i ♥ laden
byzantine flavour 21.01.2016
Categories: Allgemein



the orthodox new year installation by zelimir & nemanja

Byzentine flavour – folk music for two acoustic guitars

Folk music – arranged for two guitars- from Balkan region with strong basis on Macedonian and Serbian indigenous musical tradition.

Macedonia’s and Serbia’s geographical location contribute for this kind of music very much. It’s a real melting pot of centuries of various kinds of musical and cultural fusion. At first glance it is basically very calm, simple and diatonic, but very specific. Especially because originally played on several instruments particular to the area. One of them is called a kaval, which is a diagonal flute, bagpipes and a big drum called a tapan that’s played with a heavy stick on one side and a thin stick on the other. This instrument also appears in Bulgaria, Turkey and India.

Then there is a very heavy influence of the Ottoman Empire, which had highly developed classical music within what’s called the Maqam system — a modal system, not a harmonic system. Then there’s Turkish folk music and the really important influence of the gypsies (ornamentation and a lot of the metric stuff that comes more from India and Turkey) who traveled from the south of India and then moved to the west.

When you add it up, Macedonian music has several polarities. One of them is it has really beautiful, melancholy roots that are in free time, that usual relate to the mountain life which are played by shepherds in the mountain and are then brought into a concert situation with compositions. Macedonian music also has odd meters that are very common to the area. For example, most popular songs are written in seven beats. Seven, nine and 11 are other common meters.

It is very simple, but very beautiful. If you take one of those simple tunes and play it, it feels perfect. But if I try to write something like it, I’ll never be able to really nail it completely because there’s a characteristic of the folk music that’s very simple, but very specific.