Macedonian folk instruments

Macedonian folk instruments can be broadly classified into two main groups: traditional and oriental instruments.

Gajda, kaval, supelka, duduk, zurla, dvojanka, different kinds of tambura, tapan and daire are generally considered traditional instruments. With slight variations, grneta (clarinet), kemene (violin), oud, laout, canon and tarabuka or daire are typically part of the oriental instrumental ensembles called čalgii.

The traditional instruments are used in various combinations.

Zurla/tapan are typically heard at weddings and other social occasions on which people entertain by performing folk dances.

The gajda is inhherent to the Macedonian musical culture, particularluy villages. Most often it is played together with par kavali (the kavali and šupelka have traditionally been regarded as shepards' instruments), tambura, and some percussion instrument (tapanče/daire/tarabuka).

The tambura is also considered a traditional instrument, although it was brought to Macedonia in the XIV and XV century by the Turks.

Another interesting genre in the Macedonian music culture is the čalgija. In Macedonia, čalgija means an ensemble which employs instruments of persian-arabian origin.

Čalgija is a typical "starogradska" music (it has a long tradition in the towns, notably Veles, Ohrid, Bitola and Salonika) which carries strong oriental influence, as reflected in the playing style). In the course of time, however, the calgija music in Macedonia developed its specific tonal dialect and expression.

Čalgija ensembles were welcome at weddings, religios celebrations (Christmas, Easter etc) rituals, fairs etc.

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