Eastern Europe Music Examples



Bulgarian traditional two-voiced singing from the region around Sofia.  Rice track 3.


Thracian singing with glottal stops, “Yano Yano,” Rice track 4.


Three-part Shop singing, Rice track 8.


The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices Choir, “Beautiful Milka.”  Slick state-sponsored music.  RGMEE track 10.


“Horo” Orchestra, “Danubian Daichovo Horo.”  Dance music from northern Bulgaria.  Mix of adherence to traditional rhythm and melodic characteristics with “modern” instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, accordion, etc.  2+2+2+3 dance meter.  RGMEE track 11.



“Gypsy” music is not Hungarian (Magyar) music, although it is played and enjoyed in Hungary.    A common misrepresentation in European music, even by Liszt (born in Hungary). 


Example of faux-Gypsy music:  The last movement rondo form of Haydn’s “Gypsy” Piano Trio (for piano, violin, cello), c. 1795; the “B” and “C” parts of the rondo form ABACA. 


Music of the Romani (Rom, Roma)

Group:  Taraf de Haďdouks; title:  “Spune, Spune, Moş Bătrîn . . .”    Group is from a small town in Romania.  Group name roughly translates as ‘orchestra of honorable brigands.’  RGMEE track 2.




Bela Bartok, Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist

String Quartet No. 5, last movement (of five).  (2 violins, viola, cello)



Márta Sebestyén

Artist responsible for preservation and revival of traditional Hungarian (Magyar) music outside of government channels. 


Arrangement of traditional song “Devoiko Mome,”  Example of popular revival of and reworking of traditional music.  Note the assymetical meter.  From Pirin region; accompanies a dance.  With the band Musikás.  RGMEE track 1.


“Szerelem, Szerelem,” Traditional Magyar example.  Similarities to Arab music suggest common ancient origin.  From The English Patient soundtrack CD, track 17.


Cimbalom (instrument) example

Kálmán Balogh & The Gipsy Cimbalom Band.  “Café music.” RGMEE track 7.



Ganga examples, Highlands.  Titon 2-3, 2-4


music from the Bosnian Lowlands, song with šargija lute.  Note dissonance.  Recorded 1989.  Titon 2-5.


music from the Bosnian Lowlands, sevdalinka song with tamburitza orchesra.  Wedding music.  Professionalized.  Titon 2-6.


group: Kalesijiski Zvuci.  Song title:  “oho ho sto je lijepo” (‘What is nice?’).  Mixture of pop instruments and traditional singing.  Note dissonance.  CD title: Bosnian Breakdown, 1991.  (WSC 2-3)


Genre: “Newly composed folksong,” Singer: Lepa Brena, deliberately “exotic” to Bosnians. 1984.  State-sponsored folk-pop. 2+2+2+3.    Titon CD 2 track 7.


Genre: rock music.  Performers:  Zeljko Bebek and White Button.  Song title:  “Da nzna zora.”  Prog rock but with allusions to folk music.  1989.  Titon 2-8.


Other materials used in lecture


Dave Brubeck, “Blue Rondo a la Turk.”  Introduced asymmetrical meters into American jazz.


Prelude to Lohengrin, an opera by Richard Wagner.  Illustrates the binding of pitch and rhythm through a system of harmony, a general trait of European music after 1600, allowing goal-directed music that works over a wide range of time-spans.  This example also sets up the musical reference and language used in the opening of Triumph of the Will.


Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstal.  Nazi propaganda film illustrating the use of music and folk costumes for stoking nationalist fervor.


Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kontakte.  German (?) music from the 1950s.  An artifact of the “Internationalist” cultural recovery of Germany after WW II. 


Sources (unless otherwise specified)


RGMEE = The Rough Guide to the Music of Eastern Europe compilation CD, RGNET 1024 CD, 1998.

Titon = Jeff Todd Titon, ed., Worlds of Music, 3rd Ed., Schirmer Books, 1996.  Book & 3 CDs.

Rice = Timothy Rice, Music in Bulgaria, Oxford University Press, 2004.  Book & CD.


MAY 2006

MUS250 world music

David Meckler

Cańada College