Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

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Ugric (Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, and several minority languages in Russia); Turkic (the Turks, the Chuvash of the Russian interior, etc.); Romance (Rumanian); Albanian; and Caucasian. Musical in­fluences come from sources as diverse as the chants of the Byzantine Church, the pentatonic tunes of Mongolia, and the complex rhythms of the Arabic and Hindu spheres. And certainly there are also impor­tant links between Eastern and Western Europe, tunes found in both areas, identical uses and functions of music in the culture. In view of this great diversity, we must be forgiven for selecting a few samples to characterize the area, and for omitting entirely consideration of some nations. But let us bear in mind that each of the Eastern Euro­pean countries, from gigantic Russia to tiny Albania, has a rich folk music heritage; each has enough songs to fill a multi-volume anthol­ogy and a musical culture of sufficient wealth to keep scholars busy for several lifetimes.
Melodic sequence: Hungarians, Czechs, Cherernis
East European scholars have indeed been busy studying their native traditions, and nowhere has this been more true than in Hun­gary. For decades in the nineteenth century it was thought that the folk music of Hungary was the music of the gypsies who supplied ethnic entertainment in the cities, and not until the twentieth cen­tury was the great wealth of true Hungarian peasant music (which has little in common with the gypsv tunes) discovered, largely by Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly. Since the Hungarians are linguisti­cally related to the Finns, it was thought that the styles of these two peoples would have something in common. This turned out to be only partially the case, but other Finno-Ugric speaking peoples liv­ing for centuries in isolation from the Hungarians, inside Russia, do have music somewhat similar to that of Hungary. The most impor­tant of these groups is the Cheremis, who live in a semi-autonomous republic of the USSR some five hundred miles east of Moscow. These peoples have something in common that is also found far to the east, among the Mongolians, and even to some extent further on, in American Indian music; and this strengthens our belief that the essential features of the oldest Hungarian folk music are very old,

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III