Songs were created to any occasion – for traditional holidays, for seasons’ working activities as harvest, grape-picking, etc., dance songs and many others.
The regional variations are not strictly divided, but certain typical characteristics have formed several musical areas.
The main features of the Bulgarian folk music:
1. It is homophonic. Even when there are two or more singing parties, the song sounds like single-voiced.
2. Its rhythm and vocal wealth are described as ranging from fantastic richness to primitive monotony.
3. It is based on extended time. This technique makes Bulgarian folk music unique, because it doesn’t exist in the rest of the European music. It is most expressively used in the Rhodopian songs.
There are more than 70 000 folk songs in Bulgaria. Even today the folk song tradition is as alive as ever. There are many folklore ensembles, folk dance groups and folk orchestras all over Bulgaria. In addition, the folk music of Bulgaria has very important place in the modern Bulgarian music.
You can enjoy the authentic Bulgarian folk music at the traditional folk festivals held in Koprivshtitsa, Shiroka Laka, Predela and many other places in the country as well as at the traditional holidays and customs in Bulgaria.
The most typical traditional Bulgarian musical instruments are “gayda”/Bulgarian bagpipe/, “kaval”/wooden flute/ , “gadulka” /string instrument/ and “tapan”/drum/.
The uniqueness of the Bulgarian folk music is proved by the fact that on the Voyager-1 and Voyager-2 spacecrafts among the selected masterpieces of mankind’s musical treasury and along with a Beethoven symphony is a Bulgarian folk song from the Rhodopes region, performed by Valya Balkanska whose picture decorates this article.