Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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line in this type of song. The following rhythmic patterns appear in some of the Hungarian as well as the Rumanian folk songs with isorhythmic structure:
The reason for the frequency of this kind of structure in some Eastern European styles may lie, again, in the structure of the poetry. In Western Europe, it is the number of metric feet (iambic, trochaic, dactyllic, anapestic) which are constant. Each foot corresponds to one or to a half measure of music. The actual number of syllables per line may vary, since a line consisting of iambic feet may suddenly be broken by a foot of anapest:
But in most Eastern European styles of poetry it is not the number of accented syllables that is constant, but the number of syllables in toto. Thus an isorhythmic arrangement, even if each phrase has several measures of different lengths, is better for accommodating the kind of line sequence that makes up the poetry.
On the whole, the Balkan countries have in common an unusual degree of rhythmic complexity. It appears in three forms: 1) freely declaimed melodies, which can only with difficulty be classified as to meter, and which are performed with extremes of the parlando-rubato technique; 2) tunes with few different note values, but with frequently changing meter; and 3) tunes with a single dominant meter which, however, is based on a prime number of beatsó5, 7, 11, 13, and so on. The first type is well exemplified in the Yugoslav epic, which is discussed below in this chapter. The second and third types are especially common in the Rumanian and Bulgarian traditions, so
garian rhythm" among Balkan folk song scholars. Example 5-3 gives some of the rhythms found in these songs.
Example 5-4 is a Rumanian Christmas carol with the meter of 10/16 kept consistently throughout the song. Actually it might be possible to divide the song into measures of different lengths, but in spite of the rather complicated relationship between such note values as eighths and dotted eighths, or sixteenths and dotted sixteenths,

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