Instrumental folk music

The most simple and earliest forms of instrumental folk music include
signals used in various occupations and in ceremony. The inhabitants of
the Carpathian mountains used the trembita in its various forms to
inform others about the birth or death of a villager, to signal the
return of shepherds back from mountain pastures and for other important
events.

The traditional signals are territorial, and form an intricate method of
communication. Many of these signals have been recorded, particularly
signals used by shepherds to note the time to arise, to go to bed, to do
the midday milking or to warn about the proximity thiefs. Ceremonial
signals are typically functional in origin. Violin melodies are played
at various parts of a wedding ceremony such as the handing over of the
bride, the weaving of the wedding towels around the arms of the newly
weds, and the beginning of the wedding banquet.

At funeral services special motifs were played to bid farewell to the
departed soul. Song forms are usually based on the melodic and harmonic
basis of the songs accompanied. Some forms require special accompaniment
forms such as in the dumy accompanied by the bandura, kobza or lira.
Dance music is an integral part of the instrumental music repertoire.

In contrast with Ukrainian folksongs, rich in melodies and varied in
rhythmical structures, the folk dances are mostly in duple time, and
based on symmetrical musical periods. The principal dances are closely
related musically and only different accents establish their
choreographical characteristics. Dances were usually incorporated into
rituals such as the wedding, and holidays. The Ukrainians have many
dances that imitate daily life and works such as: Kozak, Kysil, Buhaj,
Poltavka, Dudochka, Metelytsia, Hajduk, Chaban, and many others. The
most prominent Ukrainian folk dances are:

The Metelytsia

The title literally means snowstorm dance. Usually the Metelytsia is in
a minor key in 2/4 time. This dance abounds in swift choreographed
figures of a spinning nature, symbolizing a snowstorm. The dance retains
much of its Khorovod character, the ancient form of communal or group
dancing and choral sining with many figures in a circle form. In the
past the Metelytsia was danced to only choral accompaniment. Prelevant
in the Eastern half of Ukraine.

The Hopak

The Hopak is one of the most popular dances originally only for men in
which they could show off their prowess, heroism and manliness. Often
during the Hopak a series of spectacular solos by several dancers
generates an exciting air of competition. This dance incorporates many
acrobatic movements, usually in a major key and a fast tempo. Variants
of the Hopak include the Zaporozetz, Tropak. Hopak melodies may vary in
mood but are generally in the major mode. Some Hopak melodies are
performed entirely without singing, and may be heard without any dancing
at all.

The Kozachok

The title of this dance is derived from the word Kozak, and its origins
can be traced to the popular Christmas plays of the late 16th and early
17th century. These plays, called Vertep, consisted of two parts, the
first dramatizing the birth of Christ, and the second a joyful
celebration centred around the Kozaks from the Zaporozhian region, who
sang, played their bandura, and danced. This dance became known as the
vertepnyj Kozachok and displayed all the characteristics of the fiery
Kozak temperment.

The Kozachok differed from the Hopak in several spects. It begins with a
slow lyrical introduction, developing in the dance proper an extremely
fast tempo. In the past the Kozachok was performed by a single male
dancer or a couple. Now very often it is a group dance with girls taking
the principal role. Variants of the Kozachok include the Molodychka,
Kysil, Shchyhol, Buhaj, Dudochka, Horlytsia, Choboty, Kosari,
Pereyaslavka, Bychok, Buryma, Zubok, Kateryna, Mykyta, Chabarashka and
the Pleskach.

The Kolomyjka

The Kolomyjka has preserved a triplicity of independent forms: song,
instrumental piece and dance. The Kolomyjka is danced with choral and
instrumental support. Originally it was a Western Ukrainian dance form
with its origins in the Carpathians. The lyrics vary greatly, depending
on the locality, and are usually in the form of short couplets
reflecting everyday activity, faithful musical sketches of typical daily
occurances. Kolomyjkas have a wide melodic range, intricate syncopated
rhythms, and a variety of melisms. Variants of the Kolomyjka include the
Uvyvanetz, Bukovynka, and Arkan.

The Hutsulka and Verkhovynka

The Hutzulka and Verkhovynka from Western Ukraine are musical variants
of the Kolomyjka, however they differ in that they usually include a
slow lyrical introduction in 6/8 or 3/4 time followed by the typical
Kolomyjka.

The Shumka

The Shumka is a Western Ukrainian dance similar in many respects to the
Kolomyjka however without the use of a syncopated rhythm. Dance based on
the above styles but composed around a particular theme include such
dances as: Honyviter, Ziron’ka, Husak, Bychok, Rybka, Shvetz, Koval’,
Kosar, Lisorub.

Foreign introduced dances

Many dances of foreign origin have limited following in various area of
Ukraine. These include Russian dances such as the Kamarynska, Barynia,
Chastushka, Byelorusin dances Liavonykha, the Czech Polka, the Polish
Mazurka and Krakowiak, and the Germanic Waltz and Kadryl.

An important factor in the development of Ukrainian folk dances was the
introduction of the Tsymbaly. The specifics of its accompanying figures
allow a harmonic accompaniment to be produced. The violin became one of
the most popular folk instruments because of its technical potential.
With the widespread use of the violin the Troyista muzyka ensemble
became commonplace. Initially these ensembles served the community by
providing dance music for community functions. In recent times non-dance
program music has been developing primarily made up of marches,
variations on a folk song theme, fantasies and collections of folk
melodies.

Bibliography:

Mishalow, Victor — The Ukrainian Hurdy-gurdy. Epic ballads, psalms and
songs from the repertoire of Vasyl Nechepa. (Kobza — Toronto, 1990)

Mishalow, Victor — The Ukrainian Hurdy-gurdy — in «Sinfonye» The journal
of the Hurdy-gurdy society pp.6-15 No. 7 Summer 1993 (Dorset, England
1993)

Mizynec, V — The Kobzar Brotherhoods — in «Bandura» (# 7-8 N.Y. 1984 p.
24-26)

Moyle, Natalie K. — Ukrainian Dumy — Editio Minor CIUS and HURI
(Edmonton,1979)

Nezovybat’ko, O. — Ukrainski tsymbaly (The Ukrainian Hammer Dulcimer)
(Kyiv, 1976)

Palmer, Susann — The Hurdy-gurdy — Davids and Charles (Devon, UK 1980)

Prokopenko, N. — Ustrojstvo, khranenie i remont narodnyx muzykalnyx
instrumentov (Adjustment, storage and repair of folk music instruments)
(Moscow, 1977)

Sadie, S (ed) — The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. —
Macmillan Press (NY, 1984)

Skliar, Ivan — Podarunok Sopilkariam (A gift to Soplika players) (Kyiv,
1968)

Skliar, Ivan — Kyivs’ka-kharkivs’ka bandura (The Kyiv-kharkiv bandura)
(Kyiv, 1971)

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