Special Issue "Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Musical Arts and Theatre".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Ivana Medić
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Musicology, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 11000 Beograd, Serbia
Interests: Balkan music; popular music; Russian/Soviet music since 1950; Serbian music since 1950

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on Balkan music gathers together scholars from different disciplines (historians, historical musicologists, ethnomusicologists, ethnochoreologists, anthropologists) and from 11 countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Japan, and New Zealand) who have engaged with the music of the Balkan Peninsula. The essays in this volume cover various regional traditions and styles, including both authentic and stylized folklore music and dance, as well as urban popular folk music, several genres of contemporary pop-folk (turbo-folk, manele, chalga), music of specific ethnic groups or distinct regions within the Balkans, etc.

The main idea for this Special Issue is to "deconstruct" and then "reconstruct" the meaning of the term "Balkan music" for Western readers. The majority of Westerners have very vague preconceptions (and little actual information) about Balkan music and how many diverse traditions and musical styles it encompasses; hence, they only associate Balkan music with brass bands, or commercial pop-folk, Romani music, etc. Therefore, the goal of this volume is to demonstrate the versatility and multiple uses of the term Balkan music and to illustrate it with case studies from all countries that occupy the territory of the Balkan Peninsula, with shared historical and cultural heritage.

Dr. Ivana Medić
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • music in the Balkans vs. "Balkan music"
  • Ottoman and/or Byzantine heritage
  • (West) European influences
  • folklore
  • popular music

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Making a Case for Balkan Music Studies
Arts 2020, 9(4), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040099 - 25 Sep 2020
Viewed by 741
Abstract
In his seminal comprehensive history of music(s) in the Balkan region, Jim Samson avoided the term “Balkan music” in favor of the less-binding title Music in the Balkans (Leiden: Brill, 2013). This, however, should not hinder us from probing the term “Balkan music” [...] Read more.
In his seminal comprehensive history of music(s) in the Balkan region, Jim Samson avoided the term “Balkan music” in favor of the less-binding title Music in the Balkans (Leiden: Brill, 2013). This, however, should not hinder us from probing the term “Balkan music” and its many connotations. In this editorial article for the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future, I aim to dissect the umbrella term “Balkan music” and its actual and presumed meanings and implications, while overviewing many different music traditions and styles that this term encompasses. I will also make a case for the establishment of Balkan Music Studies as a discipline and attempt to outline its scope and outreach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Traditions in the Discussions about the obrabotvane of Folklore in the Avtorski Pesni v Naroden Duh from Bulgaria
Arts 2020, 9(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030089 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
The avtorski pesni v naroden duh (authored songs in folk spirit) are a modern and multifaceted phenomenon, which has accumulated a rich history in Bulgarian musical culture. This research presents the essential characteristics of these songs and a two-part typology (1. authorized/avtorizirani [...] Read more.
The avtorski pesni v naroden duh (authored songs in folk spirit) are a modern and multifaceted phenomenon, which has accumulated a rich history in Bulgarian musical culture. This research presents the essential characteristics of these songs and a two-part typology (1. authorized/avtorizirani folk songs; 2. newly composed songs ‘in folk spirit’), which is based on both models of authorship (according to Michel Foucault, authorial function is manifested in two basic forms of authorship—plagiarism and appropriation). This study provides an overview of some of the thematic debates that attempt to resolve the inevitable contradictions and tensions surrounding songwriting in folk spirit. The avtorski pesni v naroden duh have attracted the critical attention of Bulgarian musicians and society and have been the subject of lively discussions, criticisms, and controversy in numerous publications from the first decades of the 20th century to the present. This survey offers different perspectives, opinions and arguments focused on one of the main discussion topics related to the creation and functioning of the avtorski pesni v naroden duh: pro and contra the obrabotvane (transformation, polishing, processing, cultivation) of folklore. This problem has been at the heart of intellectual discussions since the 1930s and during the 1950s–1980s. The critical discussion of the question pro and contra the obrabotvane of folklore, with its whole inconsistency, complexity and impossibility to be reduced to unambiguous answers, leads to sharp confrontations between the holders of different opinions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)
Article
Macedonian Cultural Plurality at the Crossroads of the Balkans: Drama, Music and Dance
Arts 2020, 9(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030085 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Defining the Balkans as a geographic, cultural and semantic entity triggers an interpretation of them as some idea, concept, oftentimes even a stereotype. The Balkans are usually interpreted as a singular entity, generalized and set in a single framework. That generalized view is [...] Read more.
Defining the Balkans as a geographic, cultural and semantic entity triggers an interpretation of them as some idea, concept, oftentimes even a stereotype. The Balkans are usually interpreted as a singular entity, generalized and set in a single framework. That generalized view is often ambivalent. The Balkans are often interpreted and presented as a ‘powder keg’, a ‘bridge between the East and the West’, a part of Europe that is simply different, a place of strong emotions and attractive forms of music and dance, etc. However, the Balkans represent a set of cultural units that are in constant interaction, with each of the cultures of the Balkans being specific and authentic. Macedonia, as one of the pages of the ‘Balkan story’, will be presented at three levels—regarding its drama, music and dance. The specific characteristics of the music and the dance fields will be presented through their most significant features and examples, and the treatment of the topic of the Balkans in Macedonian drama will be covered as well. The analysis confirms that generalization is impossible even within a single culture, as each artist and medium of performance has its own unique expression. The cultural forms of Macedonian culture are only part of the wider pluralistic representation of the Balkans. It may be offered under the Balkans as the common denominator, but the truth is that this/representation/concept is polyvalent, multicultural, polysemic and extremely rich. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)
Article
The Idea of Byzantium in the Construction of the Musical Cultures of the Balkans
Arts 2020, 9(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9030083 - 26 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
In this article, I discuss the persistence of Byzantium as a cultural model in the arts, and in music in particular, in the countries of the Balkans after the fall of Constantinople. By examining ways in which the idea of Byzantium persisted in [...] Read more.
In this article, I discuss the persistence of Byzantium as a cultural model in the arts, and in music in particular, in the countries of the Balkans after the fall of Constantinople. By examining ways in which the idea of Byzantium persisted in Balkan artistic cultures (and especially in music) after the fall of Byzantium, and the way in which this relates to the advent of modernism during the later construction of the Balkan nation-states, I illustrate not only the pervasiveness but also the strength of Byzantinism as a pan-Balkan characteristic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)
Article
The Balkans of the Balkans: The Meaning of Autobalkanism in Regional Popular Music
Arts 2020, 9(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9020070 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1038
Abstract
In this article, I discuss the use of the term “Balkan” in the regional popular music. In this context, Balkan popular music is contemporary popular folk music produced in the countries of the Balkans and intended for the Balkan markets (specifically, the people [...] Read more.
In this article, I discuss the use of the term “Balkan” in the regional popular music. In this context, Balkan popular music is contemporary popular folk music produced in the countries of the Balkans and intended for the Balkan markets (specifically, the people in the Western Balkans and diaspora communities). After the global success of “Balkan music” in the world music scene, this term influenced the cultures in the Balkans itself; however, interestingly, in the Balkans themselves “Balkan music” does not only refer to the musical characteristics of this genre—namely, it can also be applied music that derives from the genre of the “newly-composed folk music”, which is well known in the Western Balkans. The most important legacy of “Balkan” world music is the discourse on Balkan stereotypes, hence this article will reveal new aspects of autobalkanism in music. This research starts from several questions: where is “the Balkans” which is mentioned in these songs actually situated; what is the meaning of the term “Balkan” used for the audience from the Balkans; and, what are musical characteristics of the genre called trepfolk? Special focus will be on the post-Yugoslav market in the twenty-first century, with particular examples in Serbian language (as well as Bosnian and Croatian). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)
Article
Contested Racial Imaginings of the Serbian Self and the Romani Other in Serbia’s Guča Trumpet Festival
Arts 2020, 9(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9020052 - 26 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
In this article, I will address issues of race using the “Romani question” in Serbia’s Guča trumpet festival as a case study. I will specifically consider a selection of Guča-related themes pertinent to the question of race, while simultaneously discussing the theoretical and [...] Read more.
In this article, I will address issues of race using the “Romani question” in Serbia’s Guča trumpet festival as a case study. I will specifically consider a selection of Guča-related themes pertinent to the question of race, while simultaneously discussing the theoretical and ideological underpinnings of this complicated concept vis-à-vis issues of national identity representation in post-Milošević Serbia. Informed by previous critical studies of race and popular music culture in South/Eastern Europe within the larger postcolonial paradigm of Balkanism, this work will seek to illustrate the ambiguous ways in which the racialization of the Serbian Self and the Romani Other is occurring in the Guča Festival alongside the country’s and region’s persistent denial of race. Using the above approaches, I will conduct a critical cultural analysis of selected racial issues in the festival with reference to eclectic sources, including more recent critical debates about race and racism in South/Eastern Europe within the broader context of postsocialist transition, EU integration, and globalization. My final argument will be that, despite strong evidence that a critical cultural analysis of the “Romani question” in Serbia’s Guča Festival calls for a transnational perspective, earlier Balkanist discourse on Serbia’s indeterminate position between West and East seems to remain analytically most helpful in pointing to the uncontested hegemony of Western/European white privilege and supremacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)
Article
Not Different Enough: Avoiding Representation as “Balkan” and the Constrained Appeal of Macedonian Ethno Music
Arts 2020, 9(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9020045 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Since the early 1990s, interest in various forms of traditional music among middle-class urban ethnic Macedonians has grown. Known by some as the “Ethno Renaissance”, this trend initially grew in the context of educational ensembles in Skopje and gained momentum due to the [...] Read more.
Since the early 1990s, interest in various forms of traditional music among middle-class urban ethnic Macedonians has grown. Known by some as the “Ethno Renaissance”, this trend initially grew in the context of educational ensembles in Skopje and gained momentum due to the soundtrack of the internationally acclaimed Macedonian film Before the Rain (1994) and the formation of the group DD Synthesis by musician and pedagogue Dragan Dautovski. This article traces the development of this multifaceted musical practice, which became known as “ethno music” (etno muzika) and now typically features combinations of various traditional music styles with one another and with other musical styles. Ethno music articulates dynamic changes in Macedonian politics and wider global trends in the “world music” market, which valorizes musical hybridity as “authentic” and continues to prioritize performers perceived as exotic and different. This article discusses the rhetoric, representation, and musical styles of ethno music in the 1990s and in a second wave of “ethno bands” (etno bendovi) that began around 2005. Drawing on ethnography conducted between 2011 and 2018 and on experience as a musician performing and recording in Macedonia periodically since 2003, I argue that, while these bands and their multi-layered musical projects resonate with middle-class, cosmopolitan audiences in Macedonia and its diaspora, their avoidance of the term “Balkan” and associated stereotypes constrains their popularity to Macedonian audiences and prevents them from participating widely in world music festival networks and related markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balkan Music: Past, Present, Future)
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