Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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frequency of diatonic, especially of major scales, among the Czechs. Again, the influence of neighbor nations may be at work, for the Czechs have lived in an area surrounded by Germans and they par­ticipated, more than their neighbors to the east, in the development of art music. Thus their songs sound more like Western cultivated music, and they have variants of many tunes found also in Germany. Example 5-2 is a Czech song using transposition.
Words, music y and rhythm: The Balkans and Czechoslovakia
It is interesting to compare the rhythmic structures of the Czech and German folk songs. That of the Czech songs frequently is more accented, while the German flows more smoothly. The German songs more frequently have an anacrusis—pickup or up-beat, as it is popularly called—while the Czech ones rarely do. This may be re­lated to one of the differences between the two languages. Czech speakers tend to accent their stressed syllables heavily, and the Czech language automatically places an accent on the first syllable of each word. Also, Czech has no articles such as "a" or "the" that would be unstressed. As a result, Czech speech is so constructed that utterances begin with accents, and so do Czech songs and instrumental folk compositions. German, with its accents coming on any syllable, and with its unstressed articles preceding the nouns, has given rise to a musical structure in which an unstressed beat in the music often pre­cedes the first measure. Of course we could not claim that the rhyth­mic structure of a folk music style automatically comes from the language, and we could easily find examples in which the rhythm of folk songs contravenes that of their language. However, there is no doubt that the nature of a language has much to do with shaping the style of the folk songs for which it is used.
The Czech folk songs include many that deal with agricultural life, and these are among the most popular. They are usually not real work songs, but lyrical poems sung after work. A few examples are given here in English:1
1 Czech folk song texts quoted from Bruno Nettl and Ivo Moravcik, "Czech and Slovak Folk Songs Collected in Detroit," Midwest Folklore V (1955), 40-48.

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