Serbian Folklore - Traditional Serbian Music and Serbian Flute

in music •  3 months ago

In the life of each person who is living and working abroad (or as we call them using ancient, traditional Serbian word - Gastarbeiter) comes the moment when homesickness decides to kick in. For some, it happens sooner, for some it happens later. Or much later. Or REALLY much later.

Coughs. Or after two years.

Uvac river, Serbia, author Sasapokimica CC BY-SA 4.0

Each time I was asked about my home country, I would reply with bitterness and resentfulness. And somehow I would always point out the negative aspects of life in Serbia. And although some really messed up things happened during my life there (a complete economical isolation, wars, Serbian turbo-folk), I think that I might have been unfair to Serbia. At least just a little bit.

So I decided to make it up to my country and write about something I'm really proud of, and that I would like to share with you - Serbian traditional music and Serbian flute.

Serbian traditional music

Traditional Serbian costumes from Šumadija, author Unknown CC BY-SA 3.0

The one who sings means no harm.

The old Serbian saying. Is subject to discussion though. However, people firmly believed in this saying (and many of them believe now as well) throughout the history. After Turks left Balkans, peasants were predominant social class, and that's why peasant folklore is considered to be traditional (or ethno). Song was an important part of everyday life in rural environments. People especially liked singing during work in fields. A song would be born spontaneously, in the mind of an unknown author, and then would continue to live through coming generations.

Water nymph (Rusalka), author Сергей Панасенко-Михалкин CC BY-SA 3.0

Serbian traditional or ethno songs were mostly about mystical, unbreakable bond of human with nature. They were made in the form of short stories, during which the listener is introduced to the plot by conversation (or sometimes even monologue) of the main character (usually young woman or young man) with the moon, the sun, animals, mountains or mystical forces of nature in general. If we consider that during that time people's lives greatly depended on natural phenomenons (they needed rain for their crops to grow, they needed to save their cattle from wild animals, such as wolves, etc.), we can understand why the element of nature and all related to nature has main role in the Serbian folklore. Belief in all sorts of mythological creatures living in the forests was widespread as well, and could be also found as the essential element of Serbian folklore.

For example, in one of the most famous Serbian ethno songs, Gde si bilo jare moje (Where have you been, my little goat), a man is asking his goat where it has been. The goat then tells the story about how it went to the mountains, where it was looked after by the shepherds. The amazing interpretation of this traditional song by one of the most stunning female vocals Jelena Tomašević you can listen here.

Serbian flute

Shepherd boy playing a flute, author John Linnell CC0 1.0

Of course, no folklore can be complete without musical instruments, which complement singing in efforts to express even the most tender feelings through music. One of the most common traditional Serbian instruments was by all means frula (Serbian flute). Originally this instrument was invented by shepherds, who were playing it for the sake of their own pleasure and as a pass-time activity, while watching over the herd. Frula is usually made of woods, and it contains six holes in the front, and one in the back. Such construction makes possible for this instrument to produce seven tones in two octaves. Moreover, the design of the instruments play a significant role as well in Serbian folklore, which means that frula is usually painted with interesting traditional ornaments, and woods are being carved.

How this instrument sounds?

I would like to show you that by sharing the compositions of one of the best frula players in Serbia (in my opinion), Bora Dugić. I think that his work of arts represent Serbian traditional music in most authentic way.

First one is called Tren (A Moment), and is accompanied by the amazing vocals of aforementioned Jelena Tomašević:

Second one is called Običan Balkanski Dan (An Ordinary Balkan Day):

And the last, but not least, Zov za nedostižnom lepotom (A Call for the Unattainable Beauty):

Hope you enjoyed learning something new about traditional music of Serbia, and I especially hope that you liked the tunes :)

What would be the traditional music of your country?

Please share in the comment section :)

Until the next traditional post, relax and keep steemSTEM! ;)


Srpski folklor i njegov razvoj

Srpska tradicionalna muzika

Music of Serbia



Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Oh @scienceangel, what a most wonderful post!

Out of the three compositions you shared, my favorite one is the last A Call for the Unattainable Beauty. I like the piano tune in it very much. It is truly touching.

My country has many different types of traditional music, as each region has its own unique style. We are mostly known for our samba and bossa nova; but another traditional Brazilian sound is that of maracatu. Personally, I think it is beautiful! :)


My dear Abi, thank you so much for such wonderful comment!

I like A Call for the Unattainable Beauty as well, especially because of the name ;)

Of course I know about samba and bossa nova, personally I enjoy listening to female vocal jazz artists, and if I remember well bossa nova is derived from samba and jazz...

Never heard of maracatu, sounds very interesting, maybe you could share some Youtube links with tunes representative of this music genre?

Much love to you as always! ❤❤❤


Nowadays there is no such thing as pure maracatu, I suppose. But, based on what you just said there, I think you will enjoy Otto very much. It is a blend of Bossa, Maracatu and Vocal Jazz. I am looking forward to what you will say about it. I simply LOVE it:

It talks about the hot days of January :)


I love it! I'm already imaging myself sitting in the terrace of some nice restaurant/bar during hot, summer night, candle lights, significant other, sipping some nice cocktail while this guy is performing :)

If I remember well, you left the link to some other tune (I think?) of this same artist once in general chat :)


Ha! You did say before that you are a romantic ....
Yes, I did. You have good memory :)
I wish you a great rest of the day. It is time to turn the computer off over here.
You take care and have a wonderful week ahead.
Much love to you :*

Balkans hava some astonishing topography and nature. Thanks for this lovely post. Music is awesome. Upvoted and resteemed. Hope Serbia prefer more to participate with ethno music to Eurovision Song Contest :)


Thank you very much @fako, glad you liked it!

Hi @scienceangel!

Your post was upvoted by in cooperation with steemstem - supporting knowledge, innovation and technological advancement on the Steem Blockchain.

Contribute to Open Source with

Learn how to contribute on our website and join the new open source economy.

Want to chat? Join the Utopian Community on Discord

This post has been voted on by the steemstem curation team and voting trail.

There is more to SteemSTEM than just writing posts, check here for some more tips on being a community member. You can also join our discord here to get to know the rest of the community!

The meanders in the river are gorgeous. That's gotta be downright breathtaking in person.


What does that literally translate to?


Lol XD

Gastarbeiter is a German word, literally meaning "guest worker".

I was sarcastic because we use so many German words in Serbian, and most of the Serbs are not even aware of that :)


By that logic, I'm a Serbian, because it certainly fooled me :P

Beautifully written and inspiring :) I think I have to write a little bit about Cretan Music!