Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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

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Musical instruments
Perhaps the most characteristic feature of East European folk music is its wealth of instruments and instrumental music. There are far too many instrument types to enumerate or describe, and again we must be content with a sampling. Instruments may serve as clues to the musical past of a nation or region. For example, the association between ancient Greek and modern Near Eastern and Slavic cultures is evident in their use of similar instruments. The ancient Greek aidos was a reed instrument with two tubes; similar instruments are today found among the Persians, Arabs, Turks, and Southern Slavs. In Yugoslavia, an instrument of this type is the dvojnice which is, in effect, a double recorder or plugged flute. The right-hand tube has, typically, four finger holes and is used for playing simple, embellished melodies; the left-hand side, then, has three holes and is normally used to play an accompanying drone.
The Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians also have a fine body of instrumental music. One of the most widely used instruments there is the bagpipe, which (perhaps to the surprise of some) is by no means limited to the British Isles; on the contrary, it is found through­out Europe and parts of Asia, and evidently it was brought to Scot­land from the East.
The kinds of bagpipes found in various countries differ, of course, from the very simple kinds found among the semiliterate tribes in Russia (such as the Cheremis) to the beautifully fashioned and sonorous instruments with three and four pipes found in West­ern Europe. In Scottish and Irish piping, the tunes are most fre­quently unrelated to the vocal music, and complex compositional forms, such as Pibroch—a kind of theme with variations—make up the repertory. In Eastern Europe, however, much of the bagpipe music consists of the same tunes as are used in vocal music, and some Hungarian folk songs, for instance, appear—with richer orna­mentation—in the bagpipe repertory.
Folk music instruments seem to be especially numerous in Po­land. Many forms of several basic types—flutes, fiddles, bagpipes-exist, each with regional variants. For example, among the stringed instruments, there is a one-stringed diable skrzypce (devil's fiddle); a musical bow with three strings; several types of gensle (fiddles in

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