Bulgarian Folk Music
Music is inseparable from Bulgarian people's
daily life and festive activities. Songs have accompanied them both in
their work and holiday celebrations, in times of trial, joy or sorrow.
Paradoxically, a Bulgarian would sing when in sorrow. Songs were created
to any occasion - traditional festival songs (Christmas,
Day, Ladouvane, praying for rain, etc.); working seasons' songs (harvest
season, grape-picking, haymaking, etc.); feast songs, dance songs, refrains,
and many others. Regional variations are not strictly delineated, but certain
typical characteristics have formed several musical dialects: North-Bulgarian,
Dobroudjanian, Thracian, Shopp, of the
Pirin Mountains area, of the Sredna Gora region, and Rhodopian.
Bulgarians have a preference for the recitative: this is how traditional and epic khaidouk songs are commonly performed. Declamation is melodious, orderly or ornamented, and the melody largely conforms to the lyrics: Christmas carols are cheerful and optimistic; khaidouk songs are wide and free; harvest songs are drawled; the songs of the gourbetchii (seasonal migrants making their living abroad or far from their home places), are drawn out and melancholic.
The style of the Bulgarian folk song is defined as hard owing to the performer's strong voice. Women's voices, though, are clear and silver-toned.
Over 70,000 folk songs have been collected at the Folklore
Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. What is more, today the
folk song tradition is as alive as ever.
The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices is known and valued world-wide.
In 2005 UNESCO proclaimed the Bistrishki babi folk singing group among the world masterpieces of intangible human heritage.
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