Smeceno Horo barndance

Also known as Smeseno Horo.

There are 8 recordings of this tune.

Smeceno Horo has been added to 2 tune sets.

Smeceno Horo has been added to 113 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: Smeceno Horo
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:[M:8/16]^cdd =c2 B2A|[M:7/16]cBA cBAG|[M:1/16]F2FD ED F2 E2D|1 [M:7/16]cBA B^G A2:|2 [M:7/16]F2D E^C Dz||
|:[M:1/16]F2 FD ED F2 E2D|[M:7/16]cBA cBAG|[M:1/16]F2 FD ED F2 E2D|1 [M:7/16]cBA B^G Az:|2 [M:7/16]F2D E^C Dz||
|:[M:8/16]A2 AD E=F^GA|[M:7/16]cBA cBAG|[M:1/16]F2FD ED F2 E2D|1 [M:7/16]cBA B^G Az:|2 [M:7/16]F2D E^C Dz||
|:[M:1/16]F2 FD ED F2 E2D|[M:7/16]F2D E^C DE|[M:1/16]F2 FD ED F2 E2D|[M:7/16]F2D E^C D2:|
|:[M:9/16]Bdc B2D A2G|F2 G2 F2G A2|Bdc B2D A2G|F2 G2 F2D E2:|
|:[M:1/16]E=F^GA B2 cB ABc|[M:7/16] B2A ^GABc|[M:9/16] dc2 B2A cBA|^GA GA=F =GD E2:|
|:[M:9/16]dc2 B2A cBA|^GA G2=F GABc|dc2 B2A cBA|^GA GA=F =GD E2:|
X: 2
T: Smeceno Horo
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
^cdd =cc BBA cBA cBAG|[M:18/8] ^FD FD ED FD EDD cBA B^G A2|
[M:15/8] ^cdd =cc BBA cBA cBAG|[M:18/8] ^FD FD ED FD EDD FDD E^C D2:|
|:[M:15/8] {B}AA {B}AA D=F^GA cBA cBA=G|[M:18/8] ^FD FD ED FD EDD cBA B^G A2|
[M:15/8]{B}AA {B}AA D=F^GA cBA cBA=G|[M:18/8] ^FD FD ED FD EDD FDD E^C D2:|
|:AB {c}BA {c}AG {G}^FFD FGA {d}BA {c}AG ^F2|AB {c}BA {c}AG {G}^FFD FGA {d}BA {c}AG ^F2:|
|:Bdc B2A {c}AAG ^F2 G2 F2 GA2|Bdc B2A {c}AAG ^F2 G2 F2 DE2:|
|:EF^GA B2 cB ABc B2A ^GABc|dc2 B2A cBA^G A^GAE FD E2:|
|:dc2 B2A cBA^G A^GDE ^GABc|dc2 B2A cBA^G A^GAE =FDE2:|
# Added by Calum .
X: 3
T: Smeceno Horo
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
[L:1/16][M:15/16] "D" ^cdd=c cBBA cBA "G" B2AG|[M:18/16] "D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED cBA B^GA z|
[M:15/16] "D" ^cdd=c cBBA cBA "G" B2AG|[M:18/16] "D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED "A" F2E "D" E^CD z:|
|:"D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED cBA "G" B2AG|"D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED cBA B^GA z|
F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED cBA "G" B2AG|"D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED "A" F2E "D" E^CD z:|
|:[M:15/16] "Dm" ^GAAD E=FGA cBA "G" B2A=G|[M:18/16] "D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED cBA B^GA z|
[M:15/16] "Dm" ^GAAD E=FGA cBA "G" B2A=G|[M:18/16] "D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED "A" F2E "D" E^CD z:|
|:"D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED "A" F2E E^CDE|"D" F2FA ED "A" F2E .|"D" ED "A" F2E "D" E^CD z "_fine":|
|:"G" ABBA AG "D" F2D .|FG "G" ABA "D" AGFD|"G" ABBA AG "D" F2D .|FG "G" ABA "D" AGF z:|
|:"G" BDcB BD A2G .|"D" FD G2F FGAD|"G" BDcB BD A2G .|"D" FD G2F FDE D z:|[K:Amin]
|:"E" EF^GA BE "Am" cBA .|"E" Bc "Am" B2A "E" ^GABc|dccB BA "Am" cBA .|"E" ^GA "Dm" G2F "E" EDE z:|
|:"E" dccB BA "Am" cBA .|"E" ^GA "Dm" G2F "E" GABc|dccB BA "Am" cBA .|"E" ^GA "Dm" G2F "E" EDE z "_D.C. al fine":|

Thirty-one comments

Smeceno Horo

I have noticed the comments about this tune being a rite of passage for bouzouki players, and a couple of requests for the abc. Voila.
I first learnt the tune when “After the Break “ hit the record stores (remember those). The first four parts we pretty much has down pat on stage. But the fifth part always worried us. Back then I transcribed the tune using a variable speed tape recorder. Returning to music as family has grown, I have found the technology of transcription much improved. Its amazing what can be done with Cool Edit and score extractor. As I had expected, a more determined approach to transcription with the new tools did indeed show that we had some of the latter parts of the tune wrong. I’m reasonably confident about most of the notes now, though in a few parts the rythym is a matter of opinion. There are two other transcriptions I have since found on the net. You can compare the differences. Anyway, if you listen the the After the Break version and play these notes, yuo’ll be close enough. I just wonder how close Planxty was in a couple of places (heresy?). I’ve never come across a version of this by someone from the bulgarian tradition. that would be the real test.
Any peer review welcome.
Oh, and once again its a barn dance on this site. Am I pushing things to far to ask for an “other” category.
Now on to Mominsko Horo. Proving a tad more challenging, which is not what I expected.

Smeceno Horo - response to some peer review

Penultimate part has a changed rythym. Now starts 11/16+7/16.
Has also been variously interpreted as 9/16+ 9/16 or 10/16+8/16 as I originally had it. Obviously a matter of interpetation, but the suggested method makes life easier for accompanists.
The key. I mistakenly had GMix when I meant DMix. The sheet music hasn’t updated this. Just assume there is an F sharp in the key signature.
Has been suggested there is a passing E in the penultimate part as follows: E=F^GA B2cB to E=FGA BEcB. I have listened hard again. I think there is an E in the Planxty version, but its played by bouzouki but not flute. In fact, one could interpet the flute as playing Bz. I have chosen to stick with B2cB as I think thi semphasises the 3 count, and I suspect the passing E is part of the rythmic backing. Of course, you can do whichever you please.
Any further suggestions appreciated
Thanks to Mark (Dow)

Smeceno Horo

Hey Neil, you did ask specifically for a review - it’s not like I would ever have said anything otherwise 🙂 To be honest I was really struggling to find a single fault with it - it’s an absolutely awesome transcription, undoubtedly the best available on the net. I think you’ve proved Michael Gill wrong - see about 10 posts down.

BTW about that E: I only hear it played by the flute 1st time through the tune. 2nd time through I can only hear the zouk playing it, but as you say, it really makes no difference. If you’re playing this on zouk anyway, it sounds good if you double up the quarter notes. That way you can keep the rhythm and pick direction more orderly. DUDU for groups of 2 or 4, and DUD for groups of 3.

Great tune - very much *not* Irish trad, but I think it’s still appreciated by people at I heard this played in the middle of a full-on Irish session at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, April 2003, and was surprised how many people knew it (and knew it well enough to play it at breakneck speed), so it’s not unheard of in sessions. I’m sure it’d go down well at the Zoukfest also.

Smeceno Horo

I’m a little confused by the time signatures; shouldn’t they be 8/8, 7/8, 11/8 etc. The “16” refers to semiquavers, whereas it should be “8” (quavers).
Btw, my copy of ABC2Mus fell over when it attempted to show the dots on screen (it’s otherwise ok with everything else).

Trev hawk eyes


Yep, the time signatures aren’t working here. It prints the correct signatures at home. I’ll change it to quavers.
The key still isn’t correct on the sheet music, though it is in the ABC.
Also, after more listening, I’m coming over to Dow’s opinion about adding a couple of extra notes.I’ve been listening to the flute rather than the zouk. Flautists have to rest to breathe and maybe I have taken breath stops as the tune.
I’ll resubmit with these amendments this weekend.
Maybe everything will look right then.


The sheetmusic and soundfile won’t change, I’m afraid. You can edit the ABC notation at any stage but once the sheetmusic’s been uploaded, that’s it.

HMMMM? - What, no 21/16?

Basically, for those with the curiosity, the rhythmic definition is in long (3 count) and short (2 count) beats, and a knowing percussionist is nice to have on hand, to give that extra swing at 1 and the following two beats, in that swing and roll. 7/8 is a common time signature for the Balkans and comes in three flavours:

|N3 N2 N2| long-short-short
|N2 N3 N2| short-long-short
|N2 N2 N3| short-short-long

- or the way you tap your feet, or the beat you follow in dancing to this dance music…

For a nice collection, I recommend:

“The Balkan Folkdance Music Gig Book”
by Maimon Miller - a fine fiddler, musician and person

Available also from Andy’s Front Hall:

Dance moves

That right, ceolachan.
Here’s how to dance balkan.
Short beat = step.
Long beat = skip (mostly).
Should be easy now.

Sorry about the Barn Dance abuse.
You really ought to get into traditional Australian European music.
Its all Barn Dances, Mazurkas, Varsoviennas,
Polka-Mazurkas, Schottiches, throw in another barn dance, waltz, another waltz thanks and a barn dance to finish.
Peter Ellis has a great collection of tunes collected in Australia.

The Gods Forbid - - - whatever name they’re taken or influence I’m under

I remember the occassional skip…and love the music, and some species of shlivovitz. I used to hate coffee until I started drinking the Balkan stuff (same as ‘Turkish’ mud, but that’s not a modifier you’d want to use there.) Like other places I known, Eire included, a village had only a few dances they did, over and over again. The quirk, or odd one out, was one village, I think it was Macedonia, with seven dances, most had one to three, and some had nothing you could call a ‘skip’. One of my favourites was the ‘silent kolo’, Kosovo, in the ‘highlands’, no music, just the percussion of the feet.

I’ve been trying to get over to Australia for ages, and even saw a house and land for sale in the Northeast there, near the attractions most pulling on my heart, bordering a rain forest and close to the Great Barrier. House prices here just keep spiralling.

We caught a recent dance, Irish, or so we were told and expected after reading the promotional material, where you’d get the occassional group dance (reels, jigs, polkas, slides, hornpipes) scattered in amongst sets of waltzes, and a ‘jive’, or something ‘country western’, not something we would willingly repeat. The occassional waltz or similar couple dance is OK, but we prefer they be in the minority, however much I like mazurkas/Varosviennes, barndances and the loads of similar dances and tunes…

Thanks for the link - much appreciated…


Andy Irvine included some info on the time signatures and provenance of this tune in the liner notes for the Mozaik CD. I’ll paraphrase them here tomorrow, unless someone else can get there first. One of my favourite tunes but rarely get the chance to play it in London.

The original Bulgarian version was available on
a Bulgarian Balkanton LP, BHA340. I believe it was by the Purvomaiskata Group (small brass band: probably clarinet, trumpet, accordion, drum, …); this is presumably the version Andy/Planxty got it from. Don Ellis’ jazz big band recorded 2 versions, a live one on “Tears of Joy”, and a studio one on “Underground” (with the name “Bulgarian Bulge”). I used to know of a bunch of other recordings.

So: Bulgarian Bulge is an alternate name. And “Smeseno” is probably a better transliteration
(“C” is the Cyrillic/Bulgarian letter correspodning to “S”; although I don’t have the LP here, I believe the Bulgarian was “CMECEHO”.
“smeseno” is a somewhat generic term for a crooked rhythm. Note that this is very much a modern composed tune (though I’ve never seen a composer name listed), not a Bulgarian folk tune.

More Smeseno Horo

If anyone is interested, I’ve posted a transcription of the original track from Balkanton BHA340 (with a lot of help from Amazing Slow Downer) here…

The album is from the early ‘60’s and only says it’s by the Sadovskata Group. It’s played on clarinet and is in B flat. I’ve transposed it to D for playing on bouzouki.
The last 2 parts end on strange notes, but they fit the chords (honest, it’s what they’re playing).

Another transcription

T:Smeceno Horo
^cdd =cc BBA cBA cBAG|
M:18/8 ^FD FD ED FD EDD cBA B^G A2|!
M:15/8 ^cdd =cc BBA cBA cBAG|
M:18/8 ^FD FD ED FD EDD FDD E^C D2:|!
|:M:15/8 {B}AA {B}AA D=F^GA cBA cBA=G|
M:18/8 ^FD FD ED FD EDD cBA B^G A2|!
M:15/8 {B}AA {B}AA D=F^GA cBA cBA=G|
M:18/8 ^FD FD ED FD EDD FDD E^C D2:|!
|:AB {c}BA {c}AG {G}^FFD FGA {d}BA {c}AG ^F2|
AB {c}BA {c}AG {G}^FFD FGA {d}BA {c}AG ^F2 :|!
|: Bdc B2A {c}AAG ^F2 G2 F2 GA2|
Bdc B2A {c}AAG ^F2 G2 F2 DE2:|!
|:EF^GA B2 cB ABc B2A ^GABc|
dc2 B2A cBA^G A^GAE FD E2:|!
|:dc2 B2A cBA^G A^GDE ^GABc|
dc2 B2A cBA^G A^GAE =FDE2:||

That’s Roger Landes’ transcription isn’t it? Or are you Roger Landes? 🙂

It’s a very good transcription but to be honest I think Neil’s adheres to the Planxty version more accurately, and it’s easier to make sense of the whole thing because it’s divided up sensibly with barlines. It means that you can almost learn it off the dots without hearing it (altho’ of course I wouldn’t advise that!)

Neil, keep up the good work - you must have an incredibly good ear.

Another transcription

Yes, Dow (Mathis?), Roger here. 🙂

To each his own, I guess, but I prefer the longer bars to keep meter changes to a minimum, that is, one bar of 15 makes more sense to me than a bar of 8 followed by one of 7, and a bar of 18 preferrable to one of 11 followed by another of 7. One other transciption I know of has the first part as one bar of 33/16!!

Also, maybe it is just an oversight, but the first transcription here is in 8/16 7/16 11/16 7/16 9/16, etc. - all bars with 16th note getting one beat, but it is written in 1/8ths, so that is a bit confusing.

I neglected to mention when I posted my transcription that it differs from the Planxty version in two important ways, incorporating what Andy Irvine pointed out to me last year as “mistakes” they made in their version: in the first bar, Planxty played 1/4 notes where two 8ths were “correct,” and in the last bar they omitted a D note between the second G# and the first F natural in the first bar. Putting this D note back in makes a lot of sense as a similar phrase already exists in the 3rd part 1st bar. (Listen back to the Planxty recording and you’ll hear that D in the 3rd part on the third down beat, unlike the first transcription here, where it is on the backbeat of 2.)

Well I’m just easily confused - I like me barlines 🙂

I remember reading on the cittern list a while ago about Andy Irvine’s corrections. If you are keen on getting a setting that is true to the original Bulgarian setting, as opposed to the Planxty one, then it might be the case that Andy didn’t pick up on all the mistakes. Check out the link to what is supposedly the original, posted by seamusr above. Andy’s correction of the last part tallies in terms of timing with the “original” if not with the actual notes, but there are some note values in some of the other parts where you get a quarter note followed by an eighth that perhaps you’d want to investigate further if you wanted an authentic version (to agree upon for band purposes, for example). I would be tempted to go with the one in the link. It all hangs together and the 2+2+2…etc pattern annotated at the top of the score tallies mathematically with all the bars.

As for the 3rd part, I still maintain that Neil’s setting is correct. Are we listening to the same recording - the studio “After The Break”? I don’t hear a “D” on the 3rd downbeat at all. I definitely hear it as {B}AA {B}AD E=F^GA cBA… This also tallies with what is written as the 3rd part of the “original” @ seamusr’s link.

As for the /16 /8 thing: if you look at the abc itself w/o the headers, it’s fine. The problem is that the header for note values is automatically set to 1/8 for tune submission at this website.

Talk about nit-picky eh? 🙂

Ah! Mea culpa! Listening back to “After the Break” I see that you’re right about that 3rd part - I guess I subconsciously changed the phrase without realizing it. Thanks for pointing that out. 😉 Even so, I find I like it better without the E. That [B]AA [B]AA D_F^GA cBA cBA=G is fun to play. Try it!

seamasr shared his transcription with me a couple of weeks ago, as well as an mp3 of the “original” recording, so I do know how different Andy’s setting is from that. Though it may be heresy to balkanophiles, I must say that I prefer the Planxty version, and the setting I now like to play is the one with Andy’s additions.

I haven’t heard the Mosaik recording - is the version there much different from that on “After the Break?”


Roger, I don’t want to sound as though I was criticizing your work. I have great respect for anyone who has attempted to transcribe this tune or learn it by ear. Just the mere act of bothering to sit down with it is amazing. I listened to it for years and thought “mm wow, I’d like to be able to play that on my zouk”, but I’m lazy so I never got round to doing anything about it. Yours was the first decent transcription I saw on the net after you posted it on the cittern list, so that’s when I decided to sit down and learn it.

I think Neil did a great job with this as well. At least he didn’t just plagiarize yours! He’s written out quite a few Balkan tunes for us now (you should check them out), and I think it’s great that there are people here who can produce reliable transcriptions of such difficult tunes. There’s a hell of a lot of bad transcription work out there on the net.

I agree that that D on the downbeat is more satisfying to play cuz it’s on the open string. But I’ve gone and learnt it the other way now 🙂

I’ve not heard the Mosaik recording either, and am also interested to see if there are any differences.

You’ve got to admit that Jeremy’s new feature which picks up abc from the comments section and makes it downloadable as one file together with the submitted version is brilliant. It means that you can see different people’s take on the tune, and learn a bit about its origins or whatever as well.


I’ve been a bit busy in real life and missed this discussion. Not much transcribing either.

Reviewing these comments has been wonderful. What i’m seeing here is the folk tradition at work. What is the correct version? Its really a meaningless question now. That balkantone transcription is great. But how do I know that was ‘correct’ either. The Balkantone masters were busy dressing up traditional tunes into showpieces. What I hear from, say tracho Sinapov (my favourite) bears no resemblence to the tunes you find on Bulgarian folk web. Folk web tunes are very traditional, and rarely as complex as the State Orchestra tunes. So the Balkantone version is where the tune entered the western folk tradition. We have been swapping thge tune around for years now, changing it unconsciously as we play.

I used to play our understanding of the tune in a group in the 1970s. And yes, our first transcription was labelled as 33/16. After a 20 year break I got together with the fiddle player from that band. Of course, we had to play Smeceno. And we discovered we now played it differently. I had got closer to the (‘flawed’) Planxty version after retranscribing it and correcting our old transcription errors. It was a lot harder back then without digital tools. He was playing our older version, but with additional changes that had crept in over 20 years of solo amusement. You could say they are now different settings of the same tune. And without the traditional requirement to fit some sort of dance step, if there ever was one, then this change is almost inevitable. So we have a heap of settings of the tune now, none of them wrong.

And this confirms what we all have known for many years.. that this is a classic tune. A killer tune. I only know one other tune up there with Smeceno as a killer.. Kolev’s Kopanitsa. Thats not saying there aren’t others. Just my repertoire is limited.
Thanks all

Bulgarian Folk Web site
Thats traditional!

Is not thesession a part of your real life?

I like to see things ‘develop’. I had chased up a few contacts on this, wondering if there actually was a ‘dance’ for it. I got a couple of replies just as hell was descending on some people we care about, so was understandably ‘distracted’. Anyway, from reliable and experienced sources, much more informed and in touch than I am, I’m told it isn’t actually a dance piece at all, or not likely, not in the traditional sense ~ but that it is a ‘piece’ just for listening or playing or driving yourself potty with… There have been jazz influences in the Balkans for sometime, so maybe it is in part that, a ‘party piece’ or a spell against foreigners, tourists…

What’s funny is that it became a ‘market’, what with all the folk tourists traveling all over Eastern Europe for a fix, so much so that musicians and choreographers were working overtime to create new candy for next year’s batch of folkies… Both the nice and the naff came out of that bazaar of culture… A lot of costumes were sold, full size and on dolls, and some useless kitch made to look like musical instruments… 😉

Correct version on mozaik

after a lot working out from various transcriptions i finally thought i had mastered smeceno as close as i could get to that on the after the break record. i wa then lucky enough to see andy irvine playing live in belfast last week and got got chatting to him after the gig. to my dismay he informed me that the version on after the break is actually wrong and to have a listen to the version on Mozaik - Live at the Powerhouse CD which is a better representation of the tune. Not taking anything away from the planxty version though as it is powerful sir.


Is there a dance for this tune?

Re: Smeceno Horo

Does anyone have the above transcription of Sadovskata Grupa version (link no longer works)? Would love to see it

Smeceno Horo, X:2

This is zoukboy_2000’s (Roger Landes) transcription from the comments, which for some reason didn’t get picked up when the comments were swept for ABC:

I’ve taken the liberty of removing some of Roger’s linebreaks, as I see he’s put in ! for explicit breaks, which was a feature of older software and not current ABC. Makes sense, I think.

Posted by .

Original bulgarian version from Sadovskata grupa

I’m a specialist in Bulgarian folk music and what I explain here is based on the original music performed by the Sadovskata grupa (‘the group from Sadovo’), published by Balkanton in 1976 on the ВНА340 record. It is published on YouTube:

Chapman’s transcription is correct, so you can use his transcription besides mine. However, I’ll add my transciption as a new setting.

In March ‘21 I posted a page on my website about this tune. See - it is written in Dutch and while Google Translate can do a good job, I’ll post a proper translated version here.

First of all: in Bulgaria irregular rhythms are very common. ‘Irregular’ means that a measure consists of duplets and triplets. But if you already scrolled down to this comment you probably know what I’m talking about. This Smeseno horo one of the more complex examples and I’ll try to explain here what’s going on.

In the first place Bulgarian folk music, specific measures type are given names (not unlike ‘jig’ or ‘reel’ what’s common here). So 2+2+3 (duplet-duplet-triplet) for the râčenica, 2+2+3+2+2 for the kopanica, 2+3 for the pajduško, and so on. In general, these measures are then carried on throughout the song and do not change. But not quite here.

According to my interpretation, the rhythm of this Smeseno horo – translated ‘mixed dance’ – is based on three irregular Bulgarian basic measures:

· The bučimiš, a fifteen-part measure with the structure 22 22 3 22;
· The dajčovo, a nine-part measure with the structure 22 23;
· The grânčarsko, a nine-part measure with structure 23 22.

The nine-part measures are always combined together in this piece to form an eighteen-part measure. The combination is dajčovo + grânčarsko, so 22 23 + 23 22. This is the basic rhythm of this piece. I formed this together to a 9+9/16, so 18/16 rhythm.

However, in the two main melodies this basic measure is preceded by the fifteen-part bučimiš measure. So these melodies have the structure of bučimiš + dajčovo + grânčarsko, or 22 22 3 22 | 22 23 23 22 (or maybe better 222 2322 | 222 3 2322, but that’s open to discussion). In the transcription here I note the notes slightly differently – I group four sixteenths together. Then this combination becomes 44 34 | 4 23 23 4.

And for more readability purposes I divide the two 9 beats measures with a dashed bar – 4 23 ¦ 23 4.

Note the original tune is played in B flat but as the key used here is D I’ve transposed it for your confort.