From the 19th century folk music began to be exploited as a means of promoting national and political ideas, initiating thus the concept of rooting national music in folkloric elements. In the second half of the century this idea was brought to fruition primarily by using popular tunes created during the period of National Revival in urban environments and through the activities of choirs and tambouritza groups which were being established as the first amateur music societies. In the 20th century, particularly in the period between the two world wars, national music drew on the traditional music of Croatian peasantry, recognised as the autochthonous feature of Croatian culture.
The circle dance (kolo) is one of the basic forms of Croatian folk dance. The circle dance is regarded as the oldest form of dance, and can be seen as an expression of community, especially in village life.
Folk or national dancing is a distinct reflection of the historical, socio-economic and cultural particularities of specific regions. It plays an important social role, given that any significant group or community gathering is accompanied by dancing in the course of which people get better acquainted and connected, mutually displaying their spiritual and physical abilities. The various ways of participating in dancing show the social status of individuals in the group and community. In additional to bringing together members of various cultural groups, communities and peoples it has a marked educational role.
In addition to the mute circle dance, the hrvatski tanac, or mišnjača (the term deriving from mijeh, the ancient aerophonic instrument with a bag, which accompanies the dance) is also found in Lika, a mountainous part of Croatia. The instrument is widely played in the mountainous region and is also known on the Adriatic islands.