The Relation between Foreigners and Bulgarian Musical Folklore (Reflections on Identity) Cover Image
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Отношението чужденци - български музикален фолклор (Размисли върху идентичността)
The Relation between Foreigners and Bulgarian Musical Folklore (Reflections on Identity)

Author(s): Lozanka Peycheva
Subject(s): Music
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: In this text the interpretation of the relation between foreigners and Bulgarian musical folklore is focused on some aspects of identity, connected to traditional music. The article follows some historical facts, referring to the acquaintance, presentation and assimilation of Bulgarian folk music by non-Bulgarians (foreigners). From ancient times till the end of the 19-th century the foreign interpretation of the local Bulgarian musical tradition is dominant - foreigners speak for the Bulgarians about their music. After 1878, in the restored Bulgarian state, because of the lack of well-prepared local musical specialists, foreigners begin to modernize Bulgarian musical folklore tradition according to the conventions of West-European music. The development of technologies and musical industry in the 20-th century leads to activating and extending the export of local Bulgarian folk music outside Bulgaria. The author discusses one of the modern roles of the Bulgarian musical heritage - to present the Bulgarians to the "foreign" world in search of recognition. The desire for gaining recognition for the Bulgarian musical folklore tradition in the eyes of the foreigner (illustrated by observations on a TV film and a concert performance) is also viewed as an instrument to make Bulgarians know and appreciate their own tradition. The foreign look not only gives the Bulgarians the approval they need, but also encourages the positive consumption of their own identity. The interest towards traditional Bulgarian music, shown by foreigners, puts a number of questions concerning the reactions of the Bulgarians. A typical Bulgarian reaction to the recognition for the value of Bulgarian musical folklore, expressed by foreigners who perform it, is approval, in the range between the nice surprise and the deep emotion. Another Bulgarian reaction varies from skepticism, through disapproval, to complete rejection. The detailed study of these reactions leads to questions, directed towards harming, destruction, crisis or salvation of Bulgarian musical identity. In conclusion, in the perspectives of the postmodern/globalizing world the Bulgarian musical identity could not be imposed, it is a necessity and a choice of the individual, regardless of his origin.

  • Issue Year: XXX/2004
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 113-125
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Bulgarian