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Article

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 ‘Dimitrijo, sine Mitre’, one of the hallmarks of Vranje vocal tradition, which traces its roots in tradition found in written sources from the late 19th century onwards and still practiced today....

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.

His recorded repertory of over 230 songs (without variants) is published on dozens of LPs and cassettes. 359 recorded songs have been digitized and stored in the Buzarovski Archive (BuzAr) in 2005. His diverse repertory was carefully selected with a refined musical taste, mainly from urban traditional songs of all genres—love, elegiac, patriotic, and humorous songs. His voice was well suited to ensemble performance, resulting in duets with V. Ilieva, A. Sarievski, Mirvet Belovska, Dragica Nikolova, Blagoj Petrov Karagjule, Violeta Tomovska, E. Redžepova, Anka Gieva, and Atina Apostolova....

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

[barabanka]

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 baraban of Circassia and Dagestan is struck by hand rather than with a stick.

Among Russians, Komi, and the Veps, the baraban is also a pastoral percussion beam made of birch and beaten with two sticks. It is used for signals and to accompany ...

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 saze masters in the city of Korçë. Then his family returned to Përmet, where he joined the saze of Vangjel Leskoviku (1944). At Përmet, he organized his own saze and participated in the Folk Music Festival in Tirane (1952), where he was awarded the First Prize for the best folk clarinettist. His saze was composed of a clarinet, two lutes, two accordions, a frame drum, and a violin. The saze played instruments and sang at the same time. He is a composer of songs, clarinet ...

Article

Arvydas Karaška

(pl.: barškučiai)

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. Barškučiai were also made of baked clay containing stones, by children and shepherds. They were either shaken by hand or rolled on the ground. Home-made ...

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 basedla has three (less often two or four) gut or metal strings, usually tuned in 4ths to match the pitch of the instruments it accompanies, such as the concertina, birbune (folk clarinet), and clarinet. The short home-made bow is called bosiklis. A large basedla is played standing, smaller ones are held like a cello.

The basedla made its way into folk music from palace or manor-house orchestras. Often played in village bands for weddings, dances, and occasionally funerals, the basedla was used throughout Lithuania and was especially popular in Samogitia (western Lithuania). The ...

Article

Inna D. Nazina

[basolya, bas]

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 basetlya typically accompanies one or more violins and a double-headed drum; in central Belarus it traditionally joins a violin, a dulcimer, and a frame drum; in the north it plays with a violin, a clarinet, an accordion, and a double-headed drum. The basetlya first appeared in the 18th century, when professional orchestras (‘capellas’) were developed at the courts of Belarusian-Polish magnates. Both sizes of basetlya were made locally by general woodworkers, not by specialized luthiers; hence their construction, appearance, and tone vary widely....

Article

Basy  

Jan Stęszewski

[basetla]

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  

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 cyli in Kavajë (central Albania) and pipi in Kosovo. Bilbil are also incorporated into the handles of wood spoons, called lugëfyllka (spoon-flute) in southeastern Albania, and in the top of a shepherd’s crook.

A variant called stërkalca is known in Peshkopi (north Albania). Its hollow is bigger and is filled with water, which sprinkles (stërkat) while the instrument is blown. In Korçë (southeast Albania) whistles are made in the shape of earthenware jugs, shtambushka or bardhaçkag; these have a hole on the body near the beginning of the spout and are played with or without water. In southeast Albania this type has been produced in the shape of birds, cocks, lambs, sheep, and more....

Article

Article

Bion  

Article

Arvydas Karaška

Article

Birgit Kjellström

[kohorn]

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 vallhorn, tuthorn, tjuthorn, or björnhorn) was used for calling the cattle and for frightening away wild animals; for the latter use the kvickhorn, taken from the living animal, was supposed to have special magical power. Drilled with three or four fingerholes, the horn was also known as the lekhorn, låthorn, spelhorn, prillarhorn, fingerhorn, and many other names, derived either from the instrument’s function or its substance. Similar or identical horns are used all over the Baltic region. Archaeological discoveries of bovine horns with fingerholes date from the Iron Age....

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 1937, he started his studies in acting in Rome (Italy), but he had to discontinue because of a disease in 1940. Back in Tiranë, he married an Italian, Ada Sarmi, and had two sons. After the establishment of the communist regime, Ada was repatriated to Italy together with the two sons in ...

Article

Boembas  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[blaze-vere, Vlaamse bas]

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 boembas is onomatopoeic. The stick zither type is analogous to the bumbass. The boembas was formerly played from All Saints Day until Carnival; attempts have been made to revive it. It seems to be unknown in the French-speaking parts of Belgium.

F.J. de Hen: ‘Folk Instruments in Belgium’, GSJ, vol.25 (1972), 110–12.

See also Bumbass...