Folk music traditions, especially polyphonic choral music, hold a special place in Georgian culture. Georgian folk music can rightfully be considered unique in world music culture. If we imagine a musical map of the world, we shall see that Georgia is a polyphony oasis in the desert of monody, one part musical traditions. The tradition of polyphony has been preserved from ancient times until today.
Every region of Georgia has its own tradition of specific musical dialect and the manner of performance, but the regional styles all share the same intonation and harmony characteristics. The musical variations make an excellent metaphor for Georgia itself: though each region has its own traditions and cultural heritage, all of Georgia shares fundamental cultural and traditional values in common.
There are three main categories of Georgian polyphonic music: the complex polyphony found in Svanetia, wherein all the voices follow the same rhythmic pattern, producing a choral progression; the polyphonic dialogue typical of Eastern Georgia with two high voices over a drone bass; and the contrastive polyphony widespread in Western Georgia and predominantly characterized by three-part composition.
Georgian folk songs are generally written in three-part polyphony, though four-part writing is not uncommon, as can be heard in Gurian and Adjaran work songs. Singing in unison has survived in a few mountainous regions such the areas around Khevsureti and Tusheti, and individual examples of monophonic songs are occasionally found in both Western and Eastern Georgia. Songs are frequently about stages of life and are often accompanied by native instruments.