Bulgarian Choral Traditions:Music and Vocal Techniques Influenced byReligion, Education and the Singing Community


Leanna Cooper

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As a living art form unique to every culture, choral music reflects strongly upon a country's history, culture, and people. It is an art form that is always evolving to depict changes within a culture. The sound of Bulgarian choral music is radically different than that of traditional Bel Canto. Bulgarian choral sounds reach beyond the traditional Western ideals of beautiful line, continuity of tone, and heavenly sound by creating a more full and bright sound. During a time when the Ottoman Turks invaded Bulgaria, threatening to destroy its culture, the country's people fled to the mountains in attempts to save their lives. Throughout the Turkish conquest, the Bulgarian people struggled to maintain their language and art forms such as choral music. Despite adversity, these cultural traditions were kept alive and have become a symbol of national identity. By going to Bulgaria, I will study the techniques of traditional Bulgarian vocal technique. I plan to use this knowledge in order to better understand the underlying cultural significance of traditional Bulgarian choral music and its significance, as reflected in the lives of the Bulgarian people. I will conduct research through interviews and surveys of the Bulgarian population, including members of religious organizations, educational systems, and singing communities such as those attending cultural music festivals. By interviewing the Bulgarian population, I anticipate gaining insight into the cultural variables impacting Bulgarian music, and similarly how this music reflects its present culture.


J. Bernstein




Support provided by:Paul K. & Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts - International Fellowship

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