The polka is a lively characterful dance that originated from the area now known as the Czech Republic (Bohemia) and its popularity spread widely throughout Europe and subsequently North and South America. The dance is upbeat and celebratory in character and written in 2/4 time. Foster's Soirée Polka is rhythmic piece suited to being played by a wide range of instruments and instrumental groups although the musical material needs to be played lightly. A tempo of 110 quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute is recommended. Stephen Foster (1826-1864) is known as the father of American music, responsible for writing over 200 songs many of which are still very well known today. His My Old Kentucky Home has been the official state song of Kentucky since 1928. He began composing as a teenager and attempted to live his life as a professional songwriter at a time before copyright laws protected a composers work so it was impossible for him to earn a decent living.