Macedonian and Balkan Folk Music


This section of the site is for music and audio files, primarily Macedonian and Bulgarian folk music. Except for my own recordings, I don’t have permission to use full pieces, so the mp3 and RealAudio files are only about a minute long, to give you a sense of the sound of the piece. The midi files are the smallest size and are there simply to give you an idea of how the melodies sound and the melodic choreography; they and the mp3 files can be read using the QuickTime player. The Real Audio files can be read with RealPlayer. Although the sound isn't as good as the mp3's, the file sizes are smaller. You will need a pdf reader to view the written transcriptions.

You should not think of the transcriptions as the last word on what's recorded, either melodically or re: ornamentation; I sometimes combined versions of melodies into one, or had to guess at some of the ornaments. Instrument solos are notated within the piece, unless I thought a separate transcription would be helpful. See the individual sections below for more information on ornaments.

The 4 areas are: bitov (Bulgarian folk ensemble), izvoren (Macedonian folk ensemble), kaval (Bulgarian and Macedonian shepherd's flute), and tambura (Macedonian long-necked folk lute).

balkanalia! 2019 attendees: Below are links to files of hard copies of examples of rhythms for the Basic Balkan Rhythms class I will be teaching, and accompanying audio samples. I want to emphasize that these should be thought of as simply an introduction, and that there are many, many ways to play these rhythms. The notation is set up for percussion, but I will be explaining it and how to translate those rhythms for other instruments. I'm looking forward to a fun class!

UPDATE 2019-08-28 — I've added audio files that were missing in previous versions and also made some corrections to the transcriptions.

Notated rhythms, separate pdf pages plus single pdf (1.3 MB zip archive)

Audio samples (51.2 MB zip archive)