MUSIC - theory

Music of Spain

The music of Spain has a long history and has played an important part in the development of western music. It has had a particularly strong influence upon Latin American music. The music of Spain is often associated abroad with traditions like flamenco and the classical guitar but Spanish music is, in fact, diverse from region to region. Flamenco, for example, is an Andalusian musical genre from the south of the country. In contrast, the music in the north-western regions is centred on the use of bagpipes, while the nearby Basque region, with its own traditional styles, is different again, as are traditional styles of music in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Castile and León. Spain has also played an important role within the history of western classical music, particularly in its early phase from the 15th to the 17th centuries; ranging from a composer like Tomás Luis de Victoria, the zarzuela of Spanish opera, the ballet of Manuel de Falla, to the classical guitar music of Pepe Romero. Nowadays, like elsewhere, the different styles of commercial popular music dominate.

By the end of the 17th century the "classical" musical culture of Spain was in decline, and was to remain that way until the 19th century. Classicism in Spain, when it arrived, was inspired on Italian models, as in the works of Antonio Soler. Some outstanding Italian composers as Domenico Scarlatti or Luigi Boccherini were appointed at the Madrid court. The short-livedJuan Crisóstomo Arriaga is credited as the main beginner of Romantic sinfonism in Spain.

Fernando Sor, Dionisio Aguado, Francisco Tárrega and Miguel Llobet are known as composers of guitar music. Fine literature for violin was created by Pablo Sarasate and Jesús de Monasterio.

Zarzuela, a native form of opera that includes spoken dialogue, is a secular musical genre which developed in the mid 17th century, flourishing most importantly in the century after 1850. Francisco Asenjo Barbieri was a key figure in the development of the romantic zarzuela; whilst later composers such as Ruperto Chapí, Federico Chueca and Tomás Bretón brought the genre to its late 19th-century apogee. Leading 20th century zarzuela composers included Pablo Sorozábal and Federico Moreno Torroba.

Musical creativity mainly moved into areas of popular music until the nationalist revival of the late Romantic era. Spanish composers of this period include Felipe Pedrell, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, Joaquín Turina, Manuel de Falla, Jesús Guridi, Ernesto Halffter, Federico Mompou, Salvador Bacarisse, and Joaquín Rodrigo.





Zarzuela                                                                                 Spanish Guitar

The music of the Canary Islands reflects its cultural heritage. The islands used to be inhabited by the Guanches which are related to Berbers; they mixed with Spaniards, who live on the islands now. A variant of Jota is popular, as is Latin music, which has left its mark in the form of the timple guitar. There has been a strong connection with Cuban music, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, and other Caribbean countries both through commerce and migration.

Popular dances from the Canary Islands include:

•           Isas

•           Tajaraste

•           Baile del Candil

•           Baile de Cintas

•           Danza de Enanos

•           El Santo Domingo

•           Tanganillo

•           Folias

•           Malagueña

Of these, the Isas, a local variation of Jota are the most well-known and characteristic of the Canary Islands. They are graceful music, with a lot of variation among islands. In some places, a captain leads the dance and organizes others in a chain as the dance grows more and more complex.

Rondalla arrangements are very common. Instruments include charangas, timples (similar to a cavaquinho / ukulele), castanets, panderetas, lauds and guitars. A peculiar ensemble in El Hierro island is made of pito herreño players (a wooden transverse flute) and drums. Some ritual dances in Tenerife island are led by a tabor pipe player. Joyful music for carnival lies to a big extent on brass bands and Latin American patterns.


"Isa canaria" dancing                                                                               Parranda


 Source of information: Wikipedia

 Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis






M.K. Čiurlionis - not only a famous artist, but also Lithuanian professional music pioneer. His musical legacy includes two symphonic poem "Forest" and "The Sea" .1909 m. Warsaw, released in the Lithuanian folk songs for a set of "Lark." M. K. Čiurlionis harmonized folk song "Dawn is breaking "Oh, Flying, Flying," and "So far promised" sounded American and Canadian Lithuanian song festivals in Chicago and Toronto. Rare Choir and Lithuania to bypass M. K. Čiurlionis folk songs. Total has about 350 different music tracks (some of them unfinished), and 300 art and graphics work.



Art works



The first Čiurlionis works since 1903. Dominated by fantastic creatures, mystical past kings, Lithuanian pagan culture trace elements - gods, planets, stars. These items will be accompanied by the rest of the artist's creative path, taking an increasingly more specific and  influential forms. From the very beginning Čiurlionis felt that the best of his creative expression of ideas is a cyclic, repetitive visual idea of ​​reflection. Thus was born the painting cycles such as "Funeral Symphony", "Night", "The Flood," "Rex" Creation of the World "," Sparks "," Winter "," Spring "," Summer ". It takes place slowly or does not happen, merely reproduces the creative ideas of interpretations.




source: wikipedia






Lithuanian folk music belongs to Nordic music branch which is connected with neolithic corded ware culture. In Lithuanian territory meets two musical cultures: stringed (kanklių) and wind instrument cultures. These instrumental cultures probably formed vocal traditions. Lithuanian folk music is archaic, mostly used for ritual purposes, containing elements of pre-Christian faith. .There are three ancient styles of singing in Lithuania connected with ethnographical regions: monophony, multi-voiced homophony, heterophony and poliphony. Monophony mostly occurs in southern (Dzūkija), southwest (Suvalkija) and eastern (Aukstaitija) parts of Lithuania. Multi-voiced homophony is spread in whole Lithuania, in western part (Samogitia) it is the most archaic.





Folk choreography is a part of folklore and it is as original as all nation’s folklore is original. Folk choreography is the creative work of the people where artistic images are created by rhythmical movements followed by vocal or instrumental music. Folk choreography as well as other branches of the folk art has always been closely related to the mode of life, work and customs of the nation. Since ancient times the dance has been inevitably accompanying all important events in the life of the people. The life of the Lithuanian nation, its character and morals are reflected in the content of Lithuanian dance.

Every movement and step has it purpose. They always mean something or show something. It is even the slightest change of mood that can expressed by movement of the dance. Dance movements are subjective; visible expression is based on emotion. Dance originality is being formed by methods of expressions under the influence of geographic surroundings, clothing, relationships with other nations, racial characteristics and so on. By creating a dance, people without realizing it creates beauty as well. Dances distinctiveness depends upon the originator as well - whether it has been created by man or woman. Lithuania has basically been an agricultural country; therefore folk art primacy belonged to women and was related to the scale of feminine themes (for example, works done by women only). This of course had influenced the lexicon of choreography - for example simplicity of steps was influenced by the women’s long skirts. The characteristics of the Lithuanian folk choreography are also shown through music, which is calm, symmetric, the rhythm is monotonous, the tempo moderate and in the quarter form. Lithuanian folklore is based upon the farmer’s outlook on life. It is lyrical, there is no epic narration, in war songs the actual battle is never sung about, and there are no war dances left. No hunter dances have survived either and in folk choreography there are no movements left typical on this theme.

The first information about the art of Baltic movement appeared at the end of the IX century. The traveler Vulfstan wrote that it was no doubt about the Balts played during funerals. Later chroniclers and travelers mentioned that Prussians and Lithuanians played and danced; some of them even stressed the dance’s character. Up to XX c. dances were documented only occasionally and only fragments of the dance description could be found, most often only the name of the dance and its mood were mentioned. All the dances during this time period were recorded in narrative style, not a single one was recorded with music, steps or movements. For the most part from these recordings one could only reconstruct the character of the dance or the image of the form.

The situation hardly changed throughout the whole of the XX century if compared to the description of song folklore and song’s book printing. In addition, starting with the middle of XX century two completely separate genres had been formed in Lithuania which in the West had been understood as folk choreography. (A new genre emerged which was stylized one, designated only to the stage author’s “folk dance”, which is created by professional choreographers, using a special music written by a professional composer specifically to that purpose an adopting the name of old traditional dance and its ideas).

The genre of the traditional folk dance is still alive. People used to learn dances from parents or grandparents whose lives have been still greatly influenced by customs and traditions and who mastered dancing folk dances directly from their parents in outdoor country parties. Folk ensembles, who still participate in folklore collection expeditions in rural areas willingly dance these dances.

Lithuanians, as well as their Baltic neighbors, have always loved to dance. Young people gathered to dance in field parties (in summer), or in farmer houses (in winter). Older people and small children also took part in these festivities talking, socializing, and generally amusing themselves.

Looking still further back into the history, dance was also a part of ancient Lithuanian calendar celebrations and rituals.

Lithuanian folk choreography can be classified into four groups: polyphonic singing dances, ring or circle dances, games and other dances.








My  students  are impressed by the presentation of Natalia and so they tried to prepare their own presentation for their favorite singers.

Natalia Thanks for the idea




The presentation of the boys





Bielsko-Biała, Poland
















Music in LATVIA

SOURCE: wikipedia 


Traditional Latvian music is often set to traditional poetry called dainas, featuring pre-Christian themes and legends, drone vocal styles and Baltic zithers.


Dainas - Dainas are very short, usually only one or two stanzas, unrhymed and in a four-footed trochaic metre. Lyrically, dainas concern themselves with native mythology but, in contrast to most similar forms, do not have any legendary heroes. Stories often revolve around pre-Christian deities like the sun goddess Saule, the moon god Meness and, most notably, the life of people, especially its three most important events - birth, wedding and death (including burial). The first collection of dainas was published between 1894 and 1915 asLatvju Dainas by Krišjānis Barons.


Instrumentation - Accompaniment to the village songs is played on various traditional instruments, the most important of which is the kokle, a type ofzither related to the Finnish kantele. In the 1970s, artists like Jānis Porikis and Valdis Muktupāvels led a revival in kokle music, which had only survived in the Courland/Kurzeme and Lettgallia/Latgale regions. The Latvian-exile community abroad, especially in the United States, has also kept kokle traditions alive. In the last hundred years a new kind of kokle was developed, with many more strings, halftones levelers and other improvements that expand the capacities of the instrument to play not only modal music but, in other point of view, displeased more traditional musicians. This kind of instrument its called "concert kokle". However, there is currently only one concert kokle maker left, though he is to begin training apprentices with the help of EU grants.







Artists from Poland, including famous composers like Chopin or Lutosławski and traditional, regionalized folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music scene.  Today in Poland you can find trance, techno, House music popular and even more popular heavy metal.

The origin of Polish music can be traced as far back as the 13th century, from which manuscripts have been found in Stary Sącz, containing polyphonic compositions related to the Parisian Notre Dame School. Other early compositions, such as the melody of Bogurodzica, may also date back to this period. The first known notable composer, however, Mikołaj z Radomia, lived in the 15th century. The melody of Bóg się rodzi by an unknown composer was a coronation polonaise for Polish kings.











We live on the south part of Poland at the foot of Beskids Mountains.

Southern Poland features the culture of the Polish highlanders.

These dances were brought to this mountain areas with Vlach settlers in the 17th century.

The rhythm of their music is different for the otherwise duple or triple-meter of the lowlands.

In the picture below you can see Magda, Michał and Damian presenting dance of Polish highlanders.




  • Classical Music: Important classical composers from Europe include Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume de Machaut, Pérotin, Guillaume Dufay, Orlande de Lassus, Jean-Baptiste Lully, J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Chopin, Wagner, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Falla, Granados, Albéniz, Rodrigo, Schoenberg, Bartok, Nielsen, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Puccini, Debussy, Rossini, Ravel, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Penderecki. Luciano Pavarotti was a contemporary popular opera singer. Orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra are considered to be amongst the finest ensembles in the world. The Salzburg Festival, the Bayreuth Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms are major European classical music festivals, and International Chopin Piano Competition is the world's oldest monographic music competition.
  • Folk Music : Europe has a wide and diverse range of indigenous music, sharing common features in rural, travelling or maritime communities. Folk music is embedded in an unwritten, aural tradition, but was increasingly transcribed from the nineteenth century onwards. Many classical composers used folk melodies, and folk has influenced some popular music in Europe.
  • Popular Music : Europe has also imported many different genres of music, mainly from America, ranging from Blues, Jazz, Soul, Pop, Rap, Hip-Hop, R'n'B and Dance. The UK has been most successful in re-exporting this type of music and also creating many of its own genres via notable movements




  • Dance is a type of art that generally involves movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, performed in many different cultures and used as a form of expression, socialinteraction and exercise or presented in a spiritual or performance setting.

Dance may also be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication between humans, and is also performed by other animals (bee dance, patterns of behaviour such as a mating dance). Gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are sports that incorporate dance, while martial artskata are often compared to dances. 


Dance does not leave behind clearly identifiable physical artifacts such as stone tools, hunting implements or cave paintings. It is not possible to say when dance became part of human culture. Dance has certainly been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment since before the birth of the earliest human civilizations.Before the production of written languages, dance was one of the methods of passing these stories down from generation to generation.Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to historical, traditional, ceremonial, and ethnic dance.


Many early forms of music and dance were created and performed together. This paired development has continued through the ages with dance/music forms such as: jig, waltz, tango, disco, salsa, electronica and hip-hop. Some musical genres have a parallel dance form such as baroque music and baroque dance; others, such as classical music and classical ballet, developed separately.

Although dance is often accompanied by music, it can also be presented independently or provide its own accompaniment (tap dance). Dance presented with music may or may not be performed in time to the music depending on the style of dance.


Ballroom dancing is a dance art form which combines athletic fitness with artistically skillful dance steps.

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