Traditional / folk music of Albania
Albania is a small country in south of Europe with majority of Muslims and with diverse and interesting types of traditional music. It is part of Balkan countries and during the history mostly was dominated by other nations or cultures, most notably the Ottoman Empire and the former Yugoslavian provinces. Although traditional music of Albania is very characteristic, it is less investigated between other European folk musics. This folk music represent a deep culture and artistic heritage of Albania. This music exists alongside Balkan and Mediterranean music but it has its own characteristic too. What is fascinating is there are diverse types of music and culture in a small area and among many different ethnic groups. Albania was ruled by Enver Hoxha’s socialist government for many years. During this period, there were lots of restriction for Albanian folk music. After 1991, the traditional music of Albania found its way to freedom again.
Based on dialects and ethnic groups, the folk music of Albania can be divided into four major parts.
This type of folk music can be found in northern part of Albania. In fact, Ghegh people are one of the major ethnic groups in the north. In the north of Albania, including Gheg people, the music is monophonic. It has modal/tonal system that at times is diatonic and at other times chromatic. Their vocal music is usually accompanied by musical instruments and in general it has measurable meter/rhythm. The music has also many sub-genres in different areas.
It is another type of folk music in the North of Albania. The same as Gheg, they are another major ethnic group in the north with different dialect. But of course it is divided into different sub-dialects. Tosk folk music is also monophonic. It has more complicated melody and harmony than Gheg music. Tosk folk music is pentatonic. Another difference in this type of folk music is usually the rhythm is indefinable. In the case of vocal music it is usually a cappella (without accompaniment of instruments).
Two notable traditional music instruments in north are Çifteli(plucked string instrument with two string, which one is just used for the melody and another one is just use for drone) and lahuta (one string fiddle).
Lab traditional music mostly belong to the region named Labëri in southeast of Albania. From one zone to another it has different styles. It is mainly polyphonic and it has a pentatonic modal/tonal system. This type of folk music has a marked contrast between lines of melodies. In contrast with tosk music, the rhythms are usually measurable. Almost all lab folk music are a cappella.
As the name shows, this type of traditional music belongs to urban areas. Urban music of Albania consist of both monophony and polyphony. Vocal Urban music always accompanied by musical instruments. After Word War II in the large bands music instruments like Šargija and Çifteli are used which accompanied by clarinet and accordion . The Urban songs are part of Albania's music heritage and it is also extended to Kosovo.
Çifteli and lahuta are mentioned as two folk music instruments. Some other notable folk music instruments are surlja (wind instrument), dajreja(framw drum), gaida (bagpipe from Balkan and south Europe area), lodra (percussion) and many more.
If you have more information about folk music of Albania, its genres or instruments or you know specific song on each genre, please kindly contact us and let us know about it or send them through “Post a Song” link on top of the page. Also if you see any wrong information about the song tags on the list below please kindly let us know.
Traditional / folk songs for Albania
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