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Jelena Jovanović

(b Vranje, Serbia, June 11, 1897; d Feb 21, 1969). Serbian singer (pesmopojka) and song writer. She was one of the most prominent performers of the 20th-century Serbian and Balkan urban vocal tradition. Widely known as a veseljak (lively character), she was respected for her fidelity to local traditions, for her intensely expressive and nuanced vocal style, and for her dedication to bring out the meaning of the texts she sang. She started singing at a very early age; as a young girl she was paid for her singing. She sang in her own home on everyday occasions, to guests, and at family and public celebrations. Her repertory encompassed love, family, and narrative songs, mainly concerning specific events, places, and personalities of Vranje. She is the author of the song ‘...

Article

Trena Jordanoska and Dimitrije Bužarovski

(b Glišikj, Kavadarci, Republic of Macedonia, 1918; d Skopje Sept 25, 1976). Macedonian folk singer. His lyric tenor voice, with its distinctive timbre (simultaneously light and warm), was recognized soon after his first performance in Radio Skopje in 1948, and it was established as a model for the male vocal repertory of traditional Macedonian music. He sang softly, with richness, in a narrow piano dynamic spectrum, and with delicate use of vibrato and ornaments. He became an idol among Macedonian audiences worldwide and has been adored by Balkan audiences as well, taking tours in Europe, Canada, USA, and Australia....

Article

Ivan Mačak

Percussion idiophone of Slovakia; the name means ‘miner’s clapper’. Like the sklárska klepačka (glassmaker’s clapper), it was a narrow, long wooden board that was struck with a wooden hammer. It usually signalled the beginning of work but was also used to signal fires, mining accidents, danger to the town, the burial of miners, and times of celebration. The first record of the miner’s ...

Article

Baraban  

Inna D. Nazina

Double-headed drum of the eastern Slavs (Ukraine, Belarus, and western regions of Russia). It is known in Belarus in two forms: the drum alone and, influenced by Turkish fashion since the 18th century, with a pair of cymbals mounted on the shell. The baraban is held with the heads vertical and is struck with a wooden beater, often tipped with leather. It is traditionally used in folk ensembles (with violin, clarinet, dulcimer, and accordion) that play at weddings and dances. According to Russian chronicles the drum was used also as a military instrument from the 11th century. The terms ‘baraban’ or ‘ruchnoy baraban’ are also used for the Buben. The ...

Article

Vasil S. Tole

(b Përmet, Albania, May 2, 1929; d Përmet, Jan 26, 2014). Albanian folk music performer. A clarinettist and vocalist, nicknamed ‘Përmeti’s nightingale’, founder of the instrumental iso-polyphonic group (saze ensemble) in the Southern town of Përmet (1944–2004). At a young age, he showed a special ability to design and make instruments. He was taught to play the lute and the clarinet by the ...

Article

Arvydas Karaška

Shaken rattle of Lithuania. It consists of an inflated dried animal bladder or a bird gullet filled with peas or small stones. The bladder is suspended on a cord stretched between the forks of a Y-shaped stick with a handle. Such rattles were usually made for babies. ...

Article

Basedla  

Arvydas Karaška

Folk bass fiddle of Lithuania. It is shaped like a double bass and varies in size from that of a cello to a double bass. The body is assembled from pieces of fir and maple, or sometimes ash or birch wood. The tuning mechanism is a system of cogwheels and metal pegs as on a double bass, or occasionally wooden pegs as on a cello. The ...

Article

Inna D. Nazina

Bass fiddle of Belarus and Ukraine. Some are the size of a cello; others are as large as a conventional double bass. The three or four strings are tuned in 5ths and 4ths. The three-string type is commonly used in the southwest of Belarus, while four-string basses are endemic to parts of the west, central, and northern regions. Both are used in folk instrumental ensembles that perform mainly dance music and wedding marches. In southern ensembles the ...

Article

Basy  

Jan Stęszewski

Bass fiddle of Poland. It can be from 100 to 140 cm long; the body is sometimes carved from one piece of wood, apart from the top. It has two to four strings tuned usually in 5ths, or 4ths and 5ths. For example, in the Tatra mountains the tuning is ...

Article

Bazuna  

Slightly conical wooden horn from the Kaszuby region of Poland. The name possibly comes from German Posaune. It is commonly made from alder or spruce in two rejoined halves in the manner of an alphorn, about 1 to 1.5 metres long, and produces four to eight harmonics. It is traditionally played by shepherds and fishermen. Similar Polish instruments include the ...

Article

Bęben  

Zbigniew J. Przerembski

Term for different types of Polish drums struck with drumsticks. The main types are a single-headed frame drum with jingles or small bells attached (also known as the bębenek, ‘small drum’), widespread in Poland; and a cylindrical two-headed braced drum found largely in the Kalisz region, where it was formerly made from a hollowed log. Such drums are used in various kinds of ensemble, usually with fiddles, in some regions with the bass fiddle but at least since the 19th century never with bagpipes....

Article

Beme  

Early English word for a horn or bugle. ‘Bemastocc’ signifies one made of wood; ‘herebyme’ refers to the instrument in military use.

Article

Bika  

Hungarian friction drum. It can be made of a wooden or metal bucket with the open end covered by a stretched membrane, usually of sheepskin. A horsehair cord passes through a hole in the skin and is tied to a small rod underneath. The cord is rubbed by wetted hands to produce a deep bellowing sound. The bika is used by the Csángó (a Hungarian ethnic group living in Romania) mainly for New Year rituals, and is identical to the Romanian Buhai of Moldavia....

Article

Bilbil  

Ardian Ahmedaja

Whistle of Albanians. About 10 cm long, it is made mostly of willow or similar wood in the spring when the bark can be pulled without breaking. One end has a beaked mouthpiece, and there is only one fingerhole. A pebble or seed is sometimes put in the hollow to produce a rolling sound. Other names are ...

Article

Ancient Russian percussion plaque or disc, suspended from a tree. It was used for signalling in the monasteries of the Raskolniks (dissenters) up to the end of the 19th century.

Article

Bion  

Conch horn of southern France, used for signalling by shepherds.

Article

Arvydas Karaška

Ephemeral mirliton of Lithuania. It consists of some smoked sausage skin wrapped around a forked stick or a straw bent to form an acute angle. Children and shepherds played simple songs or dance tunes on the birbalas, either solo or with other toy instruments.

Article

Birgit Kjellström

Swedish signal horn. A ram’s or bovine horn would be boiled or otherwise softened and the soft parts scraped out; then the tip was sawn off and an aperture made in the end to serve as a mouthpiece. The bockhorn was used until at least the end of the 19th century, mainly in connection with herding cattle, but also as a signal in hunting or fishing and as a means of outdoor communication. The horn (known also as ...

Article

Vasil S. Tole

(b Elbasan, Albania, Aug 4, 1911, Albania; d Tiranë, Albania, April 17, 1970). Albanian folk music performer. He created and performed about 70 popular songs in the folk music idiom. Born in Elbasan, in a traditional family, he completed his primary and secondary education in Elbasan, which is renowned for the folk music traditions and the spectacular scenery. Bodini’s voice captured the attention of audiences when he was 15. He continued his education in the capitol, Tirana, also appearing as a singer in the traditional music clubs. His repertory included songs made by him, as well as traditional Italian and Greek songs. In ...

Article

Boembas  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Flemish bowed monochord. There are three types: 1) a bow stave with a bladder held between the string and the stave; 2) a stick zither with the bladder between the string and a small board fixed to the stick; and 3) a wooden bow affixed at one end in a hole in a board, held in a strong curve by a string looped around the other end and passing through two small holes in the board and knotted below it, clasping a bladder between the arms of the loop. Bells can be added. The name ...