- Music of Romania
Part of a series on the Culture of Romania Topics Literature Philosophy Music Art Theatre Cinema Architecture Cuisine Folklore Dress Professions Actors Composers Painters Poets Sculptors Writers Monuments Sites Castles Museums Religious UNESCO WHS Other Romanian language Famous Romanians Media Institute Sport Religion Humor
Romania is a European country with a multicultural music environment which includes active ethnic music scenes. Romania also has thriving scenes in the fields of pop music, hip hop, heavy metal and rock and roll. During the first decade of the 21st century some Europop groups/artists, such as Morandi, Akcent, Edward Maya, Alexandra Stan, Inna and Yarabi, achieved success abroad. Traditional Romanian folk music remains popular, and some folk musicians have come to national (and even international) fame.
Folk music is the oldest form of Romanian musical creation, characterised by great vitality; it is the defining source of the cultured musical creation, both religious and lay. Conservation of Romanian folk music has been aided by a large and enduring audience, and by numerous performers who helped propagate and further develop the folk sound. One of them, Gheorghe Zamfir, is famous throughout the world today, and helped popularize a traditional Romanian folk instrument, the panpipes.
The religious musical creation, born under the influence of Byzantine music adjusted to the intonations of the local folk music, saw a period of glory between the 15th-17th centuries, when reputed schools of liturgical music developed within Romanian monasteries. Russian and Western influences brought about the introduction of polyphony in religious music in the 18th century, a genre developed by a series of Romanian composers in the 19th and 20th centuries.
In Banat, the violin is the most common folk instrument, now played alongside imported woodwind instruments; other instruments include the taragot (today often the saxophone plays the taragot role in bands), which was imported in the 1920s from Hungary. Efta Botoca is among the most renowned violinists from Banat.
Bucovina is a remote province, and its traditions include some of the most ancient Romanian instruments, including the ţilincă and the cobza. Pipes (fluieraş or fluier mare) are also played, usually with accompaniment by a cobza (more recently, the accordion). Violins and brass instruments have been imported in modern times.
Crişana has an ancient tradition of using violins, often in duos. This format is also found in Transylvania but is an older tradition. Petrică Paşca has recently helped popularize the taragot in the region.
Dobrogea's population is especially diverse, and there exist elements of traditional Tartar, Ukrainian, Turkish and Bulgarian music among those populations. The most popular dance from Dobrogea is the geamparale, which is very different from the other traditional dances of Romania. In fact, Dobrujan music is characterized by Balkan and Turkish rhythms.
Maramureş and Oaş
In Oaş, a violin adapted to be shriller is used, accompanied by the zongora. The singing in this region is also unique, shrill with archaic melodic elements.
Violin and ţambal are the modern format most common in Moldavian dance music. Prior to the 20th century, however, the violin was usually accompanied by the cobza. Brass ensembles are now found in the central part of the county. Among the most renowned violinists from this region is Ion Drăgoi. There are also many musicians among the Csango, ethnic Hungarians who live in the Siret Valley. Moldavia is also known for brass bands similar to those in Serbia.
Transylvania has been historically and culturally more linked to Central European countries than Southeastern Europe, and its music reflects those influences.
Violin, viola and double bass, sometimes with a cimbalom, are the most integral ensemble unit. At the beginning of the 21st century a few bands (such as the Palatka Gypsy Band) still play these traditional instruments, while most bands use newer instruments such as the clarinet or accordion. All these instruments are used to play a wide variety of songs, including numerous kinds of specific wedding songs.
Drum, guitar and violin make up the typical band in Maramureş, and virtuoso fiddlers are also popular in the area. In the end of the 1990s, the Maramuzical music festival was organized to draw attention to the indigenous music of the area.
Wallachia is home to the taraf bands, which are perhaps the best-known expression of Romanian folk culture. Dances associated with tarafs include brâu, geamparale, sârba and hora. The fiddle leads the music, with the cimbalom and double bass accompanying it. The cobza, once widespread in the region, has been largely replaced by the cimbalom. Lyrics are often about heroes like the Haidouks. Taraf de Haidouks is an especially famous taraf, and have achieved international attention since their 1988 debut with the label Ocora. The Haidouks first attained visibility as lăutari, traditional entertainers at weddings and other celebratory occasions.
Muntenia has a diverse set of instrumentation. The flute (fluier in Romanian) and violin are the traditional melodic element, but now clarinets and accordions are more often used. Accordionists include the renowned performers Vasile Pandelescu and Ilie Udilă.
Oltenia's folk music and dance is similar to Muntenia. Violins and pipes are used, as are ţambal and guitar, replacing the cobza as the rhythmic backing for tarafs. The cimpoi (bagpipe) is also popular in this region.
The most widespread form of Romanian folk music is the doina. There are other styles of folk music. These include the bocet ("lament"), cântec batrânesc (traditional epic ballads; literally "song of the elders") and the când ciobanu şi-a pierdut oile ("when the shepherd has lost the sheep").
Doina is poetic and often melancholic, sometimes compared to the blues for that reason. Doinas are often played with a slow, free rhythm melody against a fast accompaniment pattern in fixed tempo, giving an overall feeling of rhythmic tension. Melodies are sometimes repeated in differing songs, and typically follow a descending pattern.
Regional styles of doina:
- Ca pe luncă - found along the southern Danube
- De codru - codru means "forest"
- Hora lungă - means "long dance", from the region of Maramureş, Transylvania
- Klezmer - originally played by Jewish musicians from Bessarabia and Moldavia
- Oltului - found along the River Olt
Other styles of doina:
- Ca din tulnic - unique type in which the melody imitates a type of bugle called the tulnic
- Ciobanul - shepherd's doina
- De dragoste - popular form, usually about love; dragoste means "love".
- De jale - mellow, mournful doina; jale means "grief".
- De leagăn - a lullaby; leagăn means "cradle".
- De pahar - drinking song; pahar means "drinking glass".
- Foaie verde - classical form; literally "green leaves".
- Bucharest Masters of Jazz Festival - Bucharest 
- EUROPAfest, Bucharest - international festival - blues, jazz, pop, classic 
- Gărâna Jazz Festival - Gărâna, Caraş-Severin (Gărâna Jazz)
- Jazzy Spring Festival Bucharest, Bucharest
- Jazz and More, Sibiu 
- Sibiu Jazz Festival - Sibiu 
- Festivalul Internaţional "Richard Oschanitzky", Iaşi
- Timişoara Jazz Festival - Timişoara 
- Transilvania Jazz Festival - Cluj-Napoca 
- Artmania Festival - Sibiu - Transylvanian Music and Arts Festival - mainly Rock Music Official page
- BestFest - Bucharest
- Peninsula (Félsziget) Festival - Târgu Mureş - rock, metal, pop, electro
- Transilvania International Guitar Festival - Cluj-Napoca
- Stufstock - Vama Veche
- Festivalul Plai - Timişoara
- Terra Siculorum International Classical Guitar Festival (each year at middle of April)
- Harmonia Cordis International Classical Guitar Festival (each year at ending of August or at beginning of September)
- List of Romanian musicians
- Broughton, Simon. "Taraf Traditions". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 237–247. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
- (French) Audio clips: Traditional music of Romania. Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Gypsy musicians of Transylvania. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: contrã (brace). Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Vioara cu Goarnã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Cobzã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Zongorã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Tambal. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Ocarinã. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Fluierul Mic. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Audio clip: Caval. Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Traditional music in Romania,
- Romanian music and video clips archive
- Revista METAL on-line, Comunitate Metal, Site oficial in Romania a Iced Earth, Teste metal si multe altele!
- BBC guide to world music: Romania - discography
- Regional ensembles
- LostTrails.com: a commercial site, but has extensive photos and many free download samples of complete recordings of traditional Romanian music
- Play or download traditional music from all regions of Romania
Music of Southeastern Europe
1 Armenia, Cyprus and Turkey may be considered West Asian countries.
For further information, see Middle Eastern music.
Music of Europe Sovereign
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- Northern Ireland
- Vatican City
States with limited
- Northern Cyprus
- South Ossetia
and other territories
Other entities Music of Southeastern Europe (the Balkans) By stylePop-folkFolk musicOther By country Performers by country Folk dancesCircle dancesOtherBy country Folk musicians
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.