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(Slov. Republika Slovenija).

Country in southern Central Europe, bordered by Austria in the north, Hungary in the northeast, Croatia in the south and southwest, and Italy in the west. Following centuries of Habsburg rule, the current territory of Slovenia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in 1918, and into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1945. Slovenia became an independent republic in 1991 and joined the European Union in 2004. The population of roughly 2 million is composed of the Slovenian majority (over 80%) and several minorities, including those from former Yugoslav republics: Hungarians, Italians, and Roma. The official language, Slovene, belongs to the Slavic branch of the Indo-European linguistic family and is particularly rich in dialects. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, while Lutheranism is of major historical importance. The political and cultural capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana.

I. Art music

1. The Middle Ages.

In the Middle Ages, the great majority of the territory inhabited by Slovenians made up part of the Holy Roman Empire. More exactly, Slovenians lived in Carniola (Ger. Krain), southern Carinthia (Ger. Kärnten), southern Styria (Ger. Steiermark), the County of Gorizia, and some other adjoining political formations. All these lands passed in the later Middle Ages to the House of Habsburg, and were still later united as Inner Austria with the capital Graz. The coastal belt of the modern Slovenia belonged, until the beginning of the 19th century, to the Republic of Venice, and the easternmost regions to the kingdom of Hungary. In the later Middle Ages the most important Slovenian town became Ljubljana (Ger. Laibach), the capital of Carniola. In 1918, the Slovenians joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, yet many remained outside the newly established state, especially those in southern Carinthia and the western regions which were attached to Italy but after World War II restored to Yugoslavia. Up to the reforms of Joseph II, the majority of Slovenian territory belonged to the Patriarchate of Aquileia (south of the river Drava/Drau), and a minor portion belonged to the Archdiocese of Salzburg (north of the Drava/Drau), whereas the easternmost regions made up part of the Hungarian ecclesiastical organization. Because of these historical circumstances, there are many musical phenomena, up to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that can be interpreted as Slovenian and Austrian at the same time.

Simultaneous to the spread of Christianity, Gregorian chant reached the ecclesiastical institutions on the territory of what is the modern Slovenia. This is testified by preserved plainchant manuscripts as well as by hundreds of fragments of destroyed plainchant manuscripts kept in Slovenian libraries. Among the monasteries, the following have preserved music codices: the Cistercian abbey Stična (Ger. Sittich), a mutilated gradual from the end of the 12th century, written in the cistercian notation; the Carthusian monastery Žiče (Ger. Seitz), an antiphoner from the end of the 13th century; six antiphoners, three graduals, and three psalters from the 14th and the 15th centuries, all written in square notation; the Carthusian monastery Bistra (Ger. Freudenthal), a gradual from the 13th century, written in square notation; the Carthusian monastery Jurklošter (Ger. Gairach), an antiphoner from the 15th century, written in square notation; the Carthusian monastery Pleterje (Ger. Pletriach), a psalter from the 15th century, written in square notation; the Franciscan monastery of Ljubljana, 11 codices from the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th, written in square notation; and the Franciscan monastery of Novo mesto (Ger. Rudolfswerth), two graduals from the 15th century, written in square notation. Among secular institutions, the following have preserved plainchant manuscripts: the diocese of Koper/Capodistria, a two-volume gradual from the 14th and the 15th centuries and a six-volume antiphoner from the 15th century (compiled partly by Nazarius de Iustinopoli, i.e. from Koper), both written in square notation; the chapter of Izola/Isola, a four-volume antiphoner from the 15th century, written in square notation; and the parish church of Kranj (Ger. Krainburg), a two-volume antiphoner from the end of the 15th century, written in Gothic notation, copied by Ioannes von Werd. This manuscript contains several versified offices, among which there is also one for the patrons of Kranj’s parish church, St Cantius and the Fellow Martyrs. The office appears to be unique to the Antiphoner of Kranj, which makes probable its having been created for the very church of Kranj. In 1462 the diocese of Ljubljana came into being; the plainchant manuscripts from which the newly established chapter performed the sung liturgy did not survive. Like many other liturgical manuscripts they seem to have been destroyed during the 17th century when the Tridentine liturgy replaced the old rite of Aquileia. A part of the manuscripts mentioned may have been copied in the local institutions; in Ljubljana there was, by the end of the 13th century, a public scribe Ruotlibus de Laybaco, who compiled a notated missal in German adiastematic neumes (now in Bozen/Bolzano). The existence of plainchant is confirmed also by charters establishing various liturgical services. Currently, about 35 charters are known that expressly prescribe singing; they come especially from town monasteries but also from village churches.

Other genres of music existed as well. Three Minnesingers represented in the Manesse collection are supposed to have dwelt in southern Styria: der von Suonegge (now Žovnek), der von Obernburg (now Gornji Grad), and der von Scharpfenberg (now Svibno). There are reports of singing in the Slovenian language at the liturgical services; one version of the Schwabenspiegel relates that at the enthronement of the duke of Carinthia a Slovenian Leise was being sung. Some pieces of medieval polyphony of uncertain origin have also been preserved in Slovenian libraries.

2. 16th century.

During the first half of the 16th century Lutheran Protestantism spread among the Slovenian population. Following new conceptions of worship, the Slovenian reformers provided appropriate Slovenian hymns (chorales). In 1550 Primož Trubar/Primus Truber, the chief Slovenian proponent of Protestantism, issued the first Slovenian printed book, Catechismus which, among others, included seven Slovenian hymns in mensural notation. The Slovenian reformers continued printing Slovenian books, and among their numerous prints there were also six larger hymnbooks, containing altogether about 70 notated hymns. The majority of their texts were more or less free paraphrases of various German and Latin models, but some were original. The melodies, all monophonic, were taken from various German Lutheran hymnbooks, yet were adapted to the Slovenian texts. The reformers cultivated polyphony as well, especially at St Elizabeth in Ljubljana, the centre of the Slovenian Protestantism. Here it was performed by the cantor and pupils of the Latin school as well as the town musicians (Stadtpfeifer) attested for Ljubljana from the first half of the 16th century onward. The repertoire has not survived, but it must have consisted of works of contemporary polyphonic composers. It may be mentioned in this connection that two of the cantors at the Latin school were composers as well: Wolfgang Striccius (in Ljubljana from 1588 to 1592) and Sebastian Semnizer.

Several prints by various late 16th-century composers (C. Merulo, C. de Rore, G. Gorzanis) were dedicated to aristocrats dwelling in Slovenian lands which hints at their having cultivated and performed contemporary music. Some native musicians worked in other environments. The most important among them were Georg Prenner, a native of Ljubljana, and Jacobus Handl Gallus who identified himself as a Carniolan.

3. 17th and 18th centuries.

In 1598 the Protestants were expelled from the Inner-Austrian lands (they remained just in those Slovenian regions that belonged to Hungary), and in the next decades the country was gradually recatholicized. In Carniola, the most vigorous proponents of the counter-Reformation were the Jesuits who settled in the town in 1597, and the Ljubljana Bishop Tomaž Hren/Thomas Chrön. Hren endeavoured to edit a Slovenian catholic hymnbook, yet was not successful. The Jesuits established in Ljubljana a college that remained the most important pedagogical institution in the country until the abolition of the order in 1773. The Jesuits put much weight on musical education of the pupils; as was usual in their colleges they organized regular theatrical performances in Latin, played by the pupils, which included musical numbers as well. From the descriptions and surviving synopses it can be seen that it was the teachers and pupils themselves who composed or arranged the music. One of them was Johannes Baptista Dolar, a composer who was later music director of the Jesuit church Am Hof in Vienna. The music of the composers connected with the Ljubljana Jesuit college has not survived. At the beginning of the 17th century the music chapel at the Ljubljana cathedral seems to make a fresh start. This can be inferred by the rich Inventarium librorum musicalium of the cathedral, compiled during the 1620s, which includes more than 300 entries. It is symptomatic that in the Inventarium there prevail contemporary Italian or Italian-oriented composers. Among the peculiarities of the list, G. Caccini’s Euridice may be mentioned. The music collection of the Inventarium has not survived. The most important composer active in Carinthia and Carniola at the beginning of the 17th century was Isaac Posch, author of instrumental suites and sacred music, who held the post of the organist in Klagenfurt (Carinthia) but worked also for the church institutions in Carniola.

Another important chapel was that at the cathedral of Koper/Capodistria, then under Venetian rule (in fact the centre of the Venetian Istria), and therefore under strong Venetian influence. The most important among the musicians there was Gabriello Puliti, the cathedral’s organist, who dwelt in the town, with some interruptions, between 1606 and 1624. Some of Puliti’s sacred works observe the liturgical practices of the Koper cathedral, and were obviously composed for its chapel. In the second half of the 17th century the post of the cathedral’s organist was held by Antonio Tarsia (1643–1722), a native of Koper, and a composer of sacred music. A large musical collection from the Koper cathedral has survived, consisting of works of many Venetian and other Italian composers of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Among the early 17th-century musicians born in Slovenian lands but active elsewhere, Daniel Lagkhner, a native of Maribor (Ger. Marburg), and Gabriel Plautzius, a Carniolan by birth, may be mentioned.

In 1701, an aristocratic music society Academia Philharmonicorum was established in Ljubljana. The members of the society performed at religious services and organized private concerts as well as music regattas on the river flowing through the town. Among the members of the society there were several composers. The contemporaneous documents list their works as well as works of some other composers active in Ljubljana in the first decades of the 18th century; they almost certainly composed oratorios, masses, psalms, dramatic music, instrumental ‘symponies’ and other pieces that all seem to have been under Italian influence. Nothing of this music has been preserved. The activities of the academy may be traced for some decades.

The 18th century was marked by increasingly numerous performances of Italian operatic groups. In Ljubljana, the first commedia italiana in musica was performed in 1660 on the occasion of the visit of the Emperor Leopold I. In 1732, the lost opera Tamerlano by Giuseppe Clementi de Bonomi, the music director of the Carniolan vidame, was produced. From this time until the end of the century Ljubljana saw about 34 Italian opera productions, among which those of the Mingotti opera company in the 1740s seem to have been especially prominent. In 1765 a new theatre was erected in the centre of the town (known as the Theatre of the Provincial Estates). Towards the end of the century the visits of German groups increased, and among others the group of E. Schickaneder performed in Ljubljana in the years 1779–82. The end of the century brought the first instances of Slovenian dramatic music. Sometime in the early 1780s, Jakob Frančišek Zupan/Suppan, a musician active at the parish church in Kamnik (Ger. Stein), composed a short mythological play Belin (the libretist’s Slovenian name for Apollo) of which only the libretto has survived; and in the early 1790s Janez Krstnik Novak (1756–1833), a dilettante musician active at the Fhilharmonische Gesellschaft (see below), composed several portions of the play Matiček se ženi (Matthias’s marriage), a free Slovenian adaptation of Beaumarchais’s Figaro.

The ecclesiastical institutions—with the exception of the cathedral of Koper—have music preserved only from the second half of the 18th century onwards. The most important manuscript collections are held at the cathedral of Ljubljana, in the Franciscan monastery of Novo mesto, and at the Abbey church in Celje (Ger. Cilli). The preserved repertoire consists of masses, other Latin liturgical music, occasional German or Latin religious songs for one to four voices and orchestra or just organ, and keyboard pieces. Among the authors the 18th- and early 19th-century Austrian and Bohemian composers prevail, yet there are also works of musicians active in Carniola: J.F. Zupan/Suppan, Leopold Ferdinand Schwerdt (c. 1770–1854) who was engaged, among others, as a singer at the Ljubljana cathedral, Karl Wenzel Wratny (d c. 1810), Rafael Illowsky, and others.

4. 19th century.

In 1794, the Philharmonische Gesellschaft was founded in Ljubljana. The aim of the society, which consisted of both professionals and amateurs, was to perform music publicly as well as in the closed circle of its members. From the concert programmes which have survived, with some interruptions, from 1816, it can be seen that the society gave around 10 to 15 concerts yearly; the concerts included symphonic music, chamber music, and pieces from operas: arias, choruses, etc. In the second half of the century there were also separate chamber music concerts. Several famous 19th-century artists visited Ljubljana and performed at the society’s concerts. In respect of instrumental music, the society seems to have been oriented towards Vienna: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven were constantly on the programme. In addition, works of many contemporary composers were performed, e.g. Brahms, Dvořak, Bruckner, Wolf, R. Strauss, and later even Mahler. As regards opera pieces, they were taken especially from the contemporary Italian repertoire. The society also performed works of its members, albeit sporadically. Such a case was Franz Benedikt Dussek/František Benedikt Dusík (b 1765; d after 1817), brother of Jan Ladislav, who held the post of the organist at the cathedral of Ljubljana from 1787 to 1799. The preserved music archives of the society include several of his instrumental works (serenadas, symphonies) which might have been performed at the society’s concerts. Among the society’s honorary members Beethoven should be mentioned, who acknowledged his membership by sending a copy of his 6th Symphony.

After the collapse of the Napoleonic Illyrian Provinces (1813), the German course became more conspicuous in the Theatre of the Provincial Estates. The German groups performed Italian works as well, yet in the German language. The programme was more or less keeping pace with the contemporary German, Italian (Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti), and French opera; Verdi was first performed in 1850 (by an Italian group), Wagner in 1874 (Tanhäuser). The pieces of composers active in Ljubljana were also staged occasionally, including works by F.B. Dussek and L.F. Schwerdt. By the end of the century the theatre had a permanent group of singers, but not a permanent orchestra. It may be mentioned that in the 1881–2 season the young Mahler was appointed a repetiteur and director at the Ljubljana Provincial Estates Theatre. In Ljubljana, Mahler conducted about 50 opera and operetta performances and was well received by the public as well as the newspapers.

In the second half of the century more and more texts of Slovenian poets were being set to music by professional as well as amateur composers, especially as choral compositions, songs with piano accompaniment, and interpolations into various dramatic works. According to the spirit of the period, many of these texts were patriotic and nationalistic, and some were composed in emulation of the Slovenian folk music. In the time of the awakening of the political powers of the Slovenian nation, these compositions were sung at various meetings all over the country. (Some cultural historians see in them the beginnings of Slovenian music in the proper sense of the word.)

The endeavours to set up a Slovenian musical life led in 1867 to the foundation of the Dramatično društvo (the Dramatic society) whose aim was to establish the Slovenian theatre including opera, and, in 1872, to the foundation of the Glasbena matica musical society (roughly, ‘the musical home institution’). The latter became very quickly the central musical establishment of the Slovenian nation with branches in several towns. Its core was a large choir led for many years by the energetic Matej Hubad (1866–1937), that performed primarily works of Slovenian composers (thus encouraging production of new compositions), but also important classical works (e.g. Bach’s St Matthew Passion) as well as works of Slavic composers (e.g. those of Dvořak). Slovenian dramatic music got a new impulse when in 1886 Fran Gerbič, a composer, singer, and conductor, took up the post of the music director at the Dramatic society, and when in 1892 a new theatre was inaugurated. It hosted both the German theatre group as well as the Slovenian theatre including opera; the latter gradually constituted a permanent ensemble, several members of which came from Bohemia. In a relatively short time, the Slovenian opera group became able to produce the standard opera repertoire of the time with some emphasis on works of Slavic composers. In 1908 Slovenska filharmonija (the Slovenian Philharmonic) came into being—an orchestra of professional and amateur musicians, many of whom were Bohemians; its first director was the young Václav Talich. Active until 1913, the orchestra gave several concerts yearly; it also functioned as the opera orchestra.

From the end of the 17th century onwards several Slovenian catholic hymnbooks came to light. A new standard of Slovenian church music was set up by Gregor Rihar (1796–1863), a music director of the Ljubljana cathedral. Rihar composed more than 300 partsongs on Slovenian sacred texts for mixed voices with organ accompaniment (sometimes just ad libitum). The great majority of them have straightforward harmonic progressions, strophic form, clear phrasing, and, being homophonic, distinct declamation. This type of composition became a standard of church music followed by many Slovenian 19th- and early 20th-century composers, some of whom composed exclusively for the church. As a result a considerable repertory of Slovenian sacred music came into being. The most prominent composers of Slovenian church music were Leopold Belar (1828–99), Andrej Vavken (1838–98), Angelik Hribar (1843–1907), Hugolin Sattner, Stanko Premrl (1880–1965), Alojzij Mav (1898–1977), and Matija Tomc (1899–1986). Some tried to emulate the Slovenian folk idiom, others adhered to the Classical ideals, whereas in works of still others echoes of the contemporary opera music can be detected. The principles of the Caecilian movement can also be perceived in a part of the entire repertory, yet it did not take deep roots. By the second half of the 19th century, nearly every parish church had an organ, an organist, and a choir performing regularly the works of the Slovenian church composers.

By the end of the century Slovenian musical life was well established, and a dozen composers took an active part in it. They composed primarily choral compositions and songs (Lieder), but also piano pieces, chamber music, and, in some instances, orchestral and symphonic pieces. The most prominent among them were Benjamin Ipavec, Fran Gerbič, and Anton Foester, a Bohemian who naturalized in Slovenia and held the post of the music director at the Ljubljana cathedral for several decades. In harmony and form, these composers adhered to the Classical ideals, but in melody they inclined towards the Romantic expressiveness. The younger generation starting around the turn of the century followed the contemporary trends, especially those in Austria and Bohemia. The most outstanding among this generation were Risto Savin, Josip Ipavec (1873–1921), Hugolin Sattner (who composed oratorios on Slovenian texts), Emil Adamič (1877–1936), and Anton Lajovic, prominent especially as composer of songs (Lieder) and symphonic pieces. From 1901 to 1914 the composer Gojmir Krek (1875–1942) edited the music review Novi akordi (New Chords) which published music of contemporary composers, primarily Slovenian, and critical reviews. Being an advocate of high professional standards as well as modern trends, Krek contributed much to the development of Slovenian music of the time.

The turn of the century saw also the birth of Slovenian national opera. The first Slovenian opera was Gorenjski slavček (‘The Upper-Carniolan nightingale’) by the aforementioned A. Foerster, performed as an opera in 1896 (originally it was a play with musical numbers). This work that took as its model The Bartered Bride by Smetana (and acquaintance of Foerster) was consciously conceived as the first Slovenian opera. About 15 to 20 Slovenian operas and operettas came into being by 1918. Some of the Slovenian operatic composers inclined towards Bohemian and Slavic models (A. Foerster, F. Gerbič, B. Ipavec), others also towards the Italian (Viktor Parma). The most modern among them was Risto Savin who in his best work Lepa Vida (‘The fair Vida’) turned away from the number opera and made use of contemporary principles of dramatic music.

Jurij Snoj

5. 20th century.

The end of the Great War brought out strong political as well as cultural shifts. Slovenia became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (after 1929 the Kingdom of Yugoslavia): the reading-room societies’ mentality of nationalism gave way to the ideas of patriotism and modernization. The entire epoch is interlaced with two mutually connected concepts: modernization (with many different meanings) and national identity. Even the terminological distinction between Slovenian (art) music and the music in Slovenia, or by Slovenians, gained relevancy as the end of the Great War brought more political power to the nation. The epithet ‘Slovenian’ emerged as a double-coded image aiming at a certain cultural context as well as an integrative aesthetic category. Both faces of the national identity have had a rather rich history, accompanied with the many meanings of modernization before as well as after World War II.

Modernization of the national musical practice meant basically professionalization of what was often addressed as a ‘primitive’ stage of Slovenian art music. The growing competitiveness between the institutionally malnourished (i.e. ‘primitive’) Slovenian and the richer and better professionally organized (i.e. ‘modern’) German musical practice in Ljubljana from the fin de siècle reached a blunt formulation in the polemical essay by the lawyer and composer Anton Lajovic (1878–1960), also the most influential music administrator of that period, ‘On the Eternal Beauty and Poison of Beethoven’s, Bach’s, and Wagner’s works’. Published in the catholic daily Slovenec on 6 April 1924, the extreme nationalist stance of Lajovic urged the necessity to concentrate on Slavic and especially Slovenian musical production. Although his extremist cultural stance was criticized promptly by the leading modernist at the time, Marij Kogoj (1892–1956), debate about recognizable national music culture and ideals of autonomous musical practices—the main opposition in Lajovic’s and Kogoj’s dispute—re-appeared later in three different forms. First, it re-appeared with an ambivalent connotation in the debates about the ‘music for our masses’ in the early 1950s (the issue of national popular music in the widest sense); then it appeared in more sophisticated reflections in the modernism of the late 1950s and 1960s (especially of the group of composers Pro musica viva) as opposed to the ‘triviality’ of either the then-popular jazz, pop, and folk-based music as well as to the ‘unimaginative’ juste milieu of the mainstream tradition (the issue of the national high-art music); and it became prominent again after 1991 (when Slovenia became an independent country) with the debates and activities regarding the national identity.

Musical life between the wars was primarily concentrated around choral culture. About 200 amateur choirs were active in the Pevska zveza, functioning through two ‘parishes’, Hubadova and Ipavčeva župa, that still stimulate a very rich choral culture of more than 1300 choral societies and 1800 children’s school and church choirs. But during the interwar period Slovenian instrumental music also increased in quantity and quality. Beside symphonic music from the first quarter of the century composed by Anton Lajovic, Emil Adamič (1877–1936), and Fran Gerbič (1840–1917; author of the first Slovenian symphony: Lovska simfonija, 1915), the impressionistically mellow and formally lucid set of five symphonies by Lucija Marija Škerjanc (1900–73), the symphonic and chamber music of the main avant-gardist and New Objectivity idealist Slavko Osterc (1895–1941), impressionist symphonic poems by Demetrij Žebré (1912–70), the expressionist diction of Matija Bravničar’s (1897–1977) instrumental music, and the romantic symphonies of Blaž Arnič (1901–70) may be mentioned among the finest achievements of the Slovenian instrumental music of the first half of the 20th century.

In the interwar period, the interest in popular music (mainly addressed as ‘jazz’ until the 1960s) increased, stimulated in part by the growing popularity of the then-modern social dance (in 1927 Jenko Adolf introduced the first professional school for modern social dance in Ljubljana). Among the first jazz bands was the Original Jazz Negode (1922) that led the way for a fast growing number of similar ensembles—in most cases dance or coffee-house entertainment—paving the way for the Big Band of RTV Slovenia, active since 1945.

Popular music entered into the focus of the declared modernists, such as Emil Adamič, Marij Kogoj, and Slavko Osterc, coinciding with the peak of the Slovenian expressionism that found its most impressive utterance in Kogoj’s opera Črne maske (based on the theatre drama Black masks, 1908, by Leonid Andreyev). Kogoj led the ‘expressionist’ first Slovenian avant-garde movement in his words as well as works, composed from 1914 (the choral workTrenotek) until his mental illness in 1933 (the piano miniatures Malenkosti). He indicated the range within which modernist tendencies were being accepted throughout the century: from the majority rather slowly and with unease, for several enthusiastically. In the 1930s the second Slovenian music avant-garde phenomenon attracted important creative figures and performers. It was centred on the ideas of New Objectivity, as advocated by Slavko Osterc and his circle of students. Kogoj and Osterc remained key cultural figures (more than their music and to some extent their theoretical reflections) for what may be called the third avant-garde generation of Slovenian composers, gathered around the group Pro musica viva (1961–1977). Especially Osterc, a pupil of Alois Hába, managed to attract the younger generation of musicians with his international activities, essayistic wit, and inexorable advocacy of the hardly ever defined yet always emphasized ‘new’ music. His circle consisted of pupils, among which may be mentioned at least Karol Pahor (1896–1974), Pavel Šivic (1908–55), Marijan Lipovšek (1910–95), Demetrij Žebré, Franc Šturm (1912–43), and Primož Ramovš (1921–99), as well as notable musicians, such as the conductor and composer Danilo Švara (1902–81), while his posthumous influence reverberated well into the second half of the 20th century.

Among more ‘silent’ yet important figures of the first half of the 20th century, one should at least mention one of the most profound Slovenian music theoreticians, Srečko Koporc (1900–65), who destroyed his compositions and confined himself from public life, and the pianist Ivan Noč (1901–51), who left Slovenia during World War II. Their respective exiles are indicative for several dozens of musicians who left the country after World War II for different reasons: Drago Mario Šijanec (1907–86), Franc Cigan (1908–71), John Paul Sifler (1911–2001), Klaro Marija Mizerit (1914–2007), Alojzij Geržinič (1915–2008), Jože Osana (1919–96), Božidar Kantušer (1921–99), Metod Milač (b 1924), Janez Matičič (b 1926), Vinko Globokar (b 1934), Peter Velikonja (b 1938), Janko Jezovšek (b 1945), Igor Majcen (1952), and Jerica Oblak Parker (b 1966), among others.

Musical life during the interwar period unfolded around several institutions. In 1919, Anton Lajovic abolished what had been for more than a century the main German musical institution in Slovenia, the Philharmonische Gesellschaft. Its orchestra was integrated into the activities of the main national establishment Glasbena matica. Glasbena matica became the main music institution in Slovenia: they published scores (Edicije Glasbene matice); they oversaw music education and established the tertiary level of it (the Conservatory of Glasbena matica, introduced in 1919, was nationalized into the State Conservatory in 1926; between 1939 and 1945 it was called the Music Academy, and from 1946 the Academy of Music); they felt called to guard of the folklore, initiating in 1934 the current Institute of Ethnomusicology at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts; and they ran concert management and cultivated the most distinguished (amateur) choir. In short, Glasbena matica maintained the central position in Slovenian musical practice until 1945. After its property was nationalized, it existed just as a choir until its property was regained in 2002 and activities began to expand again.

In addition to Glasbena matica, Slovenian Radio grew in importance from 1928, attracting performers as well as composers. Radio Ljubljana hosted the first professional symphonic orchestra after the Great War, Philharmonics of Ljubljana (1935), led by Drago Mario Šijanec. It was one of the four pillars of symphonic music in the interwar Slovenia, beside the Orchestra of the Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, the Orchestral Society (Orkestralno društvo) of Glasbena matica, and the Military Orchestra (1920–1941), led by Josip Čerin (1867–1951). Radio Slovenia was later also important for the music recordings industry that found its first interests in the Slovenian music already in 1908.

After World War II, during which the partisan movement announced in 1942 a protest of cultural silence that also hindered musical activities, the musical life within the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia offered a fertile ground for music professionalization. Historically, Slovenian music production and reproduction was for the first time well founded by professionally structured public music education. The public education developed a tight net of public music schools (24,029 pupils enrolled in 2013–14), and the Academy of Music was restructured in 1946 into a modern institution encompassing almost all profiles of musicians, including the Department for Music History (since 1962 the Department of Musicology at the Faculty of Arts). Supporting the initiatives, a fair amount of energy was devoted to less formal music activities, since 1996 led by the Public Fund or RS for Cultural Activities. Beside the Jeunesses musicales of Slovenia (1969), the lively popular music movements as well as a strong folk music tradition offered fertile soil for a growing number of private broadcasting companies since 1989, in which music plays an important role. Actually, the rather liberal and poorly regulated musical business that had in 2014 more than 40 music publishers (however, only several among them may be said to have a substantial, national profile) is rapidly changing: if in 2007 there were around 1200 publicly available media outlets, in 2014 the number grew to 1787. In other words: if at the beginning of the 20th century Slovenian music was distributed mainly through several music journals, among which only Cerkveni glasbenik (1978–1945, 1976–) was published for a longer period, and rare scores by the Edition Glasbena matica, in 2014 there are around ten music journals (e-journals included), not to mention the ten public radio stations beside around 80 local radio frequencies and the other ‘personal’ music-consuming facilities offered by modern technology.

Raising the level of the musical culture was a re-emerging topic from the time of the journal Novi akordi (1901–14) onwards, especially in Nova muzika (1928–9) and in Slovenska glasbena revija (1951–60). These journals were complemented by the choir music journals Pevec (1921–38), Zbori (1925–34), Naši zbori (1946), and Grlica (1953–88). The moving force behind those journals was to offer the best contemporary music and to spread the professional aesthetical standards, which appeared difficult to define already in the 1950s. The otherwise politically alert government of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, technically subjected to the Federal Secretary in Belgrade, held little interest in music, leaving the levers to the professionals. Although the idea of socialist realism was also officially discarded in 1952 (four years after Yugoslavia withdrew from Cominform), the ideas about music for andto the people persisted in other forms: in the 1950s in the form of a fairly rich a capella repertoire, partisan songs (regaining popularity at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century), some programme music, as for instance in the oeuvre of Blaž Arnič and Marjan Kozina (1907–66), and in the form of a growing popular music culture. Nationally important musical works from the 1950s reveal influences of impressionism (as transmitted by the most influential musician in the 1950s and early 1960s, professor at the Academy of Music and academician Lucijan Marija Škerjanc), different neoclassicisms, mainly connected to Hindemith’s theory, Bartók’s ‘constructivism’, or Shostakovich’s narrativity (e.g., M. Lipovšek, P. Ramovš, Uroš Krek, and later Dane Škerl).

The political warming of the second half of the 1950s, however, contributed to the modernist strivings of Pavel Šivic and his concerts of contemporary music, Collegium musicum (1957–65), and especially of the group Pro musica viva (1962–77). With its Ensemble Slavko Osterc, established and led by Ivo Petrić, the group cultivated the ideals comparable to the kindred spirits in the leading modernists at the end of the 1950s, especially those connected to the textural music of the Polish avant-garde at the festival Warszaw Autumn. The composers of Pro musica viva—Milan Stibilj Stibilj (1927–2014), Jakob Jež (b 1928), Ivo Petrić (b 1931), Alojz Srebotnjak (1931–2010), Igor Štuhec (b 1932), Darijan Božič (b 1933), and Lojze Lebič (b 1934)—are the embodiment of the Slovenian avant-garde of the 1960s with their different compositional techniques, ranging from more expressionist logic and aleatoric procedures to sonorism and electronic music sound research. Alongside of these modernists, especially P. Ramovš and his Simfonija 68 (1968) with its textural constructivism may indicate the aesthetical ideals considered as modernist for that period. Yet it should be emphasized that also the third wave of Slovenian modernism was rather heterogeneous. One should include in it also the ‘moderate modernism’ of Pavle Merkù (1927), the ‘dodecaphonic’ instrumentalism of D. Švara, and the ‘expressionst’ diction of Vilko Ukmar (1905–91)—beside the ‘anthropological intertextuality’ of one of the most popular and esteemed contemporary composers L. Lebič, the fragile sonorism of J. Jež, and sound collages by D. Božič.

If the 1960s expanded the expressive means, the 1970s enjoyed the full freedom of the sound experiments. Prominent Slovenian composers living abroad, such as Janez Matičič, Božidar Kos, and especially Vinko Globokar, indicate the aesthetic range of Slovenian modernism. However, already the composers born around World War II, such as Pavel Mihelčič (b 1937), Alojz Ajdič (b 1939), Jani Golob (b 1948), Maks Strmčnik (b 1948), and Peter Kopač (b1949) reveal a necessity for more ‘humane’, ‘less severe’ musical expression. The ‘less problematic’ music had several appearances. One of them was jazz, as cherished by well-educated jazz-oriented peers of the Pro musica viva composers, especially Janez Gregorc (1934–2012) and Jože Privšek (1937–98), the spiritual successors of Bojan Adamič (1912–95). Another phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s was the growing field of popular music, ranging from rock (Mladi Levi, Bele vrane, Begnagrad) to punk bands (Pankrti) and alternative music (Laibach).

The antinomy between modernism and ‘more humane’ music stylizations was growing in importance as one of the central aporias of postmodernity that obtained more clearly palpable form in the 1980s. The generation of composers who appeared in the penultimate decade of the last century reveals a fairly strong attitude toward extremes. If Uroš Rojko (b 1954) and Brina Jež Brezavšček (b 1957) stick to the tradition of modernism as practised in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the German and French new music centers, postmodern polystylism prominently features in the oeuvre of Slavko Šuklar (b1952), Aldo Kumar (b 1954), and Marko Mihevc (b 1957). The opposition between the fourth wave of Slovenian modernism and what may be labelled ‘non-modernists’ holds relevancy for the composers born also from the 1960s onwards. If Peter Šavli (b 1961), Neville Hall (b 1962), Larisa Vrhunc (b1967), Urška Pompe (b 1979), Tadeja Vulc (b 1978), Vito Žuraj (b 1979), Nana Forte (b 1981), Nina Šenk (b 1982), Matej Bonin (b 1986), and Petra Strahovnik (b 1986) adher to different modernist ideals of acoustically refined, well thought-out structural and expressive whole, the expressionism of Tomaž Svete (b 1956), classically balanced instrumental music of Nenad Firšt (b 1964), ‘withdrawn inclusiveness’ of Dušan Bavdek (b 1971), or polistilism of Črt Sojar Voglar (b 1976) aim for a commonsensical concert life whereas the work of Alojz Krajnčan (b 1961), Milko Lazar (b 1965), Ambrož Čopi (b 1973), and Rok Golob (b 1975) draw successfully from jazz, folk, and film-music idioms respectively.

The range of the aesthetic diversity grows when electroacoustic music is added to the line: the oeuvres of Marjan Šijanec (b 1950), Bor Turel (b 1954), and Bojana Šaljič Podešva (b 1978) are added to the line where total freedom of means and expression intertwines with a fetish of sound art. It is cultivated by a DIY (experimental) approach by musicians that are active in the urban cultural centres, such as Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Center (since 1993) or Kino Šiška (2008), where the avant-garde ideals of total freedom from the 1960s have reached the status of the classical (Zlatko Kaučič, Tomaž Grom, Tao G. Vrhovec Samobolec).

The multiplicity of genres and styles that have been integrated in different artistic volitions coincide with fragmentation of the musical practices, creating more and more circles of smaller audiences: the richer the art music production seems to be, the more limited unifying social function it appears to have, and it remains today often even unnoted publicly. However, the range and the dynamics of this process of dispersion of art music production may be neatly traced, beside the music journals, public archives, and the RTV, through the Score Editions (Ed Dss, since 1954) of the Society of Slovenian Composers, the central institution concerning music production, founded in 1945. Currently there are about 120 members, although there are more than 5000 beneficiaries that classify for music royalties as creative artists (all styles and genres included). Further, the compositional legacy is offered in the score series Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae, published since 1983 by the Musicological Institute of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, in the activities of the publisher Astrum that since 1987 has also concentrated on Slovenian church music, together with the re-introduced Cerkveni glasbenik (Church musician) (1976), in which field the composer and choir conductor Damijan Močnik (b 1967) has been bestowed with notable international interest, whereas Ivan Frlorjanc (b 1950) and Andrej Misson (1960) hold important positions. Beside those, several minor music publishing houses are active.

Regarding reproduction, one should point to the regular subscription performances of instrumental music. They were accompanied by a growing number of chamber concerts in the 1950s, when a growing number of contemporary musical works may be detected. The opera house in Ljubljana with operas and ballets, as well as operettas in the Maribor opera house, were oriented more to the classical music-theatrical repertoire, whereas the Ljubljana Festival has been offering, since 1952, popular as well as classical summer music events. The festivals and events have been rising in number and expanding in nature. After the first Yugoslav Jazz Festival in Bled (1960) and the festival of Chamber Music in Radenci (1963), a number of popular and folk music festivals were initiated. The most notable dedicated to art music today are the Seviqc Brežice festival for early music (1982), the Slovenian Music Days (1985), the festival Night of Slovenian Composers (1994), and Slowind (1999).

For Slovenian music reproduction, the central events after World War II were the establishment of the Slovenian Philharmonic (1947), followed by the Philharmonic of Maribor (1950–65), and the Orchestra of RTV Slovenia (1955) led by Uroš Prevoršek (1915–66), one of the most prominent conductors of the middle of the 20th century beside Danilo Švara, Samo Hubad (b 1917), and Marko Letonja (b 1961); to some extent the composer and conductor Zvonimir Ciglič (1921–2006) also held prominence as a potent musician, just as important as conducter Ivo Petrić. The list of nationally notable reproduction achievements should be prolonged by adding to it the concert seriesConcert Atelier of the Society of Slovenian Composers (since 1966–7), the series of recordings of Slovenian composers (from the 1960s onward, systematically offered since 1976), and the policies of the Radio Programme of the Slovenian Broadcasting where the Third (Ars) Programme was introduced in 1964. The anthologies of the Slovenian church and profane choir music respectively deserve mentioning also, because they were prepared by the conductor Mirko Cuderman (b 1930), the founder of the first Slovenian professional vocal ensemble, the Slovenian Chamber Choir (1991). Some excellent musicians complement the picture, such as the conductors Anton Nanut (b1931), Anton Kolar (b 1942), and Uroš Lajovic (b 1944), the pianist Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak (b 1940), the mezzo-soprano Marjana Lipovšek (b 1946), the trombonist Branimir Slokar (b1936), the bass-baritone Marcos Fink (b1950), the mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink (b 1955), the flautist Irena Grafenauer (b 1957), the clarinettist Mate Bekavac (b 1977), and the accordionist Luka Juhart (b 1982), to mention but the few most prominent.



D. Cvetko: Musikgeschichte der Südslawen (Kassel, 1975)

J. Sivec: Two Hundred Years of the Slovene Opera (1780–1980) (Ljubljana, 1981)

Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae, ed. M. Kokole (Ljubljana, 1983–)

M. Bizjak and E. Škulj: Pipe Organs in Slovenia (Ljubljana, 1985)

I. Klemenčič: Musica noster amor: Musical Art of Slovenia from its Beginnings to the Present (Maribor and Ljubljana, 2002)

J. Snoj and G. Pompe: Pisna podoba glasbe na Slovenskem/Music in Slovenia Through the Aspect of Notation (Ljubljana, 2003)

Middle Ages and the 16th century

A. Rijavec: Glasbeno delo na Slovenskem v obdobju protestantizma [Music in Slovenia in the Protestant era] (Ljubljana, 1967)

J. Snoj, ed.: Two Aquileian Poetic Offices (Ottawa, 2003)

J. Snoj et al.: Zgodovina glasbe na Slovenskem [A history of music in Slovenia], vol.1: Glasba na Slovenskem do konca 16. stoletja [Music in Slovenia until the end of the 16th century] (Ljubljana, 2012)

K. Šter: Srednjeveški koral v kartuziji Žiče: pogled skozi oči najstarejšega samostanskega antifonarja [Medieval plainchant in the Charterhouse Žiče: a view from the oldest Žiče antiphoner] (Ljubljana, 2013, online edition)

17th and 18th centuries

J. Höfler: Slovenska cerkvena pesem v 18. stoletju [Slovenian 18th-century church song] (Ljubljana, 1975)

Höfler: Glasbena umetnost pozne renesanse in baroka na Slovenskem [Late-renaissance and baroque music in Slovenia] (Ljubljana, 1978)

M. Kokole: ‘ Music in Slovenia’, A History of Baroque Music, ed. G.J. Buelow (Bloomington, IN, 2004), 429–37

M. Kokole: Isaac Posch: ‘diditus Eois Hesperiisque plagis: Praised in the Lands of Dawn and Sunset’ (Frankfurt am Main, 2009)

M. Barbo: František Josef Benedikt Dusík (Vienna, 2011)

M. Kokole: ‘Two Operatic Seasons of Brothers Mingotti in Ljubljana’, De musica disserenda, vol.8/2 (2012), 57–89

19th century

M. Špendal: Razvoj in značilnosti slovenskega romantičnega sapospeva [The development and characteristics of the Slovenian romantic lied] (Maribor, 1981)

M. Špendal: Iz mariborska glasbene zgodovine [From Maribor’s musical past] (Maribor, 2000)

P. Kuret: Mahler in Laibac /Ljubljana 1881–1882 (Vienna, 2001)

E. Škulj: Gregor Rihar (1796–1863) (Ljubljana, 2003)

A. Nagode: ‘Die Rolle des mitteleuropäischen Raumes in der Entwicklung der slowenischen Kirchenmusik des 19. Jahrhunderts’, Muzikološki zbornik [Musical annual], vol.40/1–2 (2004), 257–66

P. Kuret: Ljubljanska Filharmonična družba 1794–1919 [The Ljubljana Philharmonic Society 1794–1919] (Ljubljana, 2005)

S. Moličnik: Novi akordi [The ‘Novi akordi’ music journal] (Ljubljana, 2006)

J. Sivec: Opera na ljubljanskih odrih od klasicizma do 20. stoletja [Opera in Ljubljana theatres from classicism to the 20th century], ed. M. Kokole and K. Grabnar (Ljubljana, 2010)

D. Koter: Slovenska glasba 1848–1918 [Slovenian music 1848–1918] (Ljubljana, 2012)

D. Koter: Slovenska glasba 1918–1991 [Slovenian music 1918–1991] (Ljubljana, 2012)

J. Weiss: Češki glasbeniki v 19. in na začetku 20. stoletja na Slovenskem [Bohemian musicians in Slovenia in the 19th- and early 20th century] (Maribor, 2012)

S. Železnik: Koncertni sporedi Filharmonične družbe 1816–1872 [Concert programmes of the Philharmonic Society 1816–1872] (Ljubljana, 2013, online edition)

M. Zupančič: Razvoj violinske pedagogike in šolstva na Slovenskem od začetka 19. stoletja do začetka druge svetovne vojne [The development of violin pedagogy in Slovenia from the beginning of the 19th century to the Second World War] (Ljubljana, 2013, online edition)

N. Cigoj Krstulović: Glasbena matica: Zgodovina, spomin, dediščina [The Glasbena matica musical society: history, memory, heritage] (Ljubljana, 2014)

20th century

V. Ukmar: ‘ Slovensko glasbeno življenje v dvajsetletju 1918–1938’, Spominski zbornik Slovenije: Ob dvajsetletnici Kraljevine Jugoslavije (Ljubljana, 1939)

A. Rijavec: Slovenska glasbena dela (Ljubljana, 1979)

E. Škulj: Stanko Premrl: cerkveni glasbenik, Knjižnica cerkvenega glasbenika, vol.4 (Ljubljana, 1981)

B. Loparnik: Biti skladatelj: pogovori s Primožem ramovšem (Ljubljana, 1984)

P. Kuret: Umetnik in družba: slovenska glasbena misel po prvi vojni (Ljubljana, 1988)

D. Cvetko: Slovenska glasba v evropskem prostoru (Ljubljana, 1991)

P. Stanković, G. Tomc, and M. Velikonja: Urbana plemena: subkulture v Sloveniji v devetdesetih (Ljubljana, 1999)

M. Barbo: Pro musica viva: prispevek k slovenski moderni po II. svetovni vojni (Ljubljana, 2001)

N. O’Loughlin: Novejša glasba v Sloveniji (Ljubljana, 2001)

I. Klemenčič: Musica noster amor: Musical Art of Slovenia from its Beginnings to the Present (Maribor and Ljubljana, 2002)

J. Snoj and G. Pompe: Pisna podoba glasbe na Slovenskem (Ljubljana, 2003)

Č.S. Voglar, ed.: Skladateljske sledi po letu 1900 (Ljubljana, 2003)

A. Nagode, ed.: 130 let Glasbene Matice (Ljubljana, 2005)

U. Šivic: Po jezeru bliz Triglava: ponarodevanje umetnih pesmi iz druge polovice 19. stoletja (Ljubljana, 2008)

J. Weiss: Emerik Beran (1868–1940): samotni svetovljan (Maribor, 2008)

L. Stefanija: Psispevek k analizi institucij slovenske glasbe (Ljubljana, 2010)

J. Weiss: Hans Gerstner (1851–1939): življenje za glasbo (Maribor, 2010)

G. Pompe: Postmodernizem in semantika glasbe (Ljubljana, 2011)

J. Snoj: Portret skladatelja Janeza Matičiča (Ljubljana, 2012)

D. Kunej: ‘Leto 1908 – začetek slovenske diskografije?’, Traditiones, vol. 43/2 (2014), 51–74

L. Vrhunc: ‘Vplivi evropske avantgarde na odnos med literaturo in glasbo v delih Jakoba Ježa’, Musicological annual vol.50/1 (2014), 63–76

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Andante in E major. Marij Kogoj, composer. Črtomir Šiškovič, violin; Emanuele Arciuli, piano. Marij Kogoj: Complete Works for Violin and Piano—Complete Piano Collection (Stradavarius: 2011). Audio.


Leon Stefanija

II. Traditional music

Traditional music in Slovenia is defined by geographic locations, migrations, and interactions, and the emphasized senses of local, regional, and national identities. Slovenia’s territory encompasses an Alpine mountainous range, the littoral of the Adriatic Sea, and the fertile Pannonic plains, reflecting broader Central European, Mediterranean, and Balkan cultural traits and musical features. Slovenian researchers have usually identified three basic subjects within the category of traditional music: singing, playing musical instruments, and dancing.

Traditional music today exists within five basic contexts: linked to calendrical and life cycles, within staged performances of folklore ensembles, in art-music arrangements and compositions, in the activities associated with folk music revival, and within diverse popular music domains, including folk-pop, jazz, pop, rock, ethno, and world music.

1. Vocal.

Most traditional songs of the Slovenes are in the major scale, while some ritual songs as well as songs in the border regions to the south and east, are often oligotonic or pentatonic. Metre often requires changes in transcribing from one bar to another. It is believed that a five-beat metre, nowadays rare, used to be widespread in the past. A stanzaic structure for the songs and multipart singing prevail. Monophonic singing is limited to north-eastern Slovenia, where it is seen as a Hungarian influence. In central parts of the country singing was traditionally performed in three parts. Four- and five-part singing are characteristic of some northern regions of the country (e.g. Carinthia), which is comparable to the affinity for multipart singing in the neighbouring Austria. In traditional Slovenian three-part singing the leading voice (naprej) starts the song, before being joined by čez a third above, and by bas, which accompanies the leading voice with the bass on the tonic, dominant and—less often—subdominant. This kind of structure can be enriched by the addition of a fourth part (tretka) above čez (four-part singing) and a fifth part,štrtka, above the tretka (five-part singing). The singers were generally of the same gender and they were accustomed to singing without instrumental accompaniment. The aesthetics of vocal sound differed from region to region, while the dynamics used to be constant from the beginning to the end of a song. Nowadays, however, traditional Slovenian singing is responsive to a more widespread movement of choral singing and formal music education based on different premises: staged performances, nuanced dynamics, structured and unified metric schemes, less variation, and faster tempo. In the second half of the 20th century, singing to instrumental accompaniment became common, particularly with accordion, which also contributed to the spread of equal-tempered tuning. Traditional songs of minority groups are sometimes featured at staged events where several minorities perform, but with the opening of society in general, minorities are increasingly becoming a part of common knowledge and appreciation. One peculiarity that differentiates Slovenes from their Slavic relatives to the South is the absence of heroic songs. A likely explanation for this is the historical absence of a Slovenian state, to which heroic deeds would otherwise be dedicated.

2. Instrumental.

The traditional instrumental soundscape of Slovenia is dominated by aerophones and chordophones. In 1995, archaeologists discovered in the Divje babe site a bone from a cave bear more than 50,000 years old, with several round holes. If this was indeed used for making music, then the musician was a Neanderthal man and this ‘Mousterian flute’ was the oldest musical instrument ever discovered. Iconographic sources testify to the presence of bagpipes (dude) in the past centuries, while today’s aerophones include children’s whistle (žvrgolec), bark horn (lubnati rog), jew’s harp (drumlica), panpipes (trstenke), transverse flute (žvegla), mouth organ (orglice), clarinet, brass instruments such as trumpet and baritone, and the most popular of all, the accordion (harmonika). From the second half of the 19th century on, several types of accordion came into use, but it is mostly the diatonic button type (frajtonarca) and later chromatic keyboard accordion that prevails.

The dominant chordophones are zithers and lutes. The zithers include the drone zither (bordunske citre), the more sophisticated chord zither (akordične citre), and the rare violin zither (violinske citre). The dulcimer types areoprekelj and cimbale, the former being portable, lighter, and without pedals. The most common plucked lutes belong to the tamburica family and include (from the smallest to largest) bisernica (plays melody), brač (accompanies melody or plays countermelody), bugarija (provides harmonic and rhythmic accompaniment), and berda (bass support). Their appearance is a consequence of the pan-Slavic ideology of the 19th century and of cultural influences from neighbouring Croatia. The violin (gosli, škant, etc.) is the most popular bowed cordophone, the others being viola and bass instruments.

The most prominent musical practice based on idiophones is bell chiming (pritrkavanje). Players chime large church bells in a church tower by using special techniques and rules. Membranophones are rare.

The basic principle of putting together an instrumental ensemble reflects vocal practice, that is, a leading instrument plus accompanying one(s) above and below. In central Slovenia, for instance, the violin is joined by the clarinet and the 3-stringed bass, while in Prekmurje to the north-east a typical banda consists of violin, viola, clarinet, dulcimer, and bass. The main purpose of instrumental ensembles, composed almost exclusively by men, was to accompany dance events. Slovenian dances are diverse in figures and regional features, but modern folk-pop music (narodnozabavna glasba), performed by ensembles featuring accordion, clarinet, trumpet, guitar, and bass, contributed to the increasing prevalence of the couple dances polka and waltz (valček). Various forms of a group round dance (kolo) are practised in the frame of staged folklore performances, primarily by Slavic minorities and by ethnic Slovenes in southern Slovenia.

3. Research.

It is a common practice that Slovene researchers focusing on the traditional music of their own country write about Slovenia in a larger sense, encompassing the Republic of Slovenia and Slovene minorities in neighbouring Austria, Hungary, and Italy. This is in tune with the national concern that marked the beginnings of folk song collecting in the second half of the 18th century. The connection between language and national emancipation is also the reason why there was always more emphasis on documenting traditional songs compared to instrumental tunes and dances. The foremost early collectors and researchers of traditional songs were Marko Pohlin and Dizma Zakotnik, Valentin Vodnik and Stanko Vraz, and Karel Štrekelj and Matija Murko. The two most representative collections are Slovenske narodne pesmi (1895–1923) in four books, most often lacking the music, edited by Karel Štrekelj; andSlovenske ljudske pesmi, a multi-volume project that started in 1970, with detailed transcriptions and metadata, edited by various scholars.

The first sound recordings were made by the Hungarian Béla Vikár (1898), the Russian Evgenija Lineva (1913), the Slovenian Juro Adlešič (1914), and the Austrian Leo Hajek (1916). In 1934, France Marolt founded the Institute of Folklore (Folklorni inštitut), today known as the Institute of Ethnomusicology ZRC SAZU (Glasbenonarodopisni inštitut ZRC SAZU). The institute launched systematic research of traditional songs, instrumental music, and dances. It consists of four sections: textological (Zmaga Kumer, Marko Terseglav, Marija Klobčar, Marjetka Golež Kaučič, Marjeta Pisk), ethnomusicological (Valens Vodušek, Julijan Strajnar, Igor Cvetko, Maša Marty, Urša Šivic, Mojca Kovačič), ethnochoreological (Mirko Ramovš, Rebeka Kunej), and archive (Drago Kunej).

Considerable work was done by Mira Omerzel, who combined research with performance and founded the first folk music revival ensemble in Slovenia in 1978. Rajko Muršič contributed from anthropological points of view, and Ana Hofman’s work on music and cultural memory should also be mentioned. The traditional music of Slovenes outside Slovenia was studied by Pavle Merku and Engelbert Logar. Svanibor Pettan, whose research interest is in minority musics, founded the programme in ethnomusicology at the University of Ljubljana based on broad disciplinary premises. Jasna Vidakovič, Simona Moličnik, Vesna Sever, and Emil Zonta left a strong imprint in the promotion of traditional music through the radio.

Traditional music and dance are further researched and promoted by the Public Fund for Cultural Activities of the Republic of Slovenia (Javni sklad RS za kulturne dejavnosti) and the Cultural and Ethnomusicological Society Folk Slovenia (KED Folk Slovenija). Articles on traditional music can be found in Slovenian journals such as Etnolog, Folklornik, Glasba v šoli in vrtcu, Muzikološki zbornik, and Traditiones. Recordings are being issued in several CD series: From the Archives of the Institute of Ethnomusicology; Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi (RTV Slovenia); Modern Folk Music in Slovenia (KED Folk Slovenia); and Sozvočja Slovenije/Sounds of Slovenia (Celinka).

Traditional music is being popularized primarily thanks to the work of creative musicians who are interested in learning about the past and in addressing new audiences. Among those who have contributed in this way in and outside of the context of folk music revival are Trutamora Slovenica, Istranova, Bogdana Herman, Ljoba Jenče, Emil Zonta, Dario Marušić, Janez Dovč, Katice, Marko Banda, Tolovaj Mataj, Volk Folk, Vruja, Vlado Kreslin, Brina, Jararaja, Katalena, Terrafolk, and others.


F. Marolt: Slovenske narodoslovne študije [Slovenian ethnological studies] (Ljubljana, 1935–54)

J. Dravec: Glasbena folklora Prekmurja [Musical folklore of Prekmurje] (Ljubljana, 1957)

R. Hrovatin: ‘ Bordunske citre v Sloveniji’ [Drone zithers in Slovenia], Rad kongresa Saveza udruženja folklorista Jugoslavije VII: Ohrid 1960, 301–7

B. Ravnikar: ‘Akustična študija drumlice’ [An acoustic study of the jew’s harp], Muzikološki zbornik, vol.6 (1970), 99–104

Various editors: Slovenske ljudske pesmi [Slovenian traditional songs] (Ljubljana, 1970–2007)

P. Kuret: Glasbeni instrumenti na srednjeveških freskah na Slovenskem [Musical instruments in medieval frescos in Slovenia] (Ljubljana, 1973)

Z. Kumer: Pesem slovenske dežele [Slovenian folk songs] (Maribor, 1975)

P. Merkù: Ljudsko izročilo Slovencev v Italiji [Traditional heritage of the Slovenes in Italy] (Trieste, 1976)

D. Hasl: ‘Haloška žvegla’ [The transverse flute of Haloze], Traditiones, vol.4 (1977), 89–114

M. Ramovš: Plesat me pelji: plesno izročilo na Slovenskem [Take me to a dance: dance heritage in Slovenia] (Ljubljana, 1980)

K. Štrekelj: Slovenske narodne pesmi [Slovene folk songs] (Ljubljana, 1898–1923/R 1980)

J. Dravec: Glasbena folklora Prlekije [Musical folklore of Prlekija] (Ljubljana, 1981)

Z. Kumer: Ljudska glasbila in godci [Folk instruments and musicians] (Ljubljana, 1983)

Z. Kumer: Die Volksinstrumente in Slowenien (Ljubljana, 1986)

I. Cvetko: Jest sem Vodovnik Juri: o slovenskem ljudskem pevcu, 1791–1858 [I am Juri Vodovnik: about a Slovenian folk singer, 1791–1858] (Ljubljana, 1988)

J. Strajnar: Citira: la musica strumentale in Val di Resia/Inštrumentalna glasba v Reziji [The citira fiddle: instrumental music in Resia] (Udine, 1988)

E. Logar: Vsaka vas ima svoj glas [Each village has its own style] (Klagenfurt, 1988–94)

J. Strajnar: Lepa Ane govorila: prvi zvočni posnetki v Beli krajini [Beautiful Ane was speaking: first sound recordings in Bela krajina] (Ljubljana, 1989)

M. Terseglav: Porabska pesmarica [Porabje songbook] (Budapest, 1989)

M. Omerzel-Terlep: ‘Oprekelj na slovenskem etničnem ozemlju’ [The oprekelj dulcimer in the Slovenian ethnic territory] Traditiones, vol.19 (1990), 177–210

I. Cvetko, ed.: Med godci in glasbili na Slovenskem [Among folk musicians and instruments in Slovenia] (Ljubljana, 1991)

D. Marušič: Predi, predi hči moja: Ljudske pesmi severne Istre [Spin, my daughter, spin: folk songs of northern Istria] (Koper, 1992)

M. Ramovš: Polka je ukazana [Polka has been ordered] (Ljubljana 1992–2000)

M. Omerzel-Terlep: ‘ Ljudske lajne: inštrumentalni predhodniki sodobnih računalnikov’ [The folk hurdy-gurdy: the instrumental precursor of present-day computers] Glasba v tehničnem svetu/Musik in der technischen Welt(Ljubljana, 1994), 128–52

D. Marušič: Piskaj, sona, sopi. Svijet istarskih glazbala [The universe of Istrian musical instruments] (Pula, 1995)

R. Muršič and M. Ramšak, eds.: Razvoj slovenske etnologije: Od Štreklja in Murka do sodobnih etnoloških prizadevanj [The development of Slovenian ethnology: from Štrekelj and Murko to contemporary ethnological efforts] (Ljubljana, 1995)

M. Omerzel-Terlep: ‘Paleolitiske koščene piščali’ [Palaeolithic bone pipes], Slovenski etnolog, vol.57 (1996), 235–94

M. Terseglav: Uskoška pesemska dediščina Bele krajine [The Uskok song heritage of Bela krajina] (Ljubljana 1996)

Z. Kumer: Vloga, zgradba, slog slovenske ljudske pesmi [The role, structure, and style of Slovenian folk songs] (Ljubljana 1996)

I. Turk, ed.: Mousterienska koščena piščal in druge najdbe iz Divjih Bab I v Sloveniji [Mousterian bone flute and other finds from Divje babe I cave site in Slovenia] (Ljubljana, 1997)

I. Sivec: Vsi najboljši muzikanti [All best musicians] (Ljubljana, 1998–2003)

S. Pettan et al., eds.: Glasba in manjšine/Music and Minorities (Ljubljana 2001)

V. Vodušek: Etnomuzikološki članki in razprave [Ethnomusicological articles and debates], ed. M. Terseglav and R. Vrčon (Ljubljana 2003)

E. Zonta: L’armonica diatonica triestina nel nostri ricordi/Diatonična harmonika trieština v naših spominih [Diatonic accordion triestina in our memories] (Koper, 2004)

B. Rotar Pance and S. Pettan, eds.: Glasba v šoli, vol.9/2–3 (Ljubljana, 2004) [Thematic volume on Slovenian traditional music]

D. Kunej: Fonograf je dospel! Prvi zvočni zapisi slovenske ljudske glasbe [Phonograph has arrived! First sound recordings of Slovenian traditional music] (Ljubljana 2008)

U. Šivic: Po jezeru bliz Triglava: Ponarodevanje umetnih pesmi iz druge polovice 19. Stoletja [At a lake near Triglav: transfer of art songs from the second half of the 19th century to traditional music domain] (Ljubljana 2008)

M. Kovačič: Pa se sliš: Pritrkavanje v slovenskem in evropskem prostoru [Bell chiming in Slovenian and European spaces] (Ljubljana 2012)

R. Kunej: Štajeriš: Podoba in kontekst slovenskega ljudskega plesa [Štajeriš: the image and context of a Slovenian folk dance] (Ljubljana 2012)

A. Hofman: Glasba, politika, afekt: Novo življenje partizanskih pesmi v Sloveniji [Music, politics, affect: new life of partisan songs in Slovenia] (Ljubljana 2015)

R. and D. Kunej: Glasba z obeh strani: Gramofonske plošče Matije Arka in Hoyer tria [Music from both sides: gramophone records of Matija Arko and Hoyer trio] (Ljubljana 2015)


Slovenske ljudske pesmi: Dokumentarni posnetki Glasbenonarodopisnega instituta v Ljubljani [Slovenian folk songs: documentary recordings of the Institute of Ethnomusicology in Ljubljana], Jugoton LPY-V-682 (1967)

Ansambel bratov Avsenik: Zlati zvoki [Golden sounds], Helidon FLP 04-021 (1972)

Slovenska glasba/Slovene Music: Porabje, Helidon FLP 03-008 (1979)

B. Herman, M. Omerzel Terlep, and M. Terlep: Slovenske ljudske pesmi in glasbila I/Slovenian Folk Songs and Instruments I, RTB 251 00065 (1981)

Istranova: Istranova, RTV Slovenija 105098 (1982/R 1999)

Slovenska glasba/Slovene Music: Koroška, Helidon FLP 03–9/1–2 (1983)

Der bleiche Mond/Bledi mesec, Trikont US-0182 (1991)

Slovenska glasba/Slovene Music: Pritrkavanje/Bell Ringing, Helidon 6.730013 (1992)

Vlado Kreslin and Beltinška Banda: Najlepša leta našega življenja [The best years of our lives], Bistrica 7169084 (1993)

Tolovaj Mataj: Stari grehi, nova sramota/Old Sins, New Shame, Druga godba CDG 001 (1996)

Slovenske ljudske pesmi/Slovene Folk Songs, ZRC SAZU I-V (1996–2007)

Slovenie: Musiques et chants populaires. Ocora C 600007 (1997)

Zapojmo lepo, zaigrajmo eno: Ljudska pesem in godba Slovencev/Let Us Sing a Sweet Song, Let Us Play a Tune: Folk Song and the Music of the Slovenes, Helidon 6730014 (1998)

Sodobna ljudska glasba na Slovenskem I/Modern Folk Music in Slovenia I, Kulturno društvo Folk Slovenija KDFS CD 001 (1998)

Brina & String.si: Graščakinja, Goga ZG CD 004 (2001)

Odmev prvih zapisov/The Echo of the First Recordings, ZRC SAZU GNI CD 007 (2004)

Al’ že spiš? Kako uspavamo v Sloveniji [Do you sleep already? Lullabies in Slovenia], Kulturno društvo Folk Slovenija KDFS CD 003 (2006)

Katalena: Kmečka ohcet/Village Wedding, Dalas CD 382 (2006)

Regiment po cesti gre/The Regiment is on the March. ZRC SAZU GNI CD 008 (2007)

Gorših ljudi na svetu ni/There Are No Finer People in the World, Osrednja knjižnica Mozirje OKM CD 001 (2008)

Bogdana Herman and Andi Sobočan: Bogomila, Slovenske ljudske pesmi/Bogomila, Slovenian folk songs, Kulturno društvo Folk Slovenija KDFS CD 004 (2008)

Pjevaj mi pjevaj, sokole. Uskoška pesemska dediščina Bele krajine/Sing to me, Falcon! Singing Heritage of the Uskoks in Bela Krajina, ZRC SAZU GNI CD 014 (2010)

Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi: Sijaj, sonce!/Slovenia in Song and Prose: Sun, Shine!, RTV Slovenija CD 112119 (2010)

Etno: Slovenia 2011, SIGIC SGC CD 002 (2011)

Pritrkavanje/Bell Chiming. ZRC SAZU GNI CD 017 (2011)

Sozvočja Slovenije/Sounds of Slovenia, Agencija Celinka CEL CD018 (2011)

Volk Folk: U Prvega. Založba Celinka CD 042 (2011)

Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi: Robovi izročila!/Slovenia in Song and Prose: Fringes of Tradition, RTV Slovenija CD 113789 (2014)

Svanibor Pettan

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