Romanian traditional music

A bit of history… The earliest music was played on various pipes with rhythmical accompaniment later added by a cobza. This style can be still found in Moldavian Carpathian regions of Vrancea and Bucovina and with the Hungarian Csango minority. .

but became rare in recent times before a 20th century revival. .A bit of history… The Greek historians have recorded that the Dacians played guitars and priests perform songs with and guitars. The bagpipe was popular from medieval times. as it was in most European countries.

. Each region has its own combination of instruments.A bit of history… Since its introduction the violin has influenced the music in all regions by becoming the principal melody instrument. and its own unique sound. old and new. This continues to develop to the present day with the most recent additions being electric keyboards and drum sets.

long pipe with 5 finger holes • Tilinca .Bucium (Alphorn).long or short 6 hole pipe • Caval .the Romanian panpipe • other pipes .Pipes • Fluier . Flaute. Fifa .open pipe with no finger holes • Nai . Ocarina.

producing different ranges of notes. .Pipes • These are the most widespread instruments in Romania with seventeen different types. • The pipes can be sub-divided to some extent by their design. • Many of these designs of pipe are common throughout the Balkans • Instruments are made by the players and by peasant makers. on the days that working in the fields is not possible. The tube can be either closed or open at the lower end. The wandering "Vlach" shepherds are known to have sold pipes across Hungary.

Duduk (Serbian Vlach).Fluier – the Romanian 6 hole pipe • The common fluier is the equivalent to our tin whistle. Fujarka (Poland). Dudka (Ukraine). Dentsvika (Ukraine). Ovcharska svirka (Turkey). Duduk (Bulgaria). Fluier (Romania). Jedinca (Croatia). In Transylvania it is known as trisca. Frula (Serbia). . Furulya (Hungary). • Similar instruments found in surrounding countries are known as. These are found all over the Balkans. but made out of wood with the lower aperture of reduced diameter. The larger version is known as the fluieroi. Floghera (Greece).

invented by J Schunda. 1865 .the Romanian bagpipe • Clarinet .Reeds A primitive wind instrument made of a hollow reed stalk • Cimpoi .developed in the 1700's • Saxophone .invented around 1840 by Adolphe Sax • Taragot .

made of reed or elder. cut from the common reed using a knot in the reed to stop the pipe . • the drone pipe. is called carabă. single or double. straight or curved. generally of goat skin is called the burduf. from 5 to8 finger holes • the reeds are single. rectangular tongue.Cimpoi • The Romanian instrument has a single reed and straight bore chanter and is less stringent than its Balkan relatives. is called bâzoi • the chanter pipe. • the bag. and often covered by embroidered cloth. The chanter can be be cylindrical or conical. made of reed or elder.

Dumitru Farcaş. and eventually gave rise to a specific regional style. and was used in the premier of Wagner's "Trestan and Isolde" in 1865. Schunda. but is rarely found in Hungary now. A Banat musician. and is probably the best known taragot player.Taragot • The taragot was invented by the instrument maker J. There is no doubt that the desire to reconstruct this famous Hungarian instrument inspired the naming and invention of the modern "taragot". Much like the earlier Saxophone. The taragot was used in the Royal Hungarian Army. • • • . who had played it in the army during World War I. the Taragot has a conical tube similar to the oboe. and the single reed mouthpiece of the clarinet. with advice from the Hungarian composer Gyula Kaldy. working in Budapest. This created a sensation. native to Maramureş. The taragot should not be confused with the older Hungarian "taragoto" which is a double reed shawm similar to the folk shawm found throughout Europe and the Middle East. has made the taragot popular throughout Transylvania. Luţa Ioviţă. returned to Banat (Romania) and introduced it there in the 1920s for dance music.

Other reed instruments • • • • Solz de peşte (fish scale) A carp fish scale is rounded and kept in a glass of cold water until played. • • • • • • . For recodings: Ion Lăceanu STMEPE 01210. For recordings: Nicolae Pleşa ST-EPE 02542. The name is the same as the buzzing drone pipe of a bagpipe. Recordings on Electrecord are by Ion Lăceanu. Bâzoi A small reed pipe with six finger holes. The musician holds it in his mouth between the lower teeth and lower lip. Tâlvul A bottle gourd is used as the sound resonator attached to reed pipe. Două paie (two straws) For recordings: Nicolae Pleşa ST-EPE 02542. Pai Oat straw with a six finger holes and a reed like that of a bagpipe cut into the wall of the straw just under a knot.

lăuta . In Vrancea resonance strings are strung under the main strings.Banat & Hunedoara. The first documentation of the violin in Romania is from the 17th century by an Italian monk regarding the violini music of Moldavia. In Oltenia and Muntenia many different tuning systems were originally used for certain dance tunes. This adaptation is possibly based on the Viola d'amore or Kerman which was played in the courts during Ottoman rule. The Csango of Gyimes insert a single "echo" string into their violins.Transylvania. The modern violin arrived in Romania in the 18th century and is know by a variety of names. but not in the existing folk music of Romania.Violins • • The earlier forerunners of the violin such as the rebec. It is probably that early violins were used in the courts and during the 15th to 16th centuries Serbian musicians were playing the Slavic guzla at Romanian courts. Slavic gusle or eastern kemene are found in all Romania's Balkan neighbours. but these have mostly now been abandoned.Moldavia. • • • • . Adaptations to the standard violin can be found in several areas: In Oas the bridge is moved up to the fingerboard to give a shrill penetrating sound. scripcar . cetera . This is unlikely to be the modern violin which developed less than a century early in western Europe. A later 17th century painting by Graz Codex shows a fiddler playing a rectangular bodied four string instrument.

but can still be found in Hungary. This was only an amateur instrument. but nowadays more interesting chord structures are used by younger musicians.short necked lute of Moldavia and Wallachia • Zongora . Zongora is also the name for the "piano" in Hungary. . not used by the lăutari.European zither The European zither is a rectangular box with a number of melody strings and several drone strings alongside.Pluched strings • Cobza . • Ţitera . and is rarely seen in Romania today. These are strummed together and the melody is played on a fret board with a small stick. Originally only a few chord changes were used. The string layout is compressed to the central inch of the fingerboard to allow rapid rhythmical strumming. This is probably a development of the Middle Eastern qanun that reached Europe in the 11th century. The origin of the name zongora would be interesting to know.adapted guitar in Maramures In Oltenia the cobza has been replaced by an adapted guitar which has fewer strings and is tuned similar to the cobza The instrument is often held vertically when played.

This has become essential in the Romanian town lăutari orchestras and is know as the ţambal mare with the older version now known as the ţambal mic. it is called Hackbrett meaning chopping board or chopping block. • • • . The gypsy instrument.) in Transylvania and Banat. was developed by Schunda in the 1870s. although gypsy orchestras used the large concert cimbalom. During the late 19th century it was observed in several areas of Muntenia and by the end of the century was quite widespread. The accompaniment formulae are relatively few and are generally rhythmical in Wallachia and Muntenia. In Romania it is know as ţambal. It stands on four legs and has many more strings providing an extra octave of range and a damping pedal like a piano. This "Hungarian" concert cymbalom. becoming popular from the 17th to 19th centuries. similar to the Hungarian cymbalom and Ukrainian tsymbaly Records show the existence of the ţambal in 16th century in Romania.Tambal • This is a development of the Persian santur that came to many European countries in the 11th century. taking over from the cobza. which are struck with two wooden hammers. The Romanian Gypsies introduced the instrument into Greece in the 20th century where it is known as the Santouri. only a few peasant musicians were still playing the small cimbalom by the 20th century. which can be played hung from the shoulders by straps. In Hungary. The tsambaly was probably introduced into the Ukraine by wandering Gypsy and Jewish musicians. spread into the villages by the 20th century. It is a trapeze shaped soundboard with 20 to 35 courses of strings. but it did not become popular until much later when it was taken up by the lăutari (gypsy musicians). and harmonic (arpeggios etc. Greek for sweet sound and in Germanic areas. The earliest mention of the Ukrainian tsymbaly dates back to the 17th century. In English-speaking countries it is known as the dulcimer from dulce melos.

and after the fall of the Hapsburg empire in 1918 the brass bands continued as part of the Romanian military. However. together with the usual selection of village and taraf instruments. Many villagers encountered brass bands during Hapsburg military service. as was common throughout Europe (Nick even used to play in one in England). and popular modern ballroom dances. The further progression of the changing instrumentation is continuing with the adoption of taragot. These Hapsburg influences are now seen in the distribution of brass bands in the areas of Banat. Transylvania and Moldavia some of the taraf and village music groups have converted their repertoire of local music to brass group arrangements consisting of melody lead on clarinet. . The repertoire includes many dances together with the wedding ritual tunes. These played on Sundays and in bandstands. We encountered musicians from this village playing at firework display in Bucureşti some years ago. but from Mehedinţi and plays melodies from Oltenia and Banat. trumpet and bugles. Generally the musicians in northern Moldavia are predominantly Romanian. accordion and electronic keyboard during the 1980s. these being found mainly in central and north Moldavia. accompanied by tubas. The trumpet is also included in the town folk ensembles of Moldavia. songs. but misspelt with ă in place of â). In Moldavia these dominated the village music from around the 1930s. marches. the most notable Romanian music folk trumpet player recorded by Electrecord is Constantine Gherghina who is not from Moldavia. Entertainment brass bands were popular during the 19th century prominently in the Saxon areas. whereas those in the centre and south of Moldavia are gypsies. but not southern Romania. During the communist period many Romanian wind instrumentalists and gypsy lăutari were employed in the army as musicians which has resulted in a large fund of brass musicians in many rural villages today. In the regions of Banat. trombone and big drum. Some of the 'traditional' village brass bands have continued without modernisation. other musicians from this village are better known in west Europe marketed as "fanfare Ciocărlia" (Ciocârlia means sky lark and is the title of a melody that every Romanian instrumentalist will perform.Brass and "fanfare" • • • • • • • The history of the Romanian brass band probably has its beginning during the times of the Hapsburg empire and associated annexations to the empire during the 17th to 19th centuries. Transylvania and Moldavia. The best know is from Zece Prăjini (near to Roman in central Moldavia).

and Ilie Udilă have a very smooth. According to Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu early forms were in 20 rural localities in Romania in 1884-1885 under the names of "armonica". etc. Marcel Budală. cimbalom and contra. sax and taragot. "armonic". Lupu Harmonistru. In the early 20th century there are a number of recordings of songs and dances by musicians with names such as David Harmonistu.accordion • The accordion came into existence in the early 19th century in western Europe via a number of progressions from the first bellowed free reed instruments. In the other regions there are accordionists playing melodies. The majority of melody playing use of the accordion for dance music is in Muntenia. being preferred due to its strong sound. The best known accordionists recorded by Electrecord such as Fărâmiţa Lambru. "armoniu". replacing the the cobza. but crisp style. but this is rather rare with the preference still with violin. clarinet. However the accordion is dominating as the harmony accompaniment in most regions' village music. Aristide.Acordeon . • • • . The expectation for accordionists now appears to do more with speed and number of notes fitted in each measure.

Romanian folk music.• References • Alexandru. Bucharest . Musical publishing house. T (1980).

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful