Bulgarian Harmony: In Village, Wedding, and Choral Music of the Last Century, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Bulgarian Harmony

In Village, Wedding, and Choral Music of the Last Century, 1st Edition

By Kalin S. Kirilov


252 pages

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Hardback: 9781472437488
pub: 2015-10-28
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An in-depth study of the Bulgarian harmonic system is long overdue. More than two decades since the Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares choir was awarded a Grammy (1990), there is no scholarly study of the captivating sounds of Bulgarian vertical sonorities. Kalin Kirilov traces the gradual formation of a unique harmonic system that developed in three styles of Bulgarian music: village music from the 1930s to the 1990s, wedding music from the 1970s to 2000, and choral arrangements (obrabotki) - creations of the socialist period (1944-1989), popularized by Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Kirilov classifies the different approaches to harmony and situates them in their historical and cultural contexts, establishing new systems for analysis. In the process, he introduces a new system for the categorization of scales.

Kirilov argues that the ready-made concepts that are frequently forced onto Bulgarian music - ‘westernization’, ‘socialist’ or ‘Middle Eastern influence’, are not only outdated but also too vague to be of use in understanding the sophisticated modal and harmonic systems found in Bulgarian music. As an insider who has performed, composed and arranged this music for 30 years, Kirilov is uniquely qualified to interpret it for an international audience.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Mapping the cultural terrain; Mapping the musical terrain; Chordal vocabulary and primary characteristics of the Bulgarian harmonic style; Harmony and accompaniment in village style; Harmony in Bulgarian wedding music: Trakiya’s dance and concert repertoire from the 1970s-1990s; Harmony in choral Obrabotki: choral arrangements and compositions from the 1950s-1980s; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography and discography; Index.

About the Author

Kalin Kirilov is Associate Professor of Music at Towson University, Maryland, USA. Kirilov received his BA from the Academy of Music in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and a PhD from the University of Oregon. A master of multiple instruments, Kirilov has performed extensively in Europe and toured the United States with Ivo Papazov.

About the Series

SOAS Studies in Music Series

SOAS Musicology Series is today one of the world’s leading series in the discipline of ethnomusicology. Our core mission is to produce high-quality, ethnographically rich studies of music-making in the world’s diverse musical cultures. We publish monographs and edited volumes that explore musical repertories and performance practice, critical issues in ethnomusicology, sound studies, historical and analytical approaches to music across the globe. We recognize the value of applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and our authors draw on current approaches in musicology and anthropology, psychology, media and gender studies. We welcome monographs that investigate global contemporary, classical and popular musics, the effects of digital mediation and transnational flows.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Chamber
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology