polifonia advisory board member

Gregory Markus founder RE:VIVE, studio manager & musician

James McDermott music technology researcher (e.g.Polifonia) & musician (piano, guitar, vocals, songwriting)

Emily Peppers musicologist & musician (classical, rock, folk, electric violin)

Rosario Arquero-Avilés university teacher, researcher (.e.g IDEA Lab research group) & musician (flute)

Rodolfo Delmonte computational linguistic expert & musician (guitar)

Daniel Antal music data scientist

Miles Niemeijer historian & music advisor at Podiumkunst.net/Nederlands Jazz Archief 

Roosmarijn de Groot open data specialist & musician (guitar & ukulele)

Vasiliki Sirakouli music anthropologist 

Wytze Koppelman curator culture & entertainment

Listen to the “Soundtrack of our History”

Listen to the winning song here

Adam Tristar (The Netherlands) – Isolation

About the organisers

This competition is a collaboration between Polifonia, RE:VIVE and The Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision.

Polifonia, a project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, aims to reconstruct the intricate links between music, individuals, locations, and events spanning from the sixteenth century to contemporary times. It endeavors to make this data accessible through an web-based database, enhancing our comprehension of Europe’s musical legacy. Additionally, employing AI and music information retrieval (MIR) techniques, the project is developing tools for professionals to analyze music datasets.

RE:VIVE, an initiative by the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision, established in 2015, focuses on repurposing audiovisual heritage in novel musical contexts, offering artists curated sample packs sourced from global archives with open access or various Creative Commons licenses. The

Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision serves as the national institute for media culture in the Netherlands, fostering a diverse, creative, and democratic society by preserving media heritage and advocating responsible media usage. The prize is offered by the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision, as part of their mission to support heritage reuse.