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Fiddle Music From Central and SE Europe
Seeking origins of Bohemian and Gypsy fiddle music.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 28, 2022 - 4:51 am
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Alphonse Mucha was a famous Czech painter & illustrator from the Art Nouveau period - most people recognize the beautiful women he depicted in his posters. 

I believe it was a colorful Era for music, too - just not sure if this is the best way to look at violin/fiddle music in Europe.

I hope to start more discussions about Central & SE European Fiddle music on the forum, because it's early folk music had a huge influence on it's famous Classical composers, as well as some amazing journeys of this music, like Moravian Church music from early 18th Century settlers in the USA - maybe Gypsy and Bohemian origins that have influenced music all over the world. 

Still not sure yet, how much more I can include Geographically or Culturally for each musical region - especially pertaining to violin/fiddle music in Europe, so I continue to explore isolated areas, in hopes a bigger picture will emerge.   

Here's a link to where I posted a documentary about Baroque Music from Moravia: 

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/c.....a/#p122968

 

hyperpage01.jpgImage Enlarger

...music's been on an amazing historical journey and bowed string instruments have been a large part of it!   Getting to know people around the World, and what music they enjoy or grew up with, even if only by video - is as much fun as learning to play their music on my violin! 

- Emily 

 

P.S. History was not, and never will be, my strong suit - I'm STILL seriously inept, when it comes to remembering dates.  And I even get Slovakia and Slovenia mixed up! (lol)

On my unguided quest to learn more about traditional fiddle music & music in general, since I've joined this forum - I've started to seek out connections of Cultural & Geographical Regions in Europe. 

A problem I've recently found with this, is 'Linguistic Evolution', besides Cultural Evolution and Geo-political designations of these regions has changed so dramatically throughout history - MUCH more so than I remember from childhood history lessons! 

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ELCBK
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Czechia, The Czech Republic used to be known as Bohemia (Wikipedia) in Central Europe. 

Famous Classical Composers, but what about the folk music? 

The "Olšava Folk Ensemble" plays traditional Czech music - lots of Fiddles!  This tune is from Moravia

 

 

Info on Olšava:  https://www.ifda.at/dcdf/dcdf2.....nce-group/

 

WARNING: These are lengthy video's, but at least worth taking a few minutes to sample some of this music.

Czech Moravian Folk Music (at Traditional Music Channel).  There's a lot of violin & strings to be heard throughout this music.

https://youtu.be/gYDKmYBQbS0 

"Carpathian Folk Music" - (at Traditional Music Channel).  The Carpathian Mountains stretches down into Central and SE Europe.

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ELCBK
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https://thegraphicsfairy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/GypsyViolin-GraphicsFairy1.jpg

What about 'Gypsy' music? 

There is a large concentration of "Romani" people (Gypsy) in Central & SE Europe.  I'm still not sure of their music influence on, or from Klezmer.  I really want to learn more about this. 

In many of the places Romanies live they have become known as musicians. The wide distances travelled have introduced a multitude of influences of Byzantine, Greek, Arabic, Indian, Persian, Turkish, Slavic, Romanian, German, Dutch, French, Spanish and even Jewish musical forms. It is difficult to define the parameters of a unified Romani musical style, as there are many differences in melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and formal structures from region to region.

...you can find additional General Traditional Gypsy music (long videos) at the Traditional Music Channel (YouTube).

Taraf De Haidouks - "Balkan Gypsy Folk Music".  PLEASE tell me if I posted this already (maybe something similar). 

 

I grew up thinking HUNGARY is where 'Gypsy' music originated - guess I was a little narrow-minded! (lol)

Hungarian Folk Songs "Szep asszonynak kurizalok" and "Gyorscsardas" (at DC Music School)! 

 

 

Snippets from a Hungarian Folk music performance in Budapest (at Davis McWilliams). 

 

 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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Here's a great tutorial for a tune in 7/16 from the Balkan region of Romania, by Lulu Starr.

 

 

"Dă mamă cu biciu-n mine" (Mother please forgive me) a Romanian tune played by Lulu Starr.  

 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/15/8b/52/158b5228451b39a41b0050e2e788e00f.jpg

 

...some fancy Fiddlesticks, used in the last video! 

- Emily 

 

"Fiddlesticks" garden sculpture by Col Henry.

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ELCBK
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*edited - Ukrainian tunes added to this playlist:

Chris Haigh has a GREAT Eastern European violin/fiddle playlist of Tutorials!   FIFTEEN are Ukrainian folk tunes! 

Eastern European Fiddle Tutorials - Chris Haigh Playlist

 

From what I've read so far (and heard) many great Composers of Classical Ukrainian music have been heavily influenced by their Country's (and surrounding area's) Folklore and Folk music.  AND, violin/fiddle plays a HUGE part in all of it!

Classical Ukrainian Composers Thread

 

I found this wonderful paper that shows Myroslav Skoryk's connection.

"Ukrainian Folklore Influences in the Music of Myroslav Skoryk: Historical Background and Performance Guide to Selected Violin Works" (see attachment pdf) by Iuliia Alyeksyeyeva. 

Excerpts:

The violin holds a special place in the cultural, societal, and historical heritage of
Ukraine. Skoryk’s works for violin draw on both Ukrainian folk traditions as well as classical performance traditions. The intricacies of Skoryk’s folk-inspired classical pieces of music are rooted in the oral traditions of Ukrainian folk music. 

...In Ukrainian culture, nature plays an extremely important role in various aspects of life. There is always a strong connection between nature and the supernatural, which creates mystical connotations in most Ukrainian folk music. 

...One of the main aspects that set Ukrainian folk music apart from Asian or Western European music is its use of traditional church modes as well as more exotic scales, where it often demonstrates its chromatic character.

...As mentioned above, much of Ukrainian folk music is based on traditional church modes such as: Lydian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Dorian, and mixtures of modes. The Hutsul mode (Ukrainian minor scale) is known as one of the more exotic scales specific to the music of Ukraine. This is a minor scale with raised 4th and 6th scale degrees. Also, in Ukraine it is considered by many to be the Ukrainian Dorian mode.

GREAT info on types of Ukrainian Folk Music and examples of tunes - plus SO much more!

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ELCBK
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https://i.pinimg.com/474x/69/9a/a1/699aa1ce7993785337cee298874cbd42--music-online-jewish-art.jpg

 

Just realized I never linked the 'Klezmer' Thread here! 

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/i.....s/klezmer/

More great info about Klezmer, but also about gypsy music and similarities in style - same regions/Countries with great popularity. 

...always looking for more! 

- Emily

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Thanks, @ABitRusty - for posting a great video about the Albanian Cifteli and it's use of the Maqam Husayni, in the Middle Eastern Fiddle - Maqams & Microtones! Thread

Albania is in the Balkan Peninsula on the Mediterranean, so Albanian Folk Music is unique, but influenced by neighbors and historical empires.  The Cifteli is popular in the North (especially for Weddings), it's mountainous - trad singing was originally used to pass on oral history & communicate long distance. 

The VIOLIN is popular in the South, with music style leaning more towards Greek. 

 

 

 

"Kaba përmetare me violinë" by Ethem Qerimaj - performed by Granddaughter Klodi Qerimaj!

Kaba compositions generally consists of two parts. The first one, slow performed with free rhythm, the leading instrument uses to improvise on the main theme. The second part comes faster and dance like.

 

"Vallje e Rugoves" (Dance of Rugova) - trad Northern Albanian, performed by Sophie Castriota

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liked that cello video!

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ELCBK
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Didn't have room for this in the last post... too much good music! 

 

LOVE THIS - "Northern Albanian Harmony" 

 

"Moj e bukura Moré" (Beautiful Moré), arranged by Thomas Simaku & performed by Klaidi Sahatci and Petrit Ceku. 

The name might be referring to the folklore of Morana, Goddess of Winter & Death (Moré), but it's a poem about Albanians who fled the Ottomans in what is now part of Greece, to Italy - first found published in a 1708 manuscript. 

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I've definitely been interested in Folk Music of Bulgaria and it's surrounding Countries for the Fiddle!  

...officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the eastern flank of the Balkans, and is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. (Wikipedia)

 

GREAT article describing Balkan & Bulgarian folk music Meters: Complex Meters - article at Chromatone

"Bulgarian dances, for example, include forms with 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22, 25 and other numbers of beats per measure."

Septuple rhythms are characteristic of some European folk idioms, particularly in the Balkan countries. An example from Macedonia is the traditional tune "Jovano Jovanke", which can be transcribed in 7/8. Bulgarian dances are particularly noted for the use of a variety of irregular, or heterometric rhythms. The most popular of these is the rachenitsa, a type of khoro in a rapid septuple meter divided 2+2+3. In the Pirin area, the khoro has a rhythm subdivided 3+2+2, and two varieties of it are the pravo makedonsko ("straight Macedonian") and the mazhka rachenitsa ("men's rachenitsa"). Septuple rhythms are also found in Bulgarian vocal music, such as the koleda ritual songs sung by young men on Christmas Eve and Christmas to bless livestock, households, or specific family members. 

 

 

Traditional Bulgarian Music instruments are talked about at Wikipedia, like the 'gadulka' - but I think it's ridiculous they don't mention the fiddle/violin!

The gadulka, a bowed stringed instrument perhaps descended from the rebec, held vertically, with melody and sympathetic strings. The bass gadulka has largely been replaced by the double bass (called in Bulgarian a contrabas). 

 

 

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I had to share more Bulgarian playing techniques by Ventsi Takev!

 

 

Gankino Horo - played by the Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra.  Thought it was cool to see the cello used here.  This Bulgarian dance is played in 11/8 time! 

 

Petar Hristoskov: Bulgarian Violinist and Composer - Capriccios, Sonatas, Märchenbilder, Burlesque, Rapsody, Poème & Myths Playlist, for Solo Violin & Orchestra

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Fiddlerman
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Love that Bulgarian music.....

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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My understanding is that no actual folk tunes are heard in this piece, but it's folk-inspired -- specifically, inspired by many hours spent listening to folk music in gypsy taverns in Vojvodina, Serbia.

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@AndrewH -

How cool!  Thanks!

Very enjoyable Quartet! 

I literally just finished watching the 1972 film, "Lăutarii"

Toma's character is an extremely talented violinist, a peasant who goes off to make a name for himself with a group of other Lăutari.  He is lauded by royalty, returns home successful, but his childhood love is gone, so he spends the rest of his life, and all the money he makes playing the violin, searching for her.  Knowing the plot, it's easy to follow, showing Toma's search for his true love & flashbacks to his youth.  ...but Wikipedia lied about the ending. 🤨

Just accept that the YT auto-translate is useless & enjoy the film!

 

 

Lăutari were 'THE' traveling entertainment for weddings that could last 48 hours!  

The music of the lăutari is called muzica lăutărească.  There is not a single music style of the lăutari, the music style varies from region to region, the best known being that from southern Romania.  The lăutărească music is complex and elaborated, with dense harmonies and refined ornamentations, and its execution requires a good technique. 

The lăutari drew inspiration from all the musics they had contact with: the pastoral music of Romania, the Byzantine music played in the church, as well as foreign music, such as Turkish, Russian or Western European. 

Improvisation is an important part of the lăutărească music.  Each time a lăutar plays a melody he re-interprets it.  For this reason the lăutărească music has been compared to Jazz music.  (more at Wikipedia)

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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e6/22/66/e622662e2837d1f93f76583dae3be252.jpg

I had to update post #5 - Chris Haigh has added more Ukrainian folk TUTORIALS to his "Eastern European Tutorial Playlist"

FIFTEEN of the 22 Violin Tutorials are Ukrainian (with tidbits of history), but THIS ONE was NOT included in the playlist! 

"The Hutsul Dance" (Hutsulka) 

 

 

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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c8/4c/af/c84caf8822e1079483ca82a9b5f7484c.jpg

I found a FANTASTIC transcription of a podcast at ukrainianjewishencounter.org! 

"Klezmer music is part of the great traditional culture of Ukraine"

 

Iryna Slavinska:  To what extent is klezmer music typical in Ukrainian cities and villages? Is it an element of Ukrainian culture?  

Mitya Gerasimov:  Yes, indeed. Because of this, ten years ago I moved to Ukraine, because I was born and lived in Russia. I was seriously into Jewish music. At a certain moment I realized that in order to understand something about this music, context is essential. That’s why I came to the place where the roots of this culture lie: in Ukraine, Moldova, and Bessarabia. That’s why the opposition of Jewish and Ukrainian culture is not always correct because klezmer music does not exist by itself; it is part of a great traditional culture. It is complicated. It is important to understand the context and what was happening here in Ukraine a hundred years ago, for example.

This was a traditional musical culture whose foundation was Byzantine, a blend of Greeks, Crimean Tatars, and Romanians. Very diverse. The music of Ukraine is also part of the Ottoman world: the Balkans and the Caucasus, the Crimea, Turkey, and Greece. And the most interesting things took place precisely at the junctures of European culture.

 

 

 

I'm still VERY interested in the cultural influences on folk music caused by forced, or opportunistic, immigration of peoples throughout Europe - as well as on other Continents. 

Romani gypsies faced the same deadly persecution in WWII as the Jews.  Currently, Romani's enjoy the freedom to travel, but still face prejudice for their nonconforming lifestyle.  Jewish people have been forced into quite a few mass exoduses. 

Both peoples are fabulous ambassadors of rich fiddling traditions in folk music!

- Emily 

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