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OLTENIA Folk Music and Dances LLP COMENIUS LLP COMENIUS LLP COMENIUS LLP COMENIUS
Folk Music LLP COMENIUS Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the people. Folk music arose, and best survives, in societies not yet affected by mass communication and the commercialization of culture. It normally was shared and performed by the entire community and was transmitted by word of mouth.
Romanian Folk Music Despite becoming a Roman colony after the defeat of the Dacian King Decebalus (AD 101-106) and numerous invasions by Goths, Tartars and Huns, Romania still maintained a separate musical identity. Influences from neighbouring Turks and Greeks can be detected however. As in Russia, Serbia and Bulgaria, the early Christian rites in Romania were influenced by the Eastern traditions of the Byzantine Empire with it's mixture of Roman, Greek and Persian cultures. Romanian folk music is ancient, spanning over two thousand years and includes incantations, laments, ritual dances and songs. LLP COMENIUS
Much of the music provides a social function such as at weddings, funerals, parties, and so on. In some areas there are still weekly dances. Wedding parties can last up to a couple of days and the musicians normally initiate the celebrations either at the bride or groom's house. The "cantecul miresei" is the bride's farewell song. Music accompanies the procession to the church and while the wedding ceremony is taking place, music entertains the guests outside and during the procession to the party afterwards. There can be particular pieces of music for certain courses of the banquet. The bride's dance is known as "jocul miresei", where the guests dance with and offer money to the bride. LLP COMENIUS
LLP COMENIUS During the 20th century, the term folk music took on a second meaning: it describes a particular kind of popular music which is culturally descended from or otherwise influenced by traditional folk music. "Folk music is usually seen as the authentic expression of a way of life now past or about to disappear (or in some cases, to be preserved orsomehow revived).
Many Romanian ritual customs have their origins in pre-Christian rites. Carol singing is popular as singers visit houses with good luck songs known as colinde. These are different to carols sang in the West. Midwinter pagan songs also exist in Western Romania, characterised by strong and irregular rhythms. New Year is traditionally celebrated with masked dances and the capra or goat ritual. LLP COMENIUS
Oltenia Folk Music The musicians in the South of Romania have a large repertoire of songs and ballads which include legends such as "Sarpele" and "Ciocirlia". Wallachian villages famous for their Gypsy bands include Mirsa, Dobrotesti, Sutesti and Braila. Muntenia is home to the taraf bands (a small instrumental group), which are perhaps the best-known expression of Romanian folk culture. Dances associated with tarafs include brâu, geampara, sârba and hora. The fiddle leads the music, with the dulcimer and the double bass accompanying it. The members of the taraf are known by the generic name of lautari (fiddlers). They perform in villages or at the periphery of the cities, during popular events. LLP COMENIUS
Romanian Folk Dances LLP COMENIUS A rich variety of traditional dances still exist in Romania due to the continuation of the feudal system until the mid 19th century and subsequently the isolation imposed by communists, which resulted in the continuance of a peasant life style. Romania is a unique European country as its folklore still exists in its natural environment, but this is now fast vanishing with the spread of western culture and modern technology.
LLP COMENIUS To introduce to a wider audience the beauty of Romanian folklore, larger orchestras were formed - commonly called "ensembles of folk music" - comprised of many instrumentalists with advanced musical studies, under the direction of conductors specialized in this musical genre. Long the capital region of Romania, Muntenia has a more diverse set of instrumentation, but presently clarinets and accordions are more often used. Oltenia's folk music and dance is similar to Muntenia. Violins and pipes are used, as are ţambal and guitar, replacing the cobza as the rhythmic backing for tarafs. The cimpoi (bagpipe) is also popular in this region.
LLP COMENIUS Any "dance" is a combination of elements: formation, regional style; motifs, musical rhythm, choreography and the social occasion. A change in one or more of these elements can give another dance, sometimes too subtle for a visitor to understand. Organised performances by village folk dance groups within Romania can be traced back to the mid nineteenth century and earlier. Folk ensembles based in towns date from the period immediately after the 2nd World War. The first professional ensembles were founded around 1949, with amateur ensembles in the main regional towns from around 1950.
Oltenia Folk Dances STICK DANCES Oltenia is where the world-famous ‘Căluşul’ dance is performed - which is actually a ritual dance with ancient, savage roots. The ‘Căluş’ of southern Romania, also found with the northern Vlachs of Bulgaria and Serbia, consists of a suite of separate dances, each with its own name, melody and ritual purpose which were danced at Rusalii. LLP COMENIUS
LLP COMENIUS Once this was a sacred dance danced only in the spring by a chosen number of men. Today Calusarul is a form of entertainment and the members of the groups still dancing it probably don’t even know its mystic signification. The ancient rules behind it are no longer respected, but the dance, even in its commercial form, is still mysterious and stunning.
LLP COMENIUS ‘Calus’ is probably the most famous Romanian folk dance. It’s believed to be inherited from the Dacians, Romanian’s ancestors. Its primordial meanings are lost in time, but folklorists and historians believe that the dance was either a fertility ritual or a ritual performed to cure off delirium caused by possession by “iele” (fairies).
CHAIN DANCES In chain dances the dancers are linked to their neighbours using their hands or arms. The line and circle dances of Romania are descendents of ancient dances possibly associated with rituals. Some dances are in a circle, either a complete circle or an open circle with dance leaders on the open ends. These formations are common in social occasions with larger numbers of participants and mostly use simple hand hold which is more flexible not requiring exact movement in unison from the dancers. LLP COMENIUS
HORA Hora mare or Hora dreaptă is circle dance and is the most widespread dance in Romania, partly because any number of participants of both men and women, of any ability or age, can join in. Hora is frequently performed as a ritual dance at weddings and funerals. The hold in Hora has the hands joined at shoulder height and held slightly forward. The formation is a closed circle, apart from in some parts of Banat and north Oltenia where it is danced in an open circle with a leader who can take the dance into a spiral. Mostly these dances progress to the right, often with a diagonal forward and back path. LLP COMENIUS
LLP COMENIUS The Romania Hora is a structured in 2 or 4 measure phrases. Unlike the Bulgarian Pravo Horo and Macedonian Oro which are structured in 3 measure phrases, however the Horo from north west Bulgaria and the Sitno from northern Bulgaria, have a similar form to the Romanian Hora.
Sârba Musically the term Sârba is usually applied to a lively 2/4 melody with triplet grouping, giving a 6/8 feel. This is a common dance rhythm across the Balkans, in dances such as the Serbian Čačak and the Bulgarian fast Pravo Horo. In dance, the Sârba mostly refers to a lively 3-measure structured social dance and belongs to a very ancient and widespread dance form throughout the Balkans. Sârba is found in the same areas as Hora with the highest variety of variants being found along the sub-Carpathians. Unlike Hora, an open circle formation is the norm, apart from south Oltenia where it is generally danced in a closed circle. The name Sârba may mean 'Serb like', and the same dance is known in Greece as Servikos. LLP COMENIUS
Brâul Brâul is a term used for types of men's chain dances, although there are now mixed and women's versions. The term is applies to several different regional families of dances that have little choreographic similarity. The word Brâul (pl. Brâuri) comes from the Dacio-Illyrian language group meaning belt. Formations where the dancers hold their neighbour's belts are common throughout Bulgaria (known as na pojas) and east Serbia. Belt hold causes the dancers to be connected more rigidly than hand holds, thus the dance formations are restricted to short lines and semicircles. The belt hold rarely exists in Romania and has been replaced by front or back cross-hand hold. LLP COMENIUS
Rustemul This category includes all dances with a musical rhythm based on "short-long", usually written in 5/16 (2+3). The timing is not perfectly in 5/16, sometimes it will drift nearer to 3/8, and in some areas it looses the asymmetry getting close to 2/4, this being common in the sub-Carpathian regions. Most of these dances are performed in a circle with low hand hold and arms which swing forward and back with the steps. The steps include many crossing steps and galloping steps. There are many features of Romanian folklore that are common to both the Romanian and Bulgarian sides of the Danube. The uneven rhythm dances are part of this shared tradition. LLP COMENIUS
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