How they get that sound in Balkan music?

How they get that sound in Balkan music?

I’ve listened to some Bulgarian and Macedonian music recently and I’m fascinated about their music. It’s not that I like it that much, but the guys who play it have so much skills, at least the accordionists which are the ones I listen to especially.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yk_ZjSckdk

What I now wonder, are everyone from balkan superb accordion players or is there some kind of technique to get that sound? They can’t really learn all that by ear, or is it improvising? I want to understand this music. How do they learn a new song? How to they get that triplet sound?
Any links to some melodies (midi or something)?

I feel like a worthless accordionist when I hear this kind of music so I just have to learn how they do this to strengthen my self confidence.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

‘They can’t really learn all that by ear’.

Why not? It’s just a matter of being confident with this kind of music, for a start to learn to count it correctly (11/8 measure and all that).

For someone who isn’t brought up with ITM it also takes lots and lots of listening to understand what really is going on.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

11/8, 13/8 and so on only feel difficult when you try to play the music from the dots. As aural music it feels perfectly natural. The problems arise when the music is squeezed into the artificial constraints of time signatures and bar lines. Like Irish music "as played" it isn’t really notatable.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

im sure those musicians think the same about irish music. its just whatever music you listen to and are used to or brought up on.

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Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

Well the dancing isn’t exactly ‘river dance’ and the music is inclined to be very repetitive, but I have to admit that there are some superb accordionists out there.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

Not sure I really understand your question "how do they get that sound". Do you mean the timbre of the accordion (which is mostly down to choice of couplers) the ornamentation (just practise) or the tunes themselves? The tunes tend to have more parts than most Irish tunes and sometimes the parts are not all the same length, there is also a tendency to a more complex way of ordering the parts, rather than just going straight through the parts, with repeats, like we do, they may skip back and forth between different parts,. Sometimes there is improvisation, but not, I think, in the clip you referenced. As stated, the unfamiliar nature of the time signatures can make it a bit hard for our brains to process until we are used to them. Some get this simply by listening and "osmisis" others find a more analytical approach helpful.

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Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

The question is how the songs are built up and how you’re supposed to learn them. It would be great to hear a slow version of a song like this or something and another question is what kind of ornamentation they use. Is the song like that from the beginning or do they use drills/triplets (on feeling) after each key the press?

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

I agree with the general trend among the replies so far - it is merely a question of familiarity with the genre, its ornamentation, techniques and nuances, exactly as it is with Irish traditional music. Presumably, most players start off by learning simpler tunes (these do exist in Balkan music) and then learning the more complex tunes at slow speed or broken down into sections - perhaps also practising the ornaments in isolation - before being able to pick up a whole tune at speed.

As for how they get ‘that sound’, I don’t profess to be any kind of authority on this kind of music, but I think they make extensive use of the chromatic mordant - i.e. a quick triplet consisting of the main note, the note a *semitone* above or below and then the main note again. By contrast, Irish ornamentation is predominantly diatonic or modal (it usually uses the notes found within the scale or mode of the tune).

Of course, many tunes from the Balkan region are in scales and modes not found in Irish music - most noticeably those containing augmented 2nds.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

Don’t forget that Balkan music is intended for dancing to (like Irish music), so if you really want to get to grips with the rhythms of the horo and the like you should really be watching the dancing as you listen. There must be hundreds of examples out there on YouTube.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

dont just watch it, dance it, Then you will really understand when teh heavy beats are supposed to go - to my understanding, the heavy beats are often associated with dancers taking big steps - ie, moving the circle around and the off beats are for the twiddly/minor foot movements, such as you’d find in Irish dancing too.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

That’s quite right. But unfortunately we’re in an imperfect world where people can’t get to live dancing, so the next best thing for them is to watch videos of the dancing as they listen to the music.

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

you learn it the same way you learn ITM, cajun, zydeco, klezmer, tex-mex conjunto or any dance-based, traditional folk/world genre——-you hear it for years on end, you see it played for years on end, and you practice it for years on end. this particular music has polyrhythms as pointed out above by another poster, and that’s part of what you learn, but all genres have particular traits. the box players tend to start as young kids, but you can absolutely learn it as an adult——however, there is no shortcut. no matter when you start, you still have to—-hear it for years on end, see it played for years on end, and practice it for years on end…..most big cities have balkan/bulgarian/eastern european folk-dance/music circles, and there are music camps and workshops for this stuff just like there are for itm. the box players usually play unisoniric boxes, whether PAs or CBAs (chromatic button accordions, often of the "B" configuration, also known as bayans)…..there are tons of accordion music books with balkan sheet music to get you started…….

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

the Balkan sound is probably to do with the pattern of notes or as they are called scales/modes all the same thing , the pattern or sequence of notes is what is the basis for the balkan sound then the timeing ,so if you think of a scale starting on ‘C’ that goes like this C C# E F G G# Bb C try playing that up and down and you can hear that sound already then you could have C D Eb F G G# B C play that and you have a slightly other sound but with the same balkan feel pointless unless you have a chromatic instrument ,

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

I see that most people who commented here have no idea what they’re talking about.

Years ago i was also stunned: how can they produce such sounds ? Will i be able to produce such sounds naturally after i become experienced? NO

To be able to produce this music you have to learn the technique: the trills and the scales. It’s those trills that make the whole thing, and they’re so damn hard. But after you practice for some years you become accustomed and everything becomes easy.

After you have learned the few kinds of trills used in balkanic music, you can then just listen to a song and learn it. It’s not very complicated, the structures are simple - it’s the trills that make the songs sound awesome.

Send me a message if you want, i can teach you balkanic trills on skype, and i’ll teach you how to learn yourself this style of music. In my opinion it’s almost impossible to succeed alone on this path, you need someone to show you the techniques and how they fit together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvxYHnxHDHE paul stanga


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64XWmi1S06I shopska igra


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4L4H4J6XFI breaza


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3L4w4dyrzs nikolas mrak 4


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANbVBuYw9sY ionel tudorache la chilia in port


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M9biQ7A6o8 ionel tudorache deschide gropare mormantul

Re: How they get that sound in Balkan music?

"I see that most people who commented here have no idea what they’re talking about."
What did you expect? Have you not noticed that this is a site about Irish music?

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